Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Thoughts’

I’m sure a lot of you read the Brisbane Times article earlier this week about the gradual move away from the Valley and its music ‘scene’. The article basically sums up that music lovers who frequent the Valley, and various venue owners are wanting to move away from the area  due to the influx of a ‘new style of crowd’ (read: douchebags). For those of you out-of-towners, Fortitude Valley has long been the hub of the Brisbane music scene, with most of the venues being here.

I’ve been complaining about this for years. Pretty much since I got over the initial excitement of the Valley after I turned 18. To get from one side of the Valley to the other, you have to wade your way through skanky girls and preppy guys as well as the various homeless people. It’s not always fun, and it’s not always safe. I’ve never personally had any ‘real’ problems, but there have certainly been times (like walking back from the RNA showgrounds to Brunswick St Mall) where I have been alone and felt a bit intimidated.

The article talks about the increase of venues in the suburbs. One has opened up in Ashgrove, of course there’s Lofly in Red Hill and I’m sure there are a few others around the Caxton St area. That doesn’t really help those of us who live on the south side though, does it? It takes me about 40 minutes to get to the Valley by bus or train, and I certainly think that’s far enough for me to go within going to the inner-city Northside suburbs. Sure the parking would probably be better, but I’d love to see a few more things open up in West End, Stone’s Corner and Woolloongabba. The HiFi is wonderful. I’m yet to visit the Music Kafe, but I’ve heard great things about it. My close friends will remember great times had at the Clarence Corner.

I’d be more than happy for the scene to move out of the Valley, and I’ve spoken to a few people who wouldn’t mind it either. I don’t necessarily think that it will impact on how many people attend shows. For me at least, it’s about the band not the venue. There are of course all of the issues of noise restrictions, but with the lock out and various other restrictions in the Valley itself do you really think that these other restrictions in other areas really matter?

Anyone else happy to move away from the Valley? Not completely obviously, because there is still some dirty charm about the precinct. But will having a show at the Music Kafe instead of Ric’s really change whether you decide to go or not? Do you think there are any other impacts that we may not be considering? Or do you think this eventual change will have negative consequences for the Brisbane music scene?

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Not long ago I did something I have never done before. I bought a ticket to a show in another city. Yes my friends, I’m travelling down to Sydney to see Jonsi since it has been decided that Brisbane doesn’t need Splendour in the Grass sideshows. The furthest I’ve travelled to see a band play is to the Gold Coast…all 1 hour away. Sure I have wanted to go see bands play in different cities before, but never really considered it in a serious manner. Is it really worth not only the ticket price, but the air fares and time off work?

Since my half-year resolution was to ‘live more in the moment’ than to worry about the past or the future, I thought this would be a great way of living out this idea. I’ve known people who regularly travel interstate to see shows, but I also know people who refuse to pay more than $80 to see a band. Where do you all stand on the issue? Have you travelled interstate to see anyone? Where do you draw the line? Is it just for any old band, or just special international acts that may never come again?

I chose Jonsi because Go is a simply stunning album, all other Sigur Ros works aside. It’s an album that can transform my mood within 30 seconds of the first track, no matter how bad things are going. It’ll also be one of my first times travelling alone, however I do plan on meeting up with the lovely Giselle from Buried by the Buzz, so at least I’ll have company! And that’s another idea – do you travel alone or with a group? And how far is too far? Are we talking next state over or cross-country? I’m dying to hear everyone’s thoughts on this – I have a feeling this is opening up a whole new world of music for me…

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This week’s thoughts are kind of an accumulation of last week’s, and my rant post about Accessing Local Music… It’s kind of an idea that I’ve been playing around with for a while, particularly after Unconvention.  I feel pretty spoiled that I’ve grown up most of my life with the Internet right at my finger tips. Whenever somebody asks me about how I heard about this band or that band, it’s normally somewhere from the Internet. Forums, blogs, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, music aggregators, online magazines etc.

But what would I do if I didn’t have the Internet? Of course in the mix of all of this there is also street press and radio, and most importantly word of mouth.  But I find that these aspects (with the exception of word of mouth) don’t work quite as well in assisting me with finding new music. Is it because with the Internet I can see pictures, hear the music and read the back story all at the same time?

I mused last week about MTV and how important it was with my introduction into music discovery. I don’t think MTV is as influential today as it was in 1998 (Carson Daly’s departure may or may not have a lot to do with this), but I suspect this could also be a cultural issue since Australian MTV seems to be very different to what American MTV used to be. It could also be in part that stations such as MTV or Channel V, or Video Hits and Rage tend to only play what’s popular rather than trying to introduce new music to the masses. I think it’s a great starting place to begin to develop your own taste and figure out own your own what you do and don’t like.

I’m positive that without the Internet I wouldn’t be able to find nearly as much music as I do now. I find it difficult to imagine how people went about this 20 years ago? Did people rely on Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, NME etc? Maybe people still do use those publications nowadays. Do you?

I’d love to hear how my dear readers discover new music. Are you primarily an Internet user? Is so, what sites? I’d actually love to hear if anybody uses Hype Machine or Last FM, because those are two sites that I really can’t seem to get my head around. Or is there anybody out there who takes whatever Pitchfork writes as gospel? Or if anybody still watches MTV for its music?

And most importantly, if I started a Music for the Laundromat record club (you know, where you pay a dollar a week and each week you get sent a new tape or whatever…) would people join? Okay, so I probably wouldn’t make a record club…unless I got enough encouragement…

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“Music, you know– true music–not just rock ‘n’ roll– it chooses you. It lives in your car, or alone, listening to your headphones–you know, with the vast, scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain.”

Alright readers, so today’s thoughts are a little lackluster due to illness, so I’m hoping to get some involvement happening on your side of things!!! Today, in my mildly comatose state, I watched my ‘go to’ movie – Almost Famous.  If you haven’t seen the film, shame on you, but if you have seen it then you would recognise the above quote from rock journalist Lester Bangs. I think it certainly rings true – music chooses you.

When we’re young, we listen to whatever is available, whether it is your parents old records or whatever is on the radio or TV. For those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in Huntington Beach California. My first ever record (well, CD) was the Beach Boys Greatest Hits. Stereotyped much? But my dad loved them (in fact he reckons he saw them play locally just before they became famous). And from my Australian mother, I got the Grease soundtrack (she loves Olivia Newton John). After i devoured these records, I somehow stumbled across MTV (you know, back when they played music) and was instantly bombarded with popular music. Spice Girls and Hanson led to Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, NSync, which then led to Eminem and Limp Bizkit.

I moved to Australia when I was 11 and once again, my taste in music took a dramatic change. I was still insanely into Top 40 stuff, but I also started taking guitar lessons which led me to the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and most importantly (for me), Nirvana. Somehow I got into a goth/metal phase but luckily that only lasted a year…but we don’t need to get into that.

But looking back on all of this….I can’t even think of how I discovered these bands. A girl at work recently asked me how I discovered all of my obscure indie music. I guess I would have to say that I don’t discover it, it all finds me. I know it doesn’t find me in a literal sense, but I somehow instinctively get my grubby little mits on it. Apart from the music that I get sent to review, I just somehow manage to find these bands. I mostly have the Internet to thank for this, but I couldn’t even tell you what websites I specifically use…it somehow just happens.

So, my loyal readers, how did music find you? Did you have a similar experience to me, or did you do it without the help of parents/MTV? Or even more importantly, has anyone figured out just how it all happened? Come on everyone, I want to hear your stories!

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There has been a bit of noise lately about Brisbane’s newest record label, soundslikebrisbane (SLB). Basically, it is 13 of the city’s independent labels (with the possibility of more to come) brought together to operate under the one name. The list of labels is astonishing – Plus One, Dew Process, Starving Kids…and the artists that have now been brought together is pretty amazing as well – Last Dinosaurs, the Gin Club, The Medics and Jackie Marshall just to name a few. If you want the complete list of labels and artists check out the site. Sounds good – yes?

From what I understand, the independent labels will still be operating themselves, under their current names, but SLB will be aimed at promoting and supporting. So what does this all mean? Personally, I’m hoping that it’s a turning point in the Brisbane music scene. I’d love to see gigs that have actually been properly promoted – not just a Facebook spasm two days before the show. I’d love to know when albums are actually coming out, and more importantly be able to access the damn things (I know… I still can’t let the Seja incident go). So far it is looking pretty good. The site has an extensive news section, blog and mailing list aimed at keeping everyone informed.

I must admit, over the past couple of years I’ve become more and more jaded about the Brisbane music scene. I can’t quite put my finger on why though. Yes, at times it can be a little cliquey, but I guess the overall quality of venues, performances and promotions just haven’t been cutting it for me. There haven’t been many local events that have drawn me out from my safe and warm home into the cold, dark and dank Valley.

I’m probably getting a little bit too excited, that just one thing like soundslikebrisbane will change all of this, but I think it is a step in the right direction. Has anyone else noticed that nobody seems passionate about the local scene anymore? Or are there still people out there who find a gig (or several) to go to every week? Please let me know if you do, I’m keen to hear why you’re not as old and cynical as I am. I hope this project will push these acts out to the forefront so we can actually get decent crowds at decent venues. I could go on and on about the Brisbane music scene here, but I won’t (actually I’ve been trying to avoid the topic because it tends to turn more into a rant than anything else…).

There’s going to be an event to launch the label on Friday June 18 as part of the Inhabit Fiesta held by Brisbane City Council. There will be about 10 local acts from SLB performing on two stages in the CBD laneways (Burnett Lane and Island Crt) – artists include Texas Tea, Carry Nation, Fushia, My Fiction, The Rational Academy and Last Dinosaurs. It’s free, and it’s all ages and I believe it’s starting at about 5.30. Exact details of who is playing when and where don’t seem to be up yet but I’ll post a link on my Twitter when I find it. It would be great to see everyone come along and support the local scene (…and wish a certain blogger a happy birthday…).

Still not enough to pull you in? I have some free (and legal) MP3s to share. Enjoy:

Carry Nation – Phil Spector

My Fiction – Gravel Rash & Football Stars

Rational Academy – 2004

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Unfortunately my Internet decided to stop working last night. So apologies for this one being late. Believe it or not this was the first Sunday where I actually had everything prepared and ready to go!

Earlier this week (possibly even earlier, but they really came out this week) the new Arcade Fire tracks were released. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I’m a massive Arcade Fire fan. Massive. And I have been looking forward to this album since I heard that it was even going to exist, around the beginning of the year. So yes, this is another case of me mentally hyping something far beyond its means (anyone recall my expectations of Seja’s album?). Stylistically the tracks are much closer to Neon Bible than Funeral, which I found a little disappointing but I’m trying desperately not to be one of those ‘I like their old stuff better than their new stuff’ assholes.

The Suburbs is enjoyable, but doesn’t have that particular spark that Arcade Fire songs normally have. Lyrically though, I find it much more appealling than Month of May, and tredding in more familiar territory. Month of May is a more generic guitar rocker, but has a lot more energy than The Suburbs. It’s certainly much more exciting to listen to, but it just makes me cringe every time I hear Win Butler sing “gonna make a record in the month of may”. These tracks just don’t seem to have the same amount of passion or soul than their older tracks do. They’re growing on me with each listen though. I suppose I had a similar problem with some of the Neon Bible tracks. I just don’t think I’ll ever get that same feeling from this band as I did when I first heard ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and the Neighbourhood tracks…or that feeling I still get when I hear those tracks.

So what’s missing? Textures. Layers. Violins. Vocal harmonines. All of the things that make Arcade Fire special (in my opinion at least). But with each listen, they are growing on me. With each listen I think “I didn’t like this? WHy didn’t I like this?”. I’m definitely interested to hear what the rest of the album is going to be like.

What does everyone think of these tracks? I know a lot of you are Arcade Fire fans so speak up!

View the YouTube videos below (not so much a video, just a the song against a backdrop). Or download them from here for free.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you probably heard me rant a few weeks ago about how difficult it was to get Seja’s debut solo album. I went to two out of the three JB HiFi’s in the city, as well as Rockinghorse – no luck. As I was sprinting around the city I couldn’t help but think ‘I bet Skinny’s would have stocked this‘.  Yes, I’m still a bit devastated that Skinny’s is no more.

Fellow blogger Darragh suggested I just buy it from iTunes…I looked into it, but to be honest I couldn’t justify spending $17 to download an album, when I could spend $20 and buy the CD and have it on display for all who enter my house to see. I finally tracked down the album on the JB HiFi online store, and went back to one of the stores in the city with this information. Of course they had no idea what I was talking about, so I just sucked it up and bought online. I finally received it in the mail last week.

For the most part, it’s not too bad trying to find local music JB HiFi and if it isn’t there it will definitely be in Rockinghorse. But every now and then, like with the Seja album, it just isn’t. And if you miss the live show, what are you supposed to do? Surely I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to buy their music from iTunes?

Alright, yes, it is me being picky about value for money but I can’t imagine spending more than $10 on a download unless I actually get some extra tracks or PDF to go with it. Do any other Brisbane-ites have suggestions where to get local music (or if they managed to actually buy the Seja album in real life….). Or how about readers from other cities – is it difficult for you as well?

I can’t help but think that if it wasn’t so difficult to access local music that these bands would be doing a lot better, and selling a lot more records.

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