It takes something pretty special for me to blog out of hibernation the day-to-day stresses of architecture work but this takeaway show featuring Battles has got me excited again.

Everything right down to the editing and colour correction to the location has well and truly increased the standard for future shows/videos. Showcasing (what I think is) the best track from their new LP, Gloss Drop, it proves Battles can still surprise on an artistic level despite being one man down.

There is something oddly calming about heading to a small, dark basement seemingly unchanged from the 80s with no visible fire exits. Together with a sold-out crowd, this mix probably should’ve made the architect in me a little bit concerned. Heading into Goodgod Small Club last Tuesday night to see Toro Y Moi was probably one of the best things I’ve done this year – this show was close to perfect.

Under the pseudonym of Toro Y Moi, Chaz Bundick is a man that plays with effortless cool. He radiates calm and joy in both personality and music – you can’t help but feel relaxed even with the million things running through your head for work the next day. Albeit a little shy Toro Y Moi, is backed with a trio of equally modest and quiet musicians, and together are very collected. They are incredibly tight with all eyes squarely focused on Bundick.

The chilled out vibe continued into the night as the beer tracks flowed. The setlist concentrated on Toro Y Moi’s latest release Underneath the Pine with the occasional track from Causers Of This but there was an overwhelming sense of anticipation to hear more of the latter record and when a shorter version of “Talamak” was dropped, there wasn’t a still body in the house. “Still Sound” and “New Beat” were full of vintage soul and “Low Shoulder” was ridiculously fun.

Regardless of how practical a performance, there were numerous edits and seamless transitions you probably wouldn’t get just by listening to a Toro Y Moi record in the same way that dancing by yourself in your own room just isn’t the same. Everyone at Goodgod was simply digging it. There were no dumb hipster crowds or obnoxious drunks to avoid. Toro Y Moi brought the chilled vibes and tunes; we filled the dance floor and brought the moves. The atmosphere wasn’t electric but it was calm, heaps of fun and exactly what I needed.

I never had intentions of going to Laneway this year as I’ve seen most of the acts if not at home, then overseas but the line-up was every indie kid’s wet dream from three years ago. You’d expect to see and hear it all before but it was the new venue (for me anyway) and the god damn weather that made it that bit more interesting.

First stop was Beach House. Plagued with technical problems early on and hunting for a good viewing spot only proved to be a difficult feat. I retreated further back and into Menomena’s set over at the Clock Tower stage and was completely blown away. Seeing “Muscle’n Flo”, “The Pelican”, “Weird” and “Wet And Rusting” live only reiterated why Friend and Foe was one of the better releases of the past decade – I was getting a little nostalgic. The Portland group threw the challenge down and hard.

We hung around to see Blonde Redhead and caught the opening of their set with “Dr. Strangluv”, “Here Sometimes” and “In Particular” before catching a breather and something to eat. I walked away knowing little could be done to beat their show last weekend at the Sydney Opera House.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffitti was running a bit late at the Inner Sanctum stage but in my head, I knew I had somewhere else to be. Oh yeah…at Les Savy Fav! It only seemed like yesterday I was in the crowd helping Les Savy’s vocalist, Tim Harrington, crowd surf above the masses in Reiby Place. That year was first Laneway Festival here in Sydney and the standard was set very high for subsequent festivals. This year, the performance was no different – Harrington climbed the adjacent shade sail, light-heartedly molested a spectator and was found somewhere in middle (usually very sweaty) of the rough crowd. Playing favourites including “Patty Lee”, “The Sweat Descends” and “The Equestrian”, the crowd was insane and today I have the bruises to show for it. Closing it out with “Who Rocks The Party”, this was the set of the day and something you just had see.

Still on a high and now feeling a little worse of wear, I knew Deerhunter would be the perfect fix. “Cover Me (Slowly)” and “Agoraphobia” were delivered fast but there was a cloud of great anticipation for Deerhunter drifting all the way to the back.

I ended the night with the trippy, instrumental set from Holy Fuck and there is only one word to describe that: epic. “The Pulse” and “Lovely Allen” sounded so good I knew it wasn’t going to get any better. As the temperature cooled, so did the mood with many heading home before the last acts for the night being Cut Copy, Gotye and !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Overall, I had mixed feelings about the second year of (and my first visit since) the relocation of Sydney’s Laneway.

Let’s set the record straight – Twin Sister has nothing to do with Kid Sister, so don’t fall into that mind trap the same way I did. It did put me off the indie-pop quintet for a while but their Color Your Life EP is setting me free. The first listen was simply impressing. On subsequent listens, the allure of Twin Sister’s sound became more luscious – at times a little minimal, other times a little 70’s disco but with a multitude of sounds and an Emily Haines-like coo from vocalist Andrea Estella, Twin Sister just seem to pull it off with a casual cool.

[MP3] Twin Sister – Lady Daydream

Color Your Life EP is out now on Popfrenzy.

If I were to have an affair with a band, it would be with Blonde Redhead. Ever since Misery Is A Butterfly, I jumped on the small, cult bandwagon and haven’t gotten off since. The music Blonde Redhead has given me, has marked some momentous occasions in my life even to this day – this is a band with personal significance and this show at the Opera House wasn’t going to be any different.

The Verlaines kicked proceedings off with promising alternative songs – they were pretty much New Zealand’s answer to Pavement, complete with sweet little guitar solos, clean yet crunchy riffs combined with angular melodies and downbeat lyrics. It was a sound and atmosphere more suited to a pub with a beer in one hand. The mutual relationship between The Verlaines and Blonde Redhead is that they’ve both been in this industry for over 2 decades now.

The Opera House can be a little overwhelming, especially when all the seats aren’t filled but that wasn’t the least of Blonde Redhead’s concerns. Song after song the Brooklyn trio mesmerized and blew the audience away pitted against a striking backdrop of photographic umbrellas and minimal vintage light bulbs, flickering their little tungsten hearts away.

The hum and flicker of the lights were a sublime way to open their set and subtly launch into “Black Guitar”. The trio now accompanied with a keys/synth player seemed like doing so was the only option to recreate songs off Penny Sparkle in a live setting but did it work? Yeah it did … only if the Opera House in all of it’s acoustic glory can figure out a new configuration for bass-heavy songs. Good thing Blonde Redhead had a back catalogue dating as far back as ‘93. The implication of which (and one would hope) was a set not entirely devoted to their latest release. Despite the set being the live realisation of Penny Sparkle, the Pace twins with an under-the-weather Kazu Makino still threw in the favourites from 23. They did gave 110% in energy, atmosphere and skill – it was truly worthy of the standing ovation and the eager (but unsuccessful) request for a second encore.

Black Guitar
Here Sometimes
Dr. Strangeluv
Spring and by Summer Fall
Will There be Stars
In Particular
Falling Man
Not Getting There


Expect great things from Blonde Redhead this Sunday at Laneway, Sydney.

Photos by Daniel Boud.

+Dome will be the Seekae‘s second full-length release and believe me, this is almost as good as The Sound Of Trees Falling On People if not better. With more instrumentation and vocals, +Dome a bit quiet but is all sorts of powerful – an unpredictable retrospective of two years of constant touring and writing. Due for release March 25 on Rice Is Nice/Popfrenzy, there is a promising but very cruel album teaser available over at their home page. Expect more news as it surfaces.

I know I know. You probably didn’t need another set of tours to add to your no doubt already gig-filled schedule but you can count this one on me. Together with the great folks over at Civil Society and Inertia, I have a double pass to both !!! sideshows below. In other words, free tickets to what will only be one hell of a party. So by !!! standards that means heaps of dance-funk beats, all sorts of stage antics and just a general good time. Do yourself a favour and leave a comment where ever you like on TWYE from now until February 7. Winner will be chosen at random. Tell your friends!

Feb 9 Metro Theatre, Sydney
Feb 10 Prince Bandroom, Melbourne

While you are it check out this Take Away Show, recently shot on the streets of Paris.