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Posts Tagged ‘the antlers’

My favorite albums are always the ones I can never find the words for. Where I can’t really describe anything about it apart from “it’s so awesome, you have to listen to it.” These are the albums that made me feel this way this year, in no particular order.

 

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

If I had to pick a favorite of the year, I’m sure this would be it. I love the way Annie Clark contrasts Disney-like strings with dark lyrics, not to mention her voice is amazing.

Standout Track: Surgeon

 

Wild Beasts – Smother

The sweet combination of Tom Flemming and Hayden Thorpe’s vocals –  breaths and sighs – over dreamy, layered music is pretty much heaven.

Standout Track: Bed of Nails

 

James Blake – James Blake

Apparently classified as post-dubstep, I really recommend just listening to it instead of trying to categorise it. Blake’s voice is simply amazing and the combination of electronic elements was fascinating to watch when I saw him at Splendour in the Grass earlier this year.

Standout Track: The Wilhelm Scream

 

Battles – Gloss Drop

I was initially a little disappointed with this album, especially after how much I loved Mirrored, but it ended up growing on me. I still think the lead single ‘Ice Cream’ is a bit tacky and it is certainly a bit less showy than Mirrored but I eventually became thankful that they didn’t just try to recreate the same sound.

Standout Track: My Machines (feat. Gary Numan)

 

Destroyer – Kaputt

I’ll be honest, the first I had heard of this album (and Destroyer for that matter) was only a few months ago, this album hit me pretty much immediately though and I’ve listened to it almost every day since.

Standout Track: Chinatown

 

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Well it’s no surprise this is on my list really, or anyone else’s list. And I think I’ll just leave that at that.

Standout Track: Holocene

 

Yuck – Yuck

Mmmm…fuzzy. The problem with having an album released so early in the year is that by the time the end of the year rolls around, most people have forgotten about it. Some could argue that it means the album doesn’t have staying power, but they’re just so catchy and fun.

Standout Track: Georgia

 

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

There really isn’t anything about this Mogwai album that makes it stand out from the rest, but the Scottish band have crafted what they do so well by now that it doesn’t really matter.

Standout Track: Mexican Grand Prix

 

The Antlers – Burst Apart

I caught a glimpse of these guys at Laneway at the start of the year and made a mental note to research further after the lead singer’s voice absolutely blew me away. Lucky for me an album came shortly after…

Standout Track: Corsicana

 

Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Similar to the Mogwai album, there isn’t a lot new happening here but it shows Explosions doing the things that they do well.

Standout Track: Last Known Surroundings

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It wouldn’t really be a proper summer festival without blistering heat, and the weather certainly didn’t let down St Jerome’s Laneway Festival. Walking from the bus stop to the RNA Showgrounds proved to be the first challenge of the day, leading me to seek immediate refuge under the shade of the car park stage, arriving just in time to catch Melbourne’s experimental electro-kids Rat VS Possum. The group put on a stunning live performance, complete with a floor tom for each member to break into tribal drumming interludes. “Pills” was a highlight for the uninitiated, and the collective head nods amongst the band proved that they too were happy with this performance.

Next up were PVT, opening their set with ‘Church with no Magic”. The three-piece proved themselves to be of obvious talent and as very capable musicians, showing exceptional poise and technical restraint within the performance. But being technically capable hardly means you’re a captivating performer, and this is what let PVT down today. Maybe it was the time of day, or the less than average sound inside the Inner Sanctum (where I’m told the livestock is normally kept during the EKKA….), but they just seemed a little tired of it all.

Portland’s Menomena seemed to struggle to get the right atmosphere during their set, battling the heat and wary punters. Their unique brand of experimental indie rock seemed to hit just the right spots for some, but most people were happy to just stand back and watch. ‘The Pelican’ was one of the few memorable moments.

As expected, Beach House drew one of the biggest crowds so far in the day. Opening with ‘Walk in the Park’, the mood was set. Languid, dreamy, atmospheric. Accompanied by live drums, the duo was completely captivating from the start. ‘Norway’ was well received, with the crowd singing along to the opening ‘ah ah ahs’, and ‘Ten Mile Stereo’ was a clear favourite amongst everyone. Songs from last year’s Teen Dream were checked off the list – ‘Silver Soul’, ‘Zebra’ and ‘Take Care’. ‘Used to Be’ was enhanced significantly by having a live drummer there, taking the song to a whole different level. The set flew by seamlessly, and guitar Alex Scally obviously thankful that so many had stuck out the heat and blaring sun. It would have been nicer to see the group perform later in the day, suiting the style of music a little better, but they worked well with what they had and produced a practically flawless performance.

A brief stop off to see a few tracks from The Antlers left with me a pang of regret. If it hadn’t been for the Beach House clash I would have loved to see more of them. Frontman Peter Silberman’s voice was in astonishing form, supported by warm and luscious indie riffs. The regret continued when I continued on to Warpaint, and I began to realise there was barely a dud act on this line up. High in energy, high in charisma, I could feel my inner riot grrl start to surface. Warpaint aren’t a particularly showy band, but what they do, they do damn well.

[this review is turning out to be a bit longer than expected, so I’ve broken it up into two parts to make it a bit easier to read]

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