Firstly, apologies for the quietness on the Blog front of late - partly general busyness but also partly due to Short Cuts' wedding plans in the New Year!
But... I've been listening to a record that I just have to share. Soulsaver's latest, called Broken. It features the talents of Will Oldham, Mike Patton and Jason Pierce but, crucially, the record absolutely belongs to Mark Lanegan who reigns over 10 of the tracks on the album. Even though Soulsavers have produced some down-tempo electronica in the past, this record is soulful with some Neil Youngish guitar breaks.
And it includes a brilliant cover of Some Misunderstanding from Gene Clark's classic No Other, one of the greatest albums of all time.
Listen, wallow and enjoy.
From here on in, Short Cuts is going to change tack a little... as well as bringing you the good stuff that bubbles up here in Oz (I see that NME gave Empire of the Sun 8/10 earlier this month... see this earlier blog), I'll be providing a First View on some of the premier releases of the year.
And what better place to start than U2's new release, No Line on the Horizon.
What a week. Short Cuts managed to score tickets to the Sydney Entertainment Centre to see these living legends within 5 days of each other, supported by US reverb-rockers My Morning Jacket (Neil) and Australian singer-songwriter, Paul Kelly (Leonard). The proximity of both events to each other presents an opportunity to compare the late career trajectories of these extraordinary men - probably a flawed premise, I accept!
The last festival Short Cuts attended was so long ago that I'm not even sure what it was! I suspect it might have been Feile, 1995, when the sadly missed Irish festival moved to Cork City. My abiding memory of the event was feeling sorry for Kylie Minogue (who was mid transition from teenie bopper to dance icon and performing her first open-air festival). Her microphone didn't work for her first few tunes, but she battled on, manfully ignoring the crowd's cry of "Show us your arse!"...
Prompted by French Letter, here are some of Short Cuts' favourite "newly discovered" Aussie bands.
Firstly, apologies for the fact that the blog has been rather inactive of late. Many reasons, of course, but that will change!
This is a quick one. Regular readers will be well aware of Short Cuts love of bluegrass (as evidenced by my choice of the best record I bought in 2007 - link here).
From producing Loretta Lynn to swapping riffs with Keith Richards, Jack White as always worn his influences on his sleeve. Well add bluegrass to the list!
Just watch this wonderful clip...
Can MGMT be influential? Already?!
This is by Empire of the Sun who are a collaboration between Sleepy Jackson (who made the rather wonderful Lovers) and PNAU (read more about them in a previous blog here).
An album is due soon and if it's as good as this lead-off single, we are in for a treat! Also reminiscent of Phoenix, I think?
All of us have people who teach us about music. Mat was one of those people for me and, upon the shocking news of his untimely death on Sunday morning, I present to you all some of the music that he led me to.
Pivot, an experimental post-rock instrumental 3-piece, have been selected by Sigur Ros to support their latest tour (see the CLUAS review of Sigur Ros' latest album here).
Forget the cliched image of Australian pub rock. There is a burgeoning (and actually quite enjoyable) electro-pop scene. Here's some of the best tunes I've heard recently.
The Presets are a rather avantgarde Sydney duo who make music that meshes the Pet Shop Boys with Nine Inch Nails (if the mood takes them). This video for their Girl And The Sea tune is fabulous - unfortunately I can't embed it but I urge you to check it out here. Their new record, Apocalpso, got this rather rave review in the Guardian today.
Pnau have been on the scene in Oz for 10 years or so and have consistently produced some compelling electronic music. Their debut, Sambanova, won an ARIA (Australia's top music gong) in the late 90s but this poppy little number (which was used as the soundtrack to a milk ad!) caught my ear.
Cut Copy have had a number one album in Australia this year with In Ghost Colours (and look like replicating some of that success across the world). It's called More of a straight-forward dance sound and they borrow more than a little from New Order. Still... not a bad influence.
2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.