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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amazing Dong Video

Amazing looking video of our song Infin (Live at Ding Dong) shot by Matthew Ellery. We on TV!

Next gig: Saturday 4th at The Tote with The Toot Toot Toots, Digger and the Pussycats, Mother and Son and Jack on Fire.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

YIS Recommends: Dan Kelly's Dream

There was a time in my life that I probably listened to no Australia music, because, well, a lot of Australian music is utter crap (not that other countries don't produce crap music, it either just doesn't make it out of the country or ends up of MMM where nobody listens to it anyway). The few instances that I did listen to Australian music, it was always the type of music that didn't sound particularly Australian (I think my first favourite Australian band after my Skyhooks obsession at age 4 was probably Rocket Science). To my teenage ears, the problem was that most Australian recordings sounded pretty awful (the same way that Australian films tend look dull and have this absence of vibrance in the colours of the picture that's just uninspiring), and bands from overseas just sounded better and more interesting. There was one instance on my first day of Year 7 in a new school where I was asked if I listened to Triple J (I had never heard of it) to which I replied that I listened to "gangsta rap like N.W.A." (for which I was ridiculed until they all got into rap in Year 10, after which it reverted back just to fat jokes). I turned on JJJ one night for a half hour, ended up buying Regurgitator's Unit and chucked out the rest.

Anyway, as you would have realised from the last post, there are more and more Australian bands that I'm growing to love; The Drones being one of the more recent bands that can stand tall against the bombast of the best internationals while sounding distinctly Australian, as well as Eddy Current being one of the best things ever who never even think about apologising about where they're from or who they are. And, yeah, the new Dan Kelly album.

I wasn't really a massive fan of Dan up until this point; a few live performances with the Alpha Males and an enjoyable yet largely uninspiring slot with The Ukelaides at Meredith didn't really make me want to rush out and grab anything (and in addition, the "Drowning In The Fountain Of Youth" came out when I was toiling away in a Country Road stockroom, and it's twee-as-fuck bubbliness in contrast to my no-natural-light box of pain made me want to murder, but anyway...). After seeing a pretty great set with The Dream Band at the "last ever" Tote show started to change my mind ever so slightly (despite the fact that Dan allegedly drooled on Bronwyn), and then I found a copy of Dan Kelly's Dream on the coffee table on Saturday morning.

Why this album is not shit:

It sounds amazing. As in, it doesn't sound like shit that was made in a day on a shoestring budget. The mix is great. The instrumentation is really lush and bold. Whoever mastered it did a great job. The instruments all sit in the right spot, or pop out at the right moment. It's not a boring listen.

It's inviting. The lyrics can sound a bit obtuse or sometimes self-aware, but it in contrast to something like, say, Beach House (which tends to evoke similar warm, often aquatic feelings), it feels a lot more welcoming and personable and just plain fun. It's cool, but it doesn't feel too exclusive.

It flows. The song order is spot on, and it flows in a way that works so well; yes, it's very, er, dreamlike in the way that it runs, with a lot of the songs segueing into each one another. Often this can lead to skippable filler or drone that, well, drones on for too long, and often means that some songs feel incomplete outside the context of the album due to an abrupt start and end. Not here.

The songs are great. The songs are great.

And there's more reasons, but you'll figure that out when you hear the album. I'm really enjoying it, and it's been one of the few experiences (along with the first time I watched Office Space) where I felt like putting it straight back after the first time round and actually did.

Kudos, Dan Kelly.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Year On

Sitting in bed on a Sunday morning (which is drifting into Sunday afternoon), listening to the new Dan Kelly album that Andre left on the coffee table and waiting around for Eels to play in around 10 hours or so. It's been roughly a year since we started the band, and it's weird to look around now and see posters that say we're playing at East Brunswick Club or The Tote and think that whatever stupid name we settled on all that time ago would be whatever would be on those posters. Or maybe they wouldn't. Or that it'd be what schoolkids shout out at me across the yard during my two weekly yard duties at school (although they seem to be obsessed with The Screaming Pigeons for some strange reason). The event was marked with a couple of gigs over the last week at Weekender at Ding Dong and a last minute job at Yah Yahs, and thanks to everyone who made the effort to come out and see us. Sometimes twice!

So, as I've mentioned, in about a month's time, we will will be laying down what we anticipate will be our debut album. I thought I had a pretty good handle on what it's actually going to be about a week ago when I burst into Andre's room with a piece of lined paper with ridiculous tracklists and album titles and how was going on and on about how awesome it was going to be, but after reassessing the situation I realise that I still have NO CLUE AT ALL. So, we'll just have to wait and see. I really don't want to do an EP; don't get me wrong, I have many, many favourite EPs but I have a big problem when I read bands talk about how they're putting out an EP to "raise their profile" or have it lead up to make this big grand statement that may never happen. But then again, we only have a few days of recording and too many ideas (or not enough ideas), and it'll end up being an EP. Or maybe a double album. I don't know. It's probably not going to be called "Qi" or "Hound's Brunch" or "Progress". This morning it sounds like it might be called "The Story of YIS".

By the way, this Dan Kelly album is pretty great. There's actually some pretty amazing Australian music that's being made lately; the last Love of Diagrams album was pretty great, and I'm still in love with the Mum Smokes double album that they put out a couple of years ago. It's amazing, and I don't say that a lot. It's a shame that sometimes the best bands can't stay together and will go off and do other things for whatever reason. Stay together for the kids, Mum Smokes.

Which brings me to something else that's pretty awesome about playing in this band; starting to play all the places that I've seen some of my favourite bands. Even though Fall Tribute Night at The Workers Club (formerly the Rob Roy) ended in a massive row, it was still pretty awesome to play there after going to see some of my first gigs as an eighteen year old there; seeing Love of Diagrams every couple of weeks (sometimes with a three-piece Mum Smokes). And, yes, we get to play East Brunswick Club next weekend, which is pretty awesome. Although I haven't seen as many amazing gigs amazing shows there as The Corner, I remember seeing Low play an amazing set there a few years back, so, it'll be pretty good to play there. We also get to play at The Toots' album launch in a couple of weeks and getting to play the main bandroom at The Tote (after playing the Front Bar and upstairs at Cobra before it shut) on a Saturday night. It's these small things that make me pretty happy.

So, I'm looking forward to at least a few more years of these kinds of cool things. Every time I feel my phone buzz in my pocket and see it's a new email on the YIS account, I hold my breath to see if it's another great gig offer (still holding out for Meredith or Golden Plains and then I can probably die happy) or somebody saying that they dug our band and want a CD (which sometimes happens!), but usually it's just something about staying harder for longer. Ah well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wet and Anxious

Good weekend, overall. YIS played a pretty decent show on Friday night for Trevor Block's Last Tram Home. I kinda forgot how hard it is to open up a show. I think we've been spoiled in this band with all the cushy middle spots on weekends. Anyway, it wasn't a horrible show for us by any means, just a combination of still getting my voice back up to scratch after losing it last week and a late start due to some missing backline (along with Andre being totally in awe of the vintage Ludwig he borrowed from Myles from Wrong Turn) meant that we had the shakes a little bit, but it was fine. The highlight was probably the destruction of Sasha's vuvuzela. Sorry Sasha.

Last night was pretty awesome though. Despite some horrible technical problems (mostly with Matt's JCM800 dying then working then dying again), The Screaming Pigeons played to our most enthusiastic crowd ever (save for maybe Callum's backyard 18th party three years ago) and it was a lot of fun when we settled down after thinking that we might not be able to play the show. We played all the "hits" and a few choice MC5 and Black Flag covers. Sleepy Bear Parade played for an hour and were pretty awesome. Al (who usually plays guitar in The Thod) was a monster behind the drums, and it was good seeing Andre up and singing. (I need to make sure he has a microphone for the next YIS show and not because his taunts directed at me need amplification). So, yes, last show ever, and we made it count.

Sitting around at home today listening to a few CDs that I got off the Mistletone sale for cheap and freaking out a little bit about recording the album. Not sure what it's going to be. I think it'll be good to get it out of the way so I'm not freaking out about what the first release is going to sound like. I suppose we could do an EP, but I feel like that'd be a bit of a cop-out. After all, this might be the only album that I ever get to record properly, so I really don't want to look back and regret it. I'm just not sure where it's going to go... whether it's going to be a kitchen sink approach with everything that we want to do on it with all the electronic stuff and the ridiculous shit (which could end up sounding like filler or be the most interesting stuff on there), or just to make it a good psych-rock record... I guess we'll have to wait and see on that one. Bah, freaking out.