Ex-Girls’ Christopher Owens Debut Solo Material


Girls forever.
Christopher Owens Solo Album ‘Lysandre’ out January.

Full write-up on my excitement later


Harvest Timetable

This is beyond narcissistic, irrelevant and self-indulgent, but here is the Harvest Timetable and my schedule for the day.

You know it’s a quality festival when you’re even hard-pressed to decide which first band you’re gonna see. I’m split between Winter People and River City Extension, both serving up generous, hearty folk. If that ain’t your thing, Tigertown do popsicle-indie-stuff? Thank goodness they sound better than their horrendous album artwork.

Next up is The War on Drugs, but if i’m quick, Los Campesinos! will be bringing down the manic on the main stage and i’ll catch the end of that.

The Dandy Warhols is a must followed by Silversun Pickups, not much competition there.

This is where it gets messy.
The Black Angels were one of the biggest draw-cards, and you can’t miss them. But depending on how hypnotised i am,  i might duck away 1 song earlier to see if Cake close with Short Skirt/Long Jacket, surely they will right? Don’t lecture me about being one of ‘those guys’. AND THEN, run to Beirut.

I think my friends will wanna see Ben Folds Five, but Chromatics might tempt me to stop at the Big Red Tractor Stage along the way. Then it’s the abominable, but inevitable, clash of Beck – Grizzly Bear – F**k Buttons. Priorities guys, All of Beck, end of Griz, FB next time.

As much as i love Santigold, Sigur Ros will round out Harvest 2012 for me.

Disagree with any decisions? Let me know and comment below!



list for life: 2012 (so far) in tracks. 1/3

“Lists are essential to cognitive development and without them the world as we know it would cease to exist” Kony, 2012

Imma be a bit lazy and bombard you with a few words, but mostly bulk listening enjoyment. I haven’t been consistent in my blogging so here’s some catch up tracks. For some of you these tracks have come and gone, been thrown on playlists, flogged mercilessly, treasured, coveted and adorned. While for others they may be as foreign and strange to you as those pesky refugees that keep on tryna jump the bloody queue bloody carbon tax Ju-liar Gillard’s the reason we lost the olympix it AINT right

JKS ily refugees. and i also ily Royal Headache who also ily refugees, I guess, that’s what i got from tracks like Girls

They’re one of my favourite Aussie bands at the moment, and I know I’m late to the party but their self-titled debut last year deserved every accolade, every ounce of recognition, every pinch of praise. Begs the question- why haven’t JJJ got on board?

This wasn’t the Clams Casino song I wanted to share, but it’s still pretty #swag, the kids still say swag right? The one I had in mind was really strange and kept on going quiet and then music and then quiet. It was more rap, and it was filmed in like a neighbourhood with bruvvas on bicycles. Any ideas what I’m talking about, hit me up in the comments.

It’s safe to assume that few bands/tracks I share with ya’ll I found by myself. MOST were shared to me by peeps with so much coolness and cred, I’ve grafted it off them without them even noticing. Anyway, to save time, I’ll rarely name who shared what with me- you know who you are, sleep well. Cass McCombs is a perpetually forever-giving gift that I wish i knew sooner.

Yes, yes, yes. Lots of posting of Major Lazer’s Get Free, but I wouldn’t be a blog operating in 2012 if I didn’t as well. The prevalence is testament to its quality, like flo-rida. But in all seriousness, first 3 listens, didn’t get it. Next 3, was getting it, was curious, I was still coming back. Next 20, it was paralysing. I repeated the turd out of it. Julian said it was the best song since Paper Planes, but Julian is always saying radical stuff like that. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY INCREDIBLE SONGS HAVE BEEN RELEASED SINCE PAPER PLANES JULIAN?!?! Man I miss that guy.

I’d stopped at 212. MISTAKE.

House by Kindness will probably be in my top 10 tracks of the year. It’s a simple pop baby, but the lethality of its hooks shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a shame the rest of the album wasn’t this effervescent/smooth/interesting, but maybe that’s what he intended? If you watch the video he talks about Pop music where only 5% of the album is good? Also, there’s big chunks of things he says in this video that I don’t think I agree with, but it’s creative and different none the less.

It’s the astonishing 48-second rap streak that causes your eyes to roll back into your head. How can someone’s mouth wrap itself around so many words in such little time?!?

Blasko’s at it again. It’s a really great compromise track where everyone wins. For the already-fans, you’ve got her beautiful voice to hang onto. For the undecided, I’m Awake enters new, exciting territory with rolling drums, a hypnotic-build and string-crescendos. And just classiness hey.

Kishi Bashi is fun to say and fun to listen to and fun to have fun to. Could be a temporal-fun-fest but he does well to combine a lot of experimentation with Beatlesish pop and keep it catchy and coherent. You feel like you’re constantly being force-fed instruments and sounds, but you don’t get bloated. It’s like sushi. Kishi Bashi Sushi.

Dayyyum. I can’t listen to it loud enough, guess I’ll have to go see him next week.

Gospel Gigs

Thinner wallets ahoy!
Disclaimer: If you’re saving your doll hairs, then feel free to read this post because no live show in their right mind would accept doll hair as a valid currency. But if you’re saving your dollars, then don’t torture yourself, unless you’re into that, OR unless you’re saving your dollars FOR CONCERTS!

We’ve well and truly entered that season of lineup announcement hysteria. Every email from frontier touring company, every festival post, every tweet clogging up my feed is punctuated by fan-girl screams and menacing laughs of debt collectors. So spend wisely and come to one of these wiv meeeee

Tofu-totin’ Smiths frontman, MORRISSEY, is coming! He’s doing an East Coast tour (take that Perth, ya jerks!) and Sydney has lucked out with 2 shows- one at Enmore, one at the Opera House. Recent reviews indicate that he’s still got IT and refuses to give IT back.
And with no new songs, this isn’t one of those shows where a haggard, creatively-zombified star-of-yester forces their recent ‘hits’ down your ear-stomach. The guy is 53 and still has a croon that could probably beat you at singstar AND would potentially get a Mark Holden touchdown. He’s also apparently retiring at 55, so it could be your last chance to see him.

Morrissey, Enmore Theatre 21st December, Sydney Opera House 22nd December, Price: Not sure, does it matter?
Presale tickets on the 24th September hereUPDATE: i wrote this a while back and it’s sold out, making this article pointless and potentially fuel for anger and vitriol (yew BlUeJuIcE!!).

Roy Orbison reincarnate, Alex Zhang Hungtai, aka, Dirty Beaches, is coming out for his debut Australian tour in February. He’ll bring his post-rockabilly hybrid creation reminiscent of Elvis with flecks of Joy Division to the FBi Social. Tickets here.

One half of The Go-Betweens, Robert Forster is playing at The Vanguard on November 9th and 10th. The brief says “For this very special show, his first after taking a year off from performance, Robert will be appearing solo and he shall be presenting a sparkling cross section of his catalogue – old, recent, borrowed, and new, to mark this occasion.” It’s off the back of a Go-Betweens Best Of, i can almost smell the Spring Rain. Tickets here.

RIP Grant McLennan

Remember my spruiking of Bored Nothing? Well he/they have been doing some shows, i missed the last one up here and i’m determined to not make the same mistake twice. He’s playing at the relaunch of Purple Sneakers’ new Sydney night ‘Discovery’ which Step-Panther are headlining. Not bad at all for $12. More info here

Live Review: Seekae, The Basement

Opening act Thomas Williams was only observed through a brief, disgruntled mindset, so take this into account when I say it seemed to be a combo of uninspiring laptop-jockey experimentation and hobbyist fiddling. To be fair, I only popped in to check set times and I was angry-hungry.

Kangaroo Skull injected some powerful vigour into the evening, shaking out their meditative house music to a receptive crowd. One of the guys looked like Warren Ellis, in other words he was hairy, cool and terrifying. Mr. Grizzly Wilderness was quite intimidating hunched over in the shadows, a possessed focus on his dials and buttons. It was frighteningly easy to zone out and meld into the mechanical head-bob of the crowd. I was super bummed I had a backpack cause there was a fun lil’ d-floor growing throughout the set, it was calling me, nay, begging me to cut loose on it. Serves me right for being a back-pack-at-gig-loser :(

It’s bittersweet to see that Seekae aren’t big enough yet to have someone else set up their equipment; good regarding the intimacy, bad because they deserve bigger, better, world-conquering heights. Besides this, The Basement suits their muggy, blissed-out groans perfectly.

Opening with a new song, it’s a slow, off-kilter number with equally delicate vocals. 2 more new songs were introduced over the night, each one sounding fuller and more realised than the one proceeding it, and all containing vocals marking a drift away from their purely instrumental territory.

The mega-trifecta-block that is Blood Bank, Reset Head and Mingus fills the bulk of my nights memory space. Probably their most accessible track, Blood Bank gets anticipatory woos from the first recognizable bleeps and bloops. A simmering crowd is taken off the heat for Reset Head, but undergoes a different process that doesn’t work for this analogy. Is there a cooking method where you turn all the lights off and kind of schmooze the food with eerie synth pangs and punchy fragility? Mingus is the formidable, not-so-secret weapon of unearthly ambient power.

“Probably the first song we ever wrote”, Void, gets the biggest cheer and dance of the night, the sold-out crowd greedily lapping up it’s frantic beat and masterful melody. It’s a musical superfood, the spirulina of the set.

I’ll be honest; performance wise, this Live Review makes me feel like I’m doing a compilation review. This isn’t to say they’re dull or unentertaining, it’s just there isn’t much else to talk about other than what songs they played and how they sounded. Well, they played all the songs that you would want to hear, they sounded sick, we really enjoyed them, and we went home. Great.

There’s something disarming about their show that makes a reviewer want to just stop typing and shove songs down the reader’s gullet. In saying that, the alterations, the encompassing sound and the communal experience, can’t be delivered by me, feeding you mp3s like a mother bird. Rather, I’ll just have to implore you to check out one of Australia’s most exciting talents.


I’m aware that i use more ellipses than E.L. James (i haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, i’m just aware of it’s ellipses notoriety. These brackets were necessary, deal with it). It’s something i will work on.

Also, readers, i love interaction. Here at Tough Hugs Central, i’m feeling the communicative back-pat, but i want a sweaty, uncomfortable embrace, comments wise. Ask questions, agree with me, disagree with me, tell me what was great, tell me what was awful, but then tell me something that was great again, i’m only human. compliment/improvement sandwiches.

Also, if you’ve got an album you want to see reviewed, comment below and let me know.

Also, have some Cass. On the house

List for Life: January

Like Christopher Owens, ima big fan of listin’ for life. Also like Christopher Owens, all i want is a suntan, a pizza and a bottle of wine. Also also like Christopher Owens, i’m a big fan of Mr. Pop, who is ALSO a fan of listin’ for life. Life is about cycles my friend.
One of those cycles is the Gregorian calender: introducing January.
Due to an unforeseeable bout of ‘getting-a-ping-pong-table-for-Christmas’, i didn’t post much in the January, so here is a list to make up for it.


5.  Whitest Boy Alive were on Take 5 with Zan Rowe, sharing bands from their hometown of Bergen, Norway. 2 stood out and i sneakily put them into my phone, WHILE DRIVING. EFF DA POLICE! but don’t really, unless you’re married to a police officer, then go for it.

Young Dreams give off a Cloud Control/Local Natives vibe, but with a dollop of poppy-synth. It’s catchy, the kind of effervescent music that brooding-respectable music critics pick apart and whinge about. But they don’t know squat! Or they know too much squat, more squat than us, in fact, maybe we’re squat-oblivious and that’s why we can enjoy this music instead of cutting ourselves to The Mary-Jesus Lizard Chain Experience (mashup idea. btw, i do really like JMAC, but i’m not crazy about TJL, they may grow on me, horrible album artworks though).

The video for Young Dreams’ song Young Dreams is about young dreams i guess. A bit too cutesy, instagrammy, but the bart mask and wiz-fiz hooks redeem it. Love it now, like it later, it’s one of those kinda faders, like a sugar high that the music is an embodiment of (now who’s the downer music critic! I’m getting the hang of it, i just have to get my snarl right).

Razika are a punchy little all-female group and if there song Vondt i hjertet translates to daytime-car-sex than the director wasn’t mucking about.

Plain and simple, i love this song. These saucy Scan-pans get it so very right, from the plucky guitars to the bah-da-da-da-da’s

4. I probably would’ve blogged about the hottest 100, done 50 top-tens about everything, but instead i’ll just post my favourite song from last year off my favourite album of last year, remember 2011?

3. Instead of breaking your dancing shoes in at Manning Bar, Metronomy insisted they we dance so hard the shoes were all like “i can’t take this shit” and just bailed hey.

Here’s my review i wrote for FasterLouder.

2. Royal Headache kept on popping up in all these Australian best-of lists with there self-titled (debut?) release, prompting a listen. Instantly rewarded, now one of my favourite Australian bands going around at the moment. If you’re going to The Black Keys concerts, make sure you get there early for these guys.

1. Dan Deacon at Sydney Festival. Just, wow.
It’s hard to write a review 8 months after the show, but from memory Dan (first name basis) turned a stiff, stern crowd into a raucous celebration machine. I’m convinced the man actually invented the idea and practice of fun, partying and happiness. He just shovels joy the whole set with his unknowingly manageable-yet-bombastic/psychotic music.
List of likely events to take place at a DD gig
-group interpretive dance circles
-whole-crowd-involvement people tunnel/ conga line thing
-full venue sprinting bodies with surprisingly few collisions
-euphoric, next level sweat
-strangers-turned-best-friends-turned back to strangers when music stops
He just sets fun and interaction at a whole new standard. And he’s really funny and conversational and i just wanna be friends with him.
Hanging out for his new album out sooooon