wowz. This has been so amazingly difficult. It’s been a year of evolution in regards to my music taste – a year when maamf featured perhaps more local stuff than ever before, and a year when the local scene in general was pretty freaking strong. It’s also been a year where my taste has gotten even broader…I don’t know how, but it has.
Attempting to dwindle this down to 10 was so hard. Others aren’t doing a top 10, but are instead doing a top 50. That be cray cray is you ask me.
I’m also too lazy.
So, like other years, a bit of an honourable mention section. The peeps that so nearly made the top 10 were:
Big Scary – Vacation, Feist – Metals, M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, Seekae +DOME, Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine, Total Control – Henge Beat.
There were also a whole heap of albums that made a super long list of about 48 albums or so – you can check out those on our facebook.
Anyway, from 1-10, these are my fave albums of 2011. Complete with a stream of a track from each. If you dig, you should get them out again. If you don’t have ‘em, grab ‘em!
1. Twerps – Twerps
From that opening riff, you know that this is going to be an amazing album. I guess time will tell, but to me, this album is already an Australian classic. Sounds super wanky, but it sounds Australian – I think it’s those big sweeping guitars and the strong bass lines. And it’s the fact that it straddles that line between sounding big and grand but still sounds like it’s just a few mates messing around.
Twerps – Who Are You
2. Adalita – Adalita
An album pretty heavy with emotion is Adalita’s debut. Dean Turner, bass player with Adalita’s old band Magic Dirt helped in the production of some of this album before he passed away two years ago. The album itself sounds quite restrained and considered – Adalita super strong vocals doubled up with a solo guitar full of distortion is almost haunting.
Adalita – The Repairer
3. Oscar + Martin – For You
This was so close for my album of the year. The thing I love the most about this disc is the beats. And the vocals. And that pretty Melbourne sounding floor tom. And the 90′s r’nb influence. But nah, yeah, it really is the grooves that get me on this.
Oscar + Martin – Do The Right Thing
4. Gotye – Making Mirrors
It would be stupid of me if I didn’t include this on the list. People are calling this album of the year, and you can see why. The amazing production on this album will ensure it has it’s place as a bit of an Aussie classic. Wally is an incredible musician and such an amazingly great songwriter. There isn’t a bad song on this disc.
Gotye – State of the Art
5. The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy
Perhaps one of the most anticipated local releases of the year, this, as an album, is a bit of a work of art. The shear emotion that builds right across the disc is moving. Sure there are the sometimes out there lyrics (jesus you’re a fire in my foreskin everyday - Merry Christmas everyone!), but yeah, all together, it’s an album that evokes such clear imagery – and I don’t necessarily mean the lyrics. These guys definitely went out on a high note.
The Middle East – Ninth Avenue Reverie
6. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
When this album finally dropped I was initially a bit disappointed. It’s definitely no In Ghost Colours, but after a few more listens, it’s actually a pretty solid release. There are definitely some great tracks on here and I really like the way it all somehow melds together. It’s no secret that I absolutely love these gents!
Cut Copy – Pharaohs & Pyramids
7. Oh Mercy – Great Barrier Grief
Yeah, so bad puns aside, I really like the work of Alexander Gow. I think their first album was a bit of a sleeper hit – flew under the radar a bit. This disc definitely has had a lot more promo, but i think there’s a real sound that comes through on this record. hearing interviews with Gow, he’s quite romantic about the idea of Australia and the shear vastness of land in this country. I think the record has captured that pretty nicely.
Oh Mercy – Doldrums
8. Single Twin – Marcus Teague
To me, this was an album that I gave one listen and then it gathered dust, well, it gathered digital dust. There were one or two tracks on there that I knew were great, well crafted pop songs, but man, I’m so glad I went back. All the tracks on this album are so well crafted. But easily, I think the thing that makes this go from a good album to a great album is the bed of noise that sits beneath each track – the samples, the slight distortion. They sound quite separate, but they seem to compliment each other really well.
Single Twin – The Blow (Fell Out The Window)
9. Step-Panther – Step-Panther
This is a disc that holds one of my fave tracks of the year. My Neck is such a killer, sweet, smack in your face packet of slacker-kid goodness. But then, so is the album. I never really expected this disc to be near the top for me, but after giving it a few listens, man, it’s just a heap of fun.
Step-Panther – Rock And Roll Alien
This is seriously one of the albums that gives me tingles. Warm lovely nostalgic tingles. English peeps Yuck, do fuzzed out indie pop goodness – sure, some of the stuff sounds the same, and it is massively tinged with 90′s fuzz stuff like Dinosaur Jnr, but the sounds that they do produce, to me, are some of the best.
Yuck – Georgia
ok, so we’ve started up an 8tracks account, purely so that we can post up our fave tracks each month and you guys can have a listen. As always with anything maamf related, it gonna be as varied as your shitting pattern after easter.
Check it out at 8tracks.com/maamf/maamf-april-11-mix
The Middle East - Ninth Avenue Reverie
Strange Talk – Eskimo Boy
Buchanan – Mr Keeperman
Divorced – I Wanna Die
Architecture in Helsinki – Escapee
Oscar and Martin – What I Know
Super Wild Horses – Degrassi
Dead Letter Chorus – Yellow House
ok! So, we’re sort of back in the game. Whilst I do have my laptop back with a brand new hard drive etc, I don’t yet have any of my data. Hopefully in the next day or two though, we should all be good.
Thought I should celebrate with one of my favourite bands, The Middle East. The guys from Townsville have been slogging away on their debut LP (will be a big one me thinks!). From what I’ve read, the LP is due out sometime in the first half of next year, and we got the first taste of it down below. Not sure whether tracks like Blood or The Darkest Side will be on the album, but if their first EP is anything to go by, I don’t really care – they’re bound to throw up some pretty incredible folk pop goodness no matter what.
The single is called Jesus Came To My Birthday Party and sees them go into a bit of electric guitar, jam kinda sound – especially towards the end. It’s a really beautiful track, and like anything The Middle East put out, I’m kinda in love.
ok. So, we kinda slept it on this thing at first. Melbourne hipster hangout Rooftop Bar are putting on some pretty sweet gigs right across summer. It is called Happy Mondays, and is all about starting the week with some killer live music. Check out the lineup below and you can grab tix via Moshtix of from both the Fitzroy and City Polyester stores.
ok. so Golden Plains festival down here in Victoria will be in it’s fifth year next year. It always manages to draw an interesting and diverse lineup and next years ain’t no exception.
Something Golden Plains do manage to do is to rake in a few old bands who haven’t played in a while. Last year they got Pavement and Dinosaur Jnr. This year they got NZ band The Clean, who were a killer punk shoegaze kinda band from the late 70s. (To be honest, I actually didn’t know of them before this morning…but listening to their MySpace, i’m rather impressed.)
But yes, the full lineup! I think I might try and get along to this fest. Although there are a few bands I don’t know, there’s enough there that I do know! Totes lookin forward to Best Coast, Architecture In Helsinki, Wavves, The Clean, Mount Kimbie, Jamie Lidell, The Middle East, and World’s End Press.
Wanna go? It’s at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith, Victoria, Australia, March 12 – 14, 2011
2011 Golden Plains Lineup.
THE HOLD STEADY
ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI
PULLED APART BY HORSES
THE MIDDLE EAST
BOY & BEAR
THE BESNARD LAKES
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
J-WOW FEAT. MC KALAF
WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS
BAMBOO MUSIK DJS
WORLD’S END PRESS
To finish off with, a few tracks from some of the killer bands on the lineup!
“Instead it sounds like The Pixies and Sonic Youth got together to record a country album that was written for them by Bob Dylan and Jack White”
Impressive aye? Yup. The band is Joseph Liddy and the Skeleton Horse. And that’s exactly what they sound like.
The band is a bit of a side project for two of the dudes from The Middle East which is always a good thing (maamf is quite the fan of the Townsville band). They’re quite a bit more crazy and ‘ragged’ though. Very Bob Dylan meets Jack White. They’ve got an album coming out hopefully very soon. The tracks were written by Mr Liddy whilse he was a case worker in a rehab clinic…so you can imagine the stories he’s got to tell.
Anyway, here’s probably my fave so far (I’ve heard four tracks so far…)
ok. Laneway Festival was a festival I’d been looking forward to for quite a while. I hadn’t been before, and after the much publicised ‘outcry’ about last year, it was great to see it moved to the nice open Footscray Community Arts Centre. The lineup itself was impressive. I remember writing a while ago that it was a music bloggers ‘wet dream’ or something along those lines…and I think I was kinda right. There were some bands I wish I saw, but I’m really glad I did see the bands that I did.
Local fellas Oh Mercy were first up, playing on the river stage. They did a nice solid set. Tracks like “Seemed Like A Good Idea” (which was introduced as something about sleeping with cousins…) and Can’t Fight It were big standouts. Nice indie pop for what was a pretty warm afternoon.
Next up, we headed over to the carpark stage to check out Portland, Oregan based Hockey. When I first started writing this blog, these guys were one of the first bands I really discovered. I’ve only just bought their album though…and that was purely due to how bloody impressive they were at Laneway. They got into it massively. Great electro pop. Work was a definite standout, as well as Song Away. They played a pretty short set, but it was sweet. Short and sweet…get it?
After Hockey, we walked up the bridge to the Moreland Street stage to check out another local band, Bridezilla. One of the dudes I went with argues that everything sounds better with ‘Zilla’ at the end of it…and well…i’m not too sure if that fits. Bridezilla are an interesting band – One vocalist/guitarist/keys player, another guitarist, a violinist, a saxophonist, and a drummer. Interesting sound, and they are all mega mega mega talented ladies…and man (the drummer is a dude, the rest are girls). I’m just not sure if it’s my kinda sound. My friend loves them, we both checked them out a few months ago supporting Decoder Ring…and I think they improved from then. Maybe it’ll take me a few listens before I get into them.
Next up, we got some food. There was such a surge for Mumford & Sons that we decided to give them a miss…although we did check out the end of their set…after they blew a speaker! They were ok. Not sure if the festival experience was the best way to see them though. Next up, it was a toss up between Sarah Blasko and The XX. I went for Sarah Blasko. I’m not that much of a fan of The XX…sound a little too depressing for me. I like Sarah Blasko. She’s got a good voice and all that…but her songs kinda sound the same. To me, they just don’t stand out. I’ve heard only good reviews about The XX though, so maybe I got it wrong on that one.
Fifth on the list was one of my favourite bands, Midnight Juggernauts. I was freakin excited when these guys were announced…and only a day before the gig! Echo & The Bunnymen lead singer Ian McCulloch missed his flight…so Juggers were announced as replacement. And fuck they were good. I’d never actually seen them live before, and as Laneway organiser dude Jerome Borazio said, they are one of the best live bands around. Absolute standout for me was a personal fave, 45 and Rising. Went off. Newy This New Technology was also a standout. Although it was too hot to go completely nuts, the whole crowd did a pretty good job of it.
Next up it was more food time…although after waiting in a line going for about 100 metres for about 20 minutes we found out that they had actually run out. But that was really the only negative about the day. After deciding icecream was a good substitute, we headed back up and caught the end of Dirty Three. These guys have been around for ages – big early nineties instrumental folk noise rock kinda band. One of those bands that I’d heard the name of but never really checked out before. We caught the end of a song called Indian Love Song, an epic massive long piece, as well as a really nice mellow track called Everything’s Fucked (real mellow.) . The guys themselves comprise of only violin, guitar, and drums. But they have the sound of about 15 people on stage. Warren Ellis creates such a heavy level of distortion on his violin that it just goes nuts.
Last set of the night we checked out was The Middle East. I personally have a massive softspot for these guys. Their track Blood came in at #2 on my best tracks of 2009 list, and they were just awesome. Great solid set, nice and chilled. Great way to end what was a pretty bloody good day. You can check out some pics from the day over at the maamf facebook page.
There were other bands I wish I did see though. Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Dappled Cities, Whitley, Philly Jays, NASA, The Very Best. This is how good the lineup was though, it was impossible to not miss a good band because another good band would be playing at the same time! So, minus the food hickup, it was definitely a great day. They always seem to have a solid lineup every year, so if you’re around late Jan next year, definitely check it out!
I’ll leave you with a few tracks. Some Oh Mercy, some Hockey, some Juggers and some Dirty Three.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now
ok. so this isn’t a post about some new stuff I got sent. This is a post about some of the new stuff I’ve bought. Yes, that’s right. Even us bloggers go out and buy music. I’ve bought some new stuff and some old stuff. Being a blogger, you sort of feel as though you should have the top 10 albums in the Hype Machine 2009 Zeitgeist. Or maybe that’s just me. MAAMF is still relatively new (although, i’m not sure if ‘new’ really exists in the music blogosphere), so I feel as though it still has a while to go until it can call it successful or anything). Anyway, I ramble. Onto my recent music additions.
What I bought was pretty diverse. Here’s a run down:
- First up was the Recordings Of The Middle East EP. The Middle East made the MAAMF top 10 and they’re kinda a pretty awesome band. If you’re in Australia too, they’re playing Laneway Festival over the next few weeks. Expect some big things from these guys in 2010.
- Next up. Dirty Projectors – Bittie Orca. I’m still in two minds about The Dirty Projectors. This rated pretty highly in some bloggers top 10′s…and I think I can see why. Still not sure though. It’s good in the sense that it throws normal pop song writing rules out the window on the most part…but I think it rambles in some parts. You listen to some parts and wonder why they’ve done that thinking it wasn’t really necessary. Still in two minds though…so you never know. Next week I could love it.
- Third. The FBi Live Feed album. FBi is a community radio station up in Sydney. I try and always listen to them when I’m up there. And their FBi’s Before Cast podcast is always worth a listen. The disc is 18 live tracks from bands from right across the world, all recorded in Sydney venues. There are a few standout tracks on the disc…but I think the recording of Melbourne boys My Disco and their track (get ready for an insanely long track title!) “You Came To Me Like A Cancer Lain Dormant Until It Blossomed Like A Rose” is the best. Check it down below.
- Fourth up. You Am I – Hi Fi Way. How could I be a lover of Aussie rock and not have this album I hear you ask? I know, pretty poor form on my behalf. But I have it now. And now I completely understand the appeal of You Am I. They just write great pop music. Tim Rogers is a small bit of a genius. One of the best tracks off the album, imo, would definitely have to be Cathy’s Clown. Get it at ze bottom.
- Fifth up. (I bought a shit load I know.) Grand Salvo – Soil Creatures. I didn’t know much about Grand Salvo at all. His real name is Paddy Mann and he’s from Melbourne. He has this knack of keeping his songs really simple. And I like that a lot. Great Sunday afternoon music.
- Sixth. I’m going to be honest with you. The only thing I knew of Four Tet was his amazing remix of Sia’s Breath Me. His brand newy “There Is Love In You” is that kinda experimental dancy soundscape kinda stuff you want playing in your headphones all day. Accompanies any situation.
- Seventh. (Nearly there). Beach House – Teen Dream. Once again, the only Beach House I have ever heard is the track Norway. The album is pop perfection. Love it. I tend to take what Zan from Triple J has as gospel, and she loves this band…so I think I might too. Check out one of my faves off the album Zebra, below.
- Finally! (YESSSSSS!!! Got there. At fucking last. My wallet is hurting btw). The Crayon Fields – All The Pleasures Of The World. These guys had a hell of a lot of hype about them in Melbourne town over the past year. Indie pop perfection some were saying. I accidently saw Geoffrey O’Connor from The Crayon Fields as a support for a dude from the States called Dent May a few days ago. Dent May, imo, is a pretentious college kid who writes some very catchy songs on the ol’ ukulele. But he straddles that line between comedy act and insightful indie pop kid and I’m not sure if he pulls it off. The Crayon Fields and another local Melbourne band Milk Teddy were just that bit better I reckon. The Crayon Fields have a great understanding of pop music and can write some beautiful songs. The album is gentle pop that makes you proud to live in Melbourne! Awww. Check out their track Graceless just below.
Wow. well that’s it. Mini essay. All good music though. Don’t think I’ll be buying anything new for a while…
K. That’ll do the ramble for now
You know how sometimes, there are bands that have this really awesome song and you love it so much that it becomes your second favourite track of the year and after a while you realise that you only know that one song?
The Middle East are that band for me. And Blood was that song for me. I did know one other song by them however…and to be honest, it kind of put me off. That song was called Pig Food…and it was just too slow and naval gazing and depressing. It sounded like a Melbourne band called Laura who produce these massively long depressing tracks (I do like Laura, just in small doses!) But then another track fell into my hands. It’s called The Darkest Side and it makes me realise that The Middle East should be known for more than just the one song. It has that whole folk pop thing, the same as Blood, but a little more introspective I suppose.
I also recommend checking out the vid for Blood. Pretty nice.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record I know, but this list was probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to compile, even outside of the blog.
I think the main contributing factor behind this is that the blog isn’t specialised, there’s just too much good stuff out there to choose from. We don’t just post some electro/dance kinda stuff. We don’t just put a focus on indie rock. We post both of those…and about 50 other styles too (50 might be a slight tiny exageration…). As our About page says, “we’ll like just about anything”…and whilst this may seem to be a bit of a hinderence when it comes to compiling best of lists, I think it’s what makes maamf just that little bit different…different to the 50 gazillion other music blogs out there.
Anyway, enough of blowing the maamf trumpet and onto the 10 best tracks of 2009.
There’s a good mix here. Some electro, some indie pop, some singer songwriter stuff, hell…even some hip hop. I’ve even numbered them too…big call and was difficult…so please don’t take too much notice of the order the tracks are in!!
Comment away people! Be interested to know what you think of my list, and what made yours!!
You think Laneway Festival. You think St Jeromes. You think all those cool laneways in Melbourne. Well…this year you think wrong. St Jeromes closed it’s doors earlier on this year, and after a pretty bad festival this year (punters pissing in the street, massive scheduling probs etc), the organisers have decided to move it. And this time it’s not a laneway. It’s actually a pretty open area. Footscray Community Arts Centre is where it’s at next year. Some may think why?! Footscray?? Isn’t that junkie town? Hehe…well yeah, there is that side of it. It’s also a pretty funky area – super multicultural! If you ever want a good meal, check out just about any Footscray cafe/restaurant. Especially if you dig middle eastern food and also african food. Awesome awesome awesome. You can check out a run through of the venue here.
Anyway, the lineup for the gig is looking pretty good so far. Local bands like The Middle East, Dappled Citties, and Eddy Current Suppression Ring, as well as local solo dudettes and dudes Sarah Blasko and Whitley. For a local lineup, that’s pretty good so far. But I think it’s the international artists that really sell it. Florence & The Machine, Hockey, NASA, The XX, The Very Best, Mumford and Sons. I mean geez! It’s a music bloggers wet fuckin dream!
Tickets for all legs of the fest (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth) go on sale Friday (30th October). Can not wait! Good Vibes tix also go on sale that day too…so I think I might just have to waste a bit of money on Friday. Hehe.
To leave you with, a few of the tracks from the bands/artists I’m really hanging out to see.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now.
ok. I realised I’ve been a bit slack with the new music posts. So, here is one right now. Simple.
I’m really excited about this post because I don’t know if I’ve loved every track as much before.
First up is a local band, The Middle East. Yes, you read right. Local Band. They’ve got a track called Blood. It’s one of those tracks that just sorta builds and build and makes you feel so happy towards the end.
The Middle East – Blood
Next up is another local band. I spoke about these guys a few weeks ago. They’ve got an album called Ragged & Ecstatic coming out in a few days. It is of course Yves Klein Blue.
Yves Klein Blue – Make Up Your Mind
(more deets on their website)
Third on the list is a band I spoke about a while ago as well. It’s YACHT. They’ve got an album coming out soon (It’s being released through DFA in the States next month. Nor sure about a release date for Australia though.
YACHT – The Afterlife
(can’t find a link online for the album, but you should check out the DFA webstore for more detailios)
Finally, it’s Dananananaykroyd. These guys are a band I’d always heard of but never actually heard any of their tracks. And man. What a fool I was! These guys are great. If you like that indie pop with the kinda yelling vocals then Dananananaykroyd are definately worth a check out.
Dananananaykroyd – Black Wax
k. So that’s about it. They’re all really great tracks and it’s posts like these that make me love writing a music blog!
K. That’ll do the ramble for now.