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Posts Tagged ‘parades’

 

Alright, I’m back from my holiday and I STILL haven’t put together my list of ‘top ten albums of the year’. I’ve been trying for ages and it’s just not happening. There have been a lot of good albums released this year, and a lot of great ones that I haven’t even gotten around to listening to. There are a probably a few albums that I’ve brushed off and will go back to listen to next year and think ‘why did I put that in my top ten!’. But such is life I guess.

 

For me I had two stand out albums of the year – Jonsi’s Go and the National’s High Violet. I can’t even begin to explain how well each of these albums resonates with me. Right from the first listen, I fell in love with both, and both had songs that made their way to my ‘most played’ in iTunes, knocking off songs that had been on it for over a year. I love both of these albums because they’re so different. High Violet is absolutely gut wrenching. It’s just plain depressing. Go is my uplifting album. I like to play its opening track ‘Go Do’ on the bus first thing Monday morning to try and brighten my spirits. They’re albums with so much passion and texture, they’re both moving in completely different ways.

 

My favourite Australian releases were The Boat People’s Dear Darkly and Foreign Tapes by Parades. I’ve loved everything the Boaties have released, and I swear they just keep getting better and better as the years go on. I actually didn’t buy Foreign Tapes until a few months ago. I saw Parades for the first time at Big Sound – and it was in fact the first I’d even heard of them – and was immediately drawn to their style. They’re both great pop albums, extremely catchy and easy to listen to right through til the end.

 

One of the surprises for the year was Arcade Fire’s release, the Suburbs. I tossed up whether or not this was a ‘top ten’ album. I don’t think it is for me. I really do love it, but I think it’s more so because I expected it to be awful.

 

I had a few other highlights, including Hungry Kids of Hungary and Spoon. I loved both of those albums, but I find that I really have to be in a certain mood or frame of mind to listen to them. To me a top ten list means anytime, anywhere, all the way through which is probably why I had so much trouble putting together a list of ten albums this year. Bring on 2011 though! I’m excited to see what it will bring.

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For some unknown reason I decided to ditch my well-laid plans and decided to just stick to the Artisan Gallery Outdoor stage for Big Sound Live’s Thursday night events. I’m pretty glad I did too, as the line up ended up being better than I recalled. I found the vibe of the outdoor stage a lot better than I had for the indoor venues on the Wednesday night. It was a lot more relaxed and people seemed more willing to move around. It didn’t seem as packed out as it did during Hungry Kids of Hungary’s set on Wednesday, but there was a constant flow of people coming throughout the night.

The night started with Richard in your Mind. The band has always been labelled as psychedelic, but there is a lot more to these guys than extended jams and trippy guitar effects. I could have watched them for a lot longer than just a 30 minute set – strong basslines, rhythmic drum beats, funk guitars and the most exciting and energetic frontman I’ve seen in ages.

It was synths galore when New Zealand act The Naked and Famous took the stage. The seemingly mismatched five piece actually produced a pretty decent sound, despite the fact that they didn’t seem too confident in themselves. Their nerves weren’t helped when the bass cut out mid way through the third song though – apparently due to noise complaints from surrounding neighbours. Despite this their set was extremely enjoyable. People around me seemed to know a few of their songs, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Punching in a Dream’ and I was glad to see people actually singing along which doesn’t normally happen at smaller local shows much anymore.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Ernest Ellis fan. I did enjoy his/their (because the name applies to both the solo artist and the whole band apparently) set, but I will admit that it wasn’t the best for Big Sound Live. As usual ‘Pulse’ detoured and became the middle section of ‘The End’ by the Doors. In a normal set I don’t mind this, but I think for a 30 minute set that is supposed to showcase your own original talent, it was time wasted. The rest of the set was pretty standard, ploughing through their well known songs, ‘Want for Anything’, ‘Loveless’ and ‘Heading for the Cold’. Ellis has a pretty diverse album that he never really seems to take advantage of live, which is a shame. One day maybe.

I really want to like Last Dinosaurs more. This was the third time I had seen them, and I still got that same feeling as I had the previous two times. They play well and their songs are good, but there is nothing fantastic about them. They don’t move me in the way that other music does. Songs like ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Alps’ are always good to listen to, but the rest of the set was just too average.

Sydney band Parades was easily the highlight of my Big Sound Live experiences. Their sound was incredibly lush, and pretty different to anything I had heard over the two nights. Strong in vocals harmonies, and musical influences from post rock, jazz and indie pop I really wouldn’t know what to label them as which is one of the things I love most about them. Their live set was seemingly flawless, calm but with a good amount of energy for the style. I would have to say that there were my best ‘new’ find of the event.

Overall no, I don’t think that the acts I saw over the two nights were a showcase of Australia’s best and original talent. I think it was a better representation of what has been popular so far this year. I think that Brisbane could have been better represented, especially considering the event was held here. It was also disappointing to think back about the Brisbane bands I did see and realise they were some of my least favourite acts of the event. But the event succeeded in introducing me to some new bands, and for the most part I had fun and enjoyed each act I saw to varying degrees. And isn’t that supposed to be the point of live music anyway?

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New Music: Parades

My review of the second night of Big Sound Live will be up tomorrow. In the mean time, I want to share one of the acts I saw during the event – Parades. They’re from Sydney and I’m having a pretty hard time trying to describe their sound and more importantly, why I like them so much.

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