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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.

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This gave me the shivers, yo.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony capped off the stellar lineup from the Levis/Fader Fort at SXSW this year and I never thought I’d hear them play their ’95 classic “Crossroads” ever again. If blogging was a thing 15 years ago, you would never hear the end of this.

  1. Camera Obscura – “French Navy” (from My Maudlin Career) [MP3]
    You just can’t get past the sweet melodies and the smitten feeling that engulfs you while listening to Camera Obscura, until you notice the romance inevitably turns to heartbreak – the string section just tugs at your heart. From their newest album My Maudlin Career, “French Navy” would conjure some sort of familiarity in most of us where we once desperately wanted to save a relationship but it was already out of our hands. Sigh, I love you Camera Obscura.
  2. The Middle East – “Blood” (from The Recordings of The Middle East EP)
    When I saw them this year I bought their stunning The Recordings of The Middle East EP and the forth track on my handmade copy of their EP, “Blood” is certainly one of the tracks that is played repeatedly. It is the standout from the EP – a track reflecting the complexities and sudden events that occur in family life. My favourite part of this song is the build-up to what becomes liberation of emotions with cooing and ah-ing. The Middle East are a band that embody ethereal beauty and I highly recommend listening to their EP.
  3. Red Riders – “Ordinary” (from Drown In Colour)
    Red Riders have been one of my favourite bands for years now and this song is one of the stand-outs from their most recent album Drown In Colour which has swayed towards a Britpop sound overall. “Ordinary” sounds exotic and I would play it on repeat on a sunny day, most likely a beautiful sunny Sunday with a piña colada in hand on a rooftop dreaming of somewhere away from Sydney. The film clip has a totally different vision for the song but it is worth checking out, it might make you giggle a little.
  4. Castratii – “Colours” [MP3] and “Listen Lovers” (both from The Music of Chance)
    Newly signed to Speak N Spell, Castratii are a mystic Sydney band that make me breathe deeply in relief that something more unique and mature has come out of our city. With hidden identities in their promo photos, this year Castratii released their first EP, The Music of Chance digitally through itunes with cover artwork confusing people to think they are a metal band. This they are not. I could not decide which of their tracks I liked more so they both score at #4 for me- both songs feature mesmerising falsettos and shoegaze elements that make me ponder if these guys are part of a secret society.
  5. Camera Obscura – “Honey In The Sun” (from My Maudlin Career)
    Camera Obscura is back again to warm up my heart and feel the romance and beauty in this world through “Honey In The Sun”, the final track on My Maudlin Career. Now I want to run around in a pretty field of flowers.
  6. Phoenix – “Lisztomania” (from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix) [MP3]
    Phoenix were awesome this year at the Enmore touring their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “Lisztomania” is a word coined supposedly about the first classical pop star, Franz Liszt but to be honest I just really love dancing and singing along to this song.
  7. Bear & I – “Sloan Great Wall” (from Self-titled)
    One of my best friends recorded his first EP this year which is self-titled. Coming in at a measly 1:49, “Sloan Great Wall” is the first song on the track which initially teases you with a sole chatting banjo but then explodes into a symphony like the waking of living things at the dawn of the day. Just beautiful.
  8. Philadelphia Grand Jury – “I’m Going To Kill You” (from Hope Is For Hopers) [MP3]
    The Philly Jays are just awesome guys with awesome no-frills music that makes me dance without a care at their gigs. They released their first EP Going To The Casino and their debut album Hope Is For Hopers with “I’m Going To Kill You” featuring on both, a song about lead singer Simon dreaming that he leads his girlfriend to a graveyard to kill her but she proposes to him. Hilarious and catchy and had to be in my top 10.
  9. Dappled Cities – Zounds LP
    One of my top 3 favourite bands (if not number 1) Dappled Cities released their first album in 3 years, Zounds is an older-brother version of their previous albums – with a touch of added masculinity and dare to their usual dual-frontman falsettos and playful tunes. I couldn’t pick one song above another in this album.
  10. Jonathan Boulet – “A Community Service Announcement” (from Jonathan Boulet) [MP3]
    From my home town, Jonathan has surprised most of us after emerging from Parades to show off what he can do solo. “A Community Service Announcement” is a refreshing track from his self-titled debut album, Jonathan Boulet, that Pitchfork rated at 6/10, but I would rate it a little higher.
  1. Camera Obscura – “French Navy” (from My Maudlin Career) [MP3]
    You just can’t get past the sweet melodies and the smitten feeling that engulfs you while listening to Camera Obscura, until you notice the romance inevitably turns to heartbreak – the string section just tugs at your heart. From their newest album My Maudlin Career, “French Navy” would conjure some sort of familiarity in most of us where we once desperately wanted to save a relationship but it was already out of our hands. Sigh, I love you Camera Obscura.
  2. The Middle East – “Blood” (from The Recordings of The Middle East EP)
    When I saw them this year I bought their stunning The Recordings of The Middle East EP and the forth track on my handmade copy of their EP, “Blood” is certainly one of the tracks that is played repeatedly. It is the standout from the EP – a track reflecting the complexities and sudden events that occur in family life. My favourite part of this song is the build-up to what becomes liberation of emotions with cooing and ah-ing. The Middle East are a band that embody ethereal beauty and I highly recommend listening to their EP.
  3. Red Riders – “Ordinary” (from Drown In Colour)
    Red Riders have been one of my favourite bands for years now and this song is one of the stand-outs from their most recent album Drown In Colour which has swayed towards a Britpop sound overall. “Ordinary” sounds exotic and I would play it on repeat on a sunny day, most likely a beautiful sunny Sunday with a piña colada in hand on a rooftop dreaming of somewhere away from Sydney. The film clip has a totally different vision for the song but it is worth checking out, it might make you giggle a little.
  4. Castratii – “Colours” [MP3] and “Listen Lovers” (both from The Music of Chance)
    Newly signed to Speak N Spell, Castratii are a mystic Sydney band that make me breathe deeply in relief that something more unique and mature has come out of our city. With hidden identities in their promo photos, this year Castratii released their first EP, The Music of Chance digitally through itunes with cover artwork confusing people to think they are a metal band. This they are not. I could not decide which of their tracks I liked more so they both score at #4 for me- both songs feature mesmerising falsettos and shoegaze elements that make me ponder if these guys are part of a secret society.
  5. Camera Obscura – “Honey In The Sun” (from My Maudlin Career)
    Camera Obscura is back again to warm up my heart and feel the romance and beauty in this world through “Honey In The Sun”, the final track on My Maudlin Career. Now I want to run around in a pretty field of flowers.
  6. Phoenix – “Lisztomania” (from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix) [MP3]
    Phoenix were awesome this year at the Enmore touring their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “Lisztomania” is a word coined supposedly about the first classical pop star, Franz Liszt but to be honest I just really love dancing and singing along to this song.
  7. Bear & I – “Sloan Great Wall” (from Self-titled)
    One of my best friends recorded his first EP this year which is self-titled. Coming in at a measly 1:49, “Sloan Great Wall” is the first song on the track which initially teases you with a sole chatting banjo but then explodes into a symphony like the waking of living things at the dawn of the day. Just beautiful.
  8. Philadelphia Grand Jury – “I’m Going To Kill You” (from Hope Is For Hopers) [MP3]
    The Philly Jays are just awesome guys with awesome no-frills music that makes me dance without a care at their gigs. They released their first EP Going To The Casino and their debut album Hope Is For Hopers with “I’m Going To Kill You” featuring on both, a song about lead singer Simon dreaming that he leads his girlfriend to a graveyard to kill her but she proposes to him. Hilarious and catchy and had to be in my top 10.
  9. Dappled Cities – Zounds LP
    One of my top 3 favourite bands (if not number 1) Dappled Cities released their first album in 3 years, Zounds is an older-brother version of their previous albums – with a touch of added masculinity and dare to their usual dual-frontman falsettos and playful tunes. I couldn’t pick one song above another in this album.
  10. Jonathan Boulet – “A Community Service Announcement” (from Jonathan Boulet) [MP3]
    From my home town, Jonathan has surprised most of us after emerging from Parades to show off what he can do solo. “A Community Service Announcement” is a refreshing track from his self-titled debut album, Jonathan Boulet, that Pitchfork rated at 6/10, but I would rate it a little higher.

Everyone’s soon-to-be-favourite band (if it’s not already), La Roux, has just announced side shows on behalf of her appearance at this year’s Parklife festival. The dates are as follows:

29 Sept The Gaelic Enmore Theatre*, Sydney
1 Oct Prince Bandroom, Melbourne

Blake even anticipates La Roux’s “Bulletproof” to be the song of the year and I really don’t blame him

*Please note venue changes.

Five years ago I was still in high school adoring The Strokes and Kings of Leon. Little did I know of another world that embodied the obscurities and enchantments of Devendra Barnhart, Joanna Newsom and the like. Thankfully filmmaker, Kevin Barker, has captured what be one the most exciting tours back then. In the summer of 2004, Devendra et al. set foot across America and Barker has captured this amazing music movement in a documentary titled The Family Jams.

We have all moved on to bigger and better things since 2004.

(Local film release date TBC)

Meanwhile Vetiver‘s recent signing to Sub Pop records has finally given them the necessary attention. Their album Tight Knit is an utter surprise of folk-pop with their track “Everyday” on high rotation for the past week, making each day brighter. Vetiver is thoroughly recommended for fans of Iron & Wine and Elliot Smith.

[MP3] Vetiver – Everyday