pop

Watch “Flight Facilities – Clair De Lune (feat. Christin…” on YouTube

Flight Facilities – Clair De Lune (feat. Christin…: http://youtu.be/Jcu1AHaTchM

This audio. It goes for about seven minutes.
This song is what I think would be the soundtrack to my life. Not necessarily boppy lyrics with an upbeat rhythm evoking a ‘wow! This is totally like, my life in a song!’ response.
Nay. I think this electronic synth-dream pop would be the ultimate score for a film covering movement and transition. The score would provide a non-diegetic basis upon which montages are collated, with warm colours and sharp-focus reflections. Mid-shots of a pensive girl staring glassy-eyed at the world as the lights flash by, on a night train. The pulse mimics that of than empty city, say Pitt Street Mall, Sydney just after the rain in the early hours of the morn, when all the surfaces glisten and the trees dance in the cool breeze.
This song is movement, rhythm, underlying pulse, both nostalgic and exploratory. It’s the score to the film that is my life

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Metric at the Enmore

Words by Regi Su

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I’m not going to pretend to be an unbiased reviewer for this one, because Metric has been on my playlist for a number of years now. I love the band. What I will try and do, however, is explain the different experience of seeing them live.

Metric is a Canadian band with all the components of success- killer drums, sick guitar, sweet bass and an eclectic female lead vocalist (who can take guitar, synth, tambourines or piano). They’ve been around for 10 years of so, but the band is still fresh. In fact, lead singer Emily explained to the crowd how Metric wrote a particular song (“Police and the Private”) in the Bush Era and how now, she still finds it relevant, finds new meanings and the content remains contemporary. I must say, the “Police and the Private” was my favourite tune from their Live It Out  album, but hearing it live, hearing it acoustic and hearing the tempo slowed right down, with a bit of expression from Emily, I was totally blown away. In essence, I was listening to the song for the first time.

Metric managed to do this with a number of songs, when they performed live. They closed their set with “Gimme Sympathy” and lead guirtarist James Shaw whipped out an acoustic guitar, the first and only time he used it all night. The audience lapped it up, in fact, Emily stopped using the microphone and the band stopped playing their instruments. The audience singing in unison was enough to drive the final song on the final show of their Australian tour.

Speaking of the audience, I was truly horrified with the auditorium. There weren’t nearly as many people as I thought there would be, making the Enmore seem a more little half empty, than half full. On the other hand, however, this helped make Metric the most personal concert I have ever been to. They had none of this hoity-toity rock-band business. Yes, they’ve been in the industry for a decade, but they treated this audience like royalty. With the microphone all night, Emily told us (relatively short) stories between every couple of songs, told us what she was singing, bade us sing with her.

Genre-wise, they’re an indie-rock band, but they do blur between alternative and techno at times; only enough to give each particular song a little bit of dynamicism. A good example of this is the song Metric opened with- “Nothing But Time”. The beauty of seeing it live is the electric atmosphere, the sparks in the crowd and the building up of tension as we play putty in the hands of the band. “Nothing But Time” is a tune with a release that was just incredibly phenomenal when live. This band has such range, just on their latest album Synthetica– there’s generic pop-rock with “Speed The Collapse”, alternative electronic in “The Void”, then calmer, slow tunes like “Clone”. They pandered to the audience and everyone, from grandmas to tweens had a great time.

Having a song feature in the film Scott Pilgrim vs The World definitely aided their fame. If you’re new to the band and you like rock, catch the “Black Sheep”, for entrée.

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Snakadaktal- “Sleep Underwater”

I was on the train.  I was staring glassy-eyed out over the blur of green that is the leafy North Shore.

That’s when I first heard Snakadaktal on Triple J.

The song was “Fall Underneath”- a catchy synth-pop delirium that made me sit up in my seat and really listen.

After that, I tracked down the band on Triple J Unearthed which led me to their older stuff, like “Air”and “Chimera”. I was hooked, so I bought their latest album- Sleep Underwater.

Snakadaktal has an extraordinary talent for manipulating tone or mood through tempo. This is really obvious in “Chimera” for example. It’s hypnotic and I love it. Their synthetic soundscape is lethargic and the female lead, Phoebe Cockburn’s voice is melodious, like a lullabye.

Their guitar-work is not exhaustive or overstrained but underlying and crucial. There’s enough to show talent and supplement the tune. The beat can shift from dance-pop in “Feel The Ocean Hold Me Under” to a slow, eerie nostalgia in “The Sun II”. Right after that, a tune like “Ghost” emerges with a simple supporting tone and a female voice hauntingly rhythmic and high. “Ghost” can only be described as the colour metallic navy blue, I don’t know how else to explain it. Wikipedia categorises their genre as indie-pop/dream pop and I’d have to agree with the latter.

“Fall Underneath” remains a song with the Snakadaktal signature, with electro-pop sounds that are experimental, but I promise they work. They bring up the beat and get the whole upper torso bopping along. Not something for a dance rave, rather, this tune is a mood-lifter, something I’d listen to turned up loud as I walked through the early sunlit streets of somewhere like The Rocks; empty, fresh and I with a spring in my step.

A mood-lifter, that’s what you really want in an opening to an album. After the first track, the up-beat groove remains in songs like “Isolate”, then after that, their tunes become more stereophonic, a sort of haunting beauty that reminds one of a darkened coastline- the muddy grey of the ocean on an overcast day. It echoes, it’s authentic and it’s so well-polished, showing a clear development from the band’s debut songs on their Triple J Unearthed profile.

From Melbourne in Victoria, I’m glad we’ve for a new Australian act and I hope they see some bright stage lights in the near future.Image

Image source: http://www.getshotmagazine.com/2013/11/16/snakadaktal-sleep-underwater/

Foals at The Enmore

Foals at The Enmore

Foals, supported by Alpine, performed at The Enmore over the weekend on 28th-29th of October. I’ve been an enthusiastic fan of Foals since some of their earlier albums, like “Antidotes”, so to see them live was totally incredible. Not only that, but Alpine is such a great Melbourne band who have risen to great heights with their unique synth-pop. I’m a huge fan of theirs too and on stage they were so much better that I had ever expected.

Alpine, the support, is a totally unique band. Their sound is electric, alternative and synthetic, but so very alluring. For those new to the band, I’d suggest ‘Seeing Red’ or ‘Gasoline’ for starters. When you listen to their music through headphones or a sound system, you hear all the elements of the song create a holistic, polished piece, were the sound is like a jigsaw puzzle and each part of the band forms the whole sound. Live in concert, however, with the usual concert antics like unbalanced levels and maybe a bass that’s too loud, maybe the vocals are drowned a bit, I must say, Alpine’s energy and enthusiasm totally surpassed any level problem. They were so fantastic on stage. As cliché as this sounds, they performed like no-one was watching and the leading ladies were like wind-up dolls, just going nuts to their own beat. Even though the sound-recordings have perfect synthesis, this band is like a live cracker in concert. Their songs aren’t heavy with lyrics, but they are lyrically heavy. That’s when you get lyrics, however, because the majority of their songs are alternative and experimental without sounds, voices and harmonies. It’s this vocal emporium that creates their ethereal ambience, especially when the lighting has bathed the stage and audience in a deep purple. Their balanced songs build to a climax and peak with rocking guitar and a solid drum beat. Alpine live is where it’s at.

The opening of the Foals set began with electro synth sounds and strobe lights that went for just long enough for me to wonder if I was in a spaceship or something. It’s a wonder there wasn’t an epilepsy warning on the concert ticket. The difference between a studio recording and a live concert is beyond comparison. The final, professional product on the album doesn’t factor in atmosphere and the band’s creative process. Live however, the opening, which was ‘Prelude’ from “Holy Fires” had each member, each instrument of the band come out separately, playing their part and it was from this and thereafter, that I noticed the careful layering of each song. Dynamically, all of their songs run to the same formula, they layer two types of guitar and bass with vocals, over a solid drum beat. These layers remain separate until they regroup in the chorus, then raise the energy levels and intensify the layers until they build to a climax, then they explode everywhere, like mentos and coke. For the layering, try Triple J hit ‘My Number’ and to feel the dynamic peak try ‘Milk and Black Spiders’- both tunes off their most recent album “Holy Fire”.

They appeased the crowd by performing some of their signature songs from all their CDs, setting the mood with “Total Life Forever” and “Blue Blood”. By “Spanish Sahara” (one of their more sombre songs which I highly recommend by the way,) the audience, bathed in blue lighting, was totally at the mercy of Foals and their command of the stage. In crazy upbeat tunes like “Inhaler” and “Providence”, the uninhibited mosh pit felt no need to restrain themselves. I sat up in the balcony, acknowledging that this was as close as I was going to get with the band, until the last song, “Two Steps Twice”, where lead Yannis Philippakis snuck off the stage, up the stairs, around the balcony and leapt off into the mosh… that was totally unexpected!

Foals performed one of the best live shows I have ever seen and that’s not just because of their unruly antics. Their set list was definitive, but they changed up the timing and tempo in their vocals, they pandered to the audience with their between-song guitar-drum collaboration and with great production techniques, lighting and all, the audience became part of a collective transcendental moment. Both Alpine and Foals are fantastic bands, but live, they lift the roof.

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB

Two Door Cinema Club

Following the release of their new album, Beacon, Two Door Cinema club has embarked on a world tour. Since the Irish band’s inception in 2007, they’ve toured as a support act for a number of bands that classify as Indie-rock and synthpop, and have featured at many festivals throughout the USA. Finally, Australia welcomes the band with sold-out performances along the east coast. Two Door Cinema Club has featured in the soundtracks to two major films- Chalet Girl and Soul Surfer, however, their music has been more successful in advertising, video games and the like, managing to hit Triple J’s Hottest 100 list in 2010.

The Irish-born band features Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird, with Ben Thompson touring on the drums. Their music has been likened with Foals and has released successful covers of bands such as Mumford and Sons, and Phoenix. Songs like Undercover Martyn and Something Good Can Work mark their signature sound from their debut album, Tourist History, while their new album promotes a different pace, tempo and dynamic, with songs such as Pyramid and Sun. This year, Two Door tours with The Jungle Giants and The Vaccines, with both bands having glowing reputations and prosperous careers in their own rights.

The concert at Hordern Pavillion proved that Hordern was the perfect venue for such a gathering, with exciting strobe lights and lazers cutting through smoke and giant balloons. Without wasting time, Two Door hyped the audience with sporadic banter and stories as segues to their chosen songs. Although the doors opened at 7:30pm and the main act came on at 10pm, the crowd was appeased by The Jungle Giants and The Vaccines holding our attentions with measured intervals. When Two Door finally came on, the crowd, regardless of experience with this band, came alive and with the performance theatrics, the whole event became a major dance party. Their sound is mostly identified by their fast-paced guitar and upbeat tempo. As a band, each song has a similar formula, but their dynamics are different, holding the listener with well-placed guitar riffs and well-timed pauses. Their sound is infectious and the future for this band could not be brighter.

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Image Source: http://www.itsallindie.com/2012/09/two-door-cinema-club-cover-metallica-in.html