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Posts Tagged ‘the national’

It is a bit annoying to have the opening bands start a mere 15 minutes after gates open, but at least for the punters that missed out on the Cloud Control and Ball Park Music sets, it was still somewhat audible from outside the barricades.

New York musical duo Sleigh Bells brought their unique brand of dirty electro to the ever growing crowd at the River Stage, but something just didn’t seem right about the whole situation. The sun was out (practically the only bit of sun we would see for the remainder of the festival) and the humidity was high, but the pair looked and sounded dwarfed by the size of the stage, perhaps more suited to a smaller, indoor venue. Fans towards the front of the stage seemed to enjoy the set, but from further up the hill the music fell flat.

The atmosphere was a lot better over at the Gardens Stage for the remainder of Hot Hot Heat’s set. The band put on a very tight performance, and while older fans mused that they ‘weren’t what they used to be’, they certainly entertained the crowd with a mix of both old and new material.‘21@12’ and ‘Goodnight Goodnight’ were exceptional highlights.

Up next were Cold War Kids, easily one of the most anticipated acts of the afternoon. Opening with ‘Mexican Dogs’, it was obvious that the band was out to impress.  Newer track ‘Audience of One’ got a surprisingly positive reception, but tracks from the band’s debut Robbers & Cowards were clear favourites. In an ironic moment the group decided to play ‘Hang Me up to Dry’ as the rain started to borderline on torrential. The sing-a-long during ‘We used to Vacation’ was one of those special festival moments that will surely be burned into everyone’s hearts.

Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown and backing band) powered through most of her debut album. The crowd lapped up ‘Dusk til Dawn’, ‘Runaway’, and ‘Back of the Van’. For the most part though, the group produced a very generic and it often just felt as though they were playing the actual recording. It wasn’t until the end of the set with ‘Paris is Burning’ and ‘My Delirium’ did they start to mix things up a little bit with added guitar solos and extended choruses, taking an average performance and made it enjoyable.

The National took to the Gardens Stage to a packed out audience, bringing along a two piece horn section (trumpet and trombone). Opening with tracks from 2010’s masterpiece High Violet, the group paced through ‘Mistaken for Strangers’, ‘Anyone’s Ghost’ and Bloodbuzz Ohio’, with the horn section filling out the songs very nicely. ‘Slow Show’ fell disappointingly short, its pace dragging and feeling very sludgy and unrehearsed, but was immediately forgotten after the absolutely amazing rendition of ‘Squalor Victoria’. The beautiful piano opening of ‘England’ set a gorgeous mood against the pouring rain, while older tracks ‘Abel’ and ‘Mr November’ pumped up the energy to help bring the set to a climactic finish. Closing with ‘Terrible Love’, singer Matt Berninger jumping from the stage and running out into the audience causing absolute frenzy as everyone around sung along to the powerful chorus, ‘It takes an ocean not to break’ – a remarkable finish to an amazing set.

By the end of The National’s set, the rain was pelting down. This made watching, and listening to for that matter, the end of Public Enemy’s set virtually impossible without battling the crowd and the mudslide of a hill.

Most of the crowd began to disperse before Interpol’s set even began, with the rain beginning to take its toll on punters and the grounds. Musically the quartet was tight, something that you would expect from a band held in such high esteem. Unfortunately they seemed to rely solely on the fact that their songs are good and that they can play well, proving to be far less interesting to watch than many of the acts of the day. The set list was strong, beginning with the two opening tracks from last year’s self titled album – ‘Success’ and ‘Memory Serves’ – making them immediately accessible to newer fans before launching into a string of songs from 2004’s Antics. There were no particular stand outs, but on that same note there were no particular duds either. The set went off without a hitch, but ended with a disappointing linger that suggested the possibly of an encore before the music and lights came on. It was an anti-climactic end to an average performance.

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Well, it’s January. And that means that voting is well and truly underway in Triple J’s Hottest 100. In fact, there’s only one more week left to vote so if you plan on doing so, you better start thinking about which songs you’re going to vote for! Some years the voting process is really easy for me, other years it is pretty tough. I’m always torn between voting for the songs that I love, and voting for the songs that I think will do well (in order to keep the songs I don’t like from getting in the top ten!). Basically I put too much thought into something that ultimately doesn’t really matter. To me the Hottest 100 is kind of like an awards show – I know I’ll be disappointed with the results, but I still tune in because I enjoy the suspense.

Alright, so my ten picks for the ‘hottest 100’ of 2010, in no particular order (well, actually, alphabetical)…

1. Ball Park Music – iFly

2. Best Coast – Boyfriend

3. The Boat People – Damn Defensive

4. Cloud Control – There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight

5. Hungry Kids Of Hungary – Wristwatch

6. Inland Sea – All Fall Down

No video!!!! Check out their Myspace to hear the track.

7. Jonsi – Go Do

8. Kimbra – Settle Down

9. The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

(it was hard to pick just one song from these guys…)

10. Yeasayer – Ambling Alp

 

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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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Oh my god – there are so many albums set to come out this year, especially in the next six months!

Matthew Cooper, aka ambient recording artist Eluvium has a new album coming out at the end of February called Similes. It’s been three years since Cooper released anything under this alias, so this is definitely one to look forward to.

English singer-songwriter Laura Marling is supposed to release two albums this year apparently, with this first entitled I Speak Because I Can coming out late February/early March. After that she’ll be heading straight back into the studio for another album to be ready by September.

Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi is releasing his first solo album, entitled Go on March 23. It’s supposedly going to be a bit of a step away from Sigur Ros’ post rock style, being largely acoustic and featuring string arrangements.

Music act Evelyn Evelyn consisting of Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley will release their first full length studio album on March 30, following the success of their Elephant Elephant EP in 2007.

MGMT will release their second album Congratulations on April 12 and is rumoured to have quite a few guest appearances.

Just recently, The National announced that they would be releasing a new album this year, a follow up to their extremely successful 2007 release The Boxer. Details of the new album are yet to be confirmed, but we know that it’s set for release in May.

Canadians Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers and Arcade Fire are all set to release albums in May. The new Arcade Fire release is easily one of the most anticipated albums of the year, due to the phenomenal success of their previous two albums.

But possibly the biggest surprise will be the resurrection of Conor Oberst’s alter ego Bright Eyes. He’s supposedly releasing one more album as the ‘band’ before he officially retires the project to focus on his solo work and his latest band Monsters of Folk. The album is set for a fall release in the States.

Other rumoured releases include Nick Cave’s other project, Grinderman, as well as of Montreal, and Fleet Foxes. Lots to look forward this year…and it’s barely even begun!

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