Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lights, Wedding Proposals and Violins

An interesting comment was made by a mate when I mentioned I went to the Something For Kate gig last Friday at the Forum: "It's not like they have music that rocks out" - Cues a gentle strumming of an imaginary guitar. It may be a pre-conceived idea of how their music is, which is a shame. To an extent they're pretty low key, with a bunch of albums and a solid fan base they've been able to become one of best Aussie bands going around.

I haven't frequented too many bands this year, but this one rates as my favourite for the year so far. A lot of this has to do with the venue and the atmosphere. We weren't the hardcore fans at the front, probably just closer than halfway down, but the Forum has excellent sound, an appreciative rockin' crowd and that all adds to the experience. The set comprised of a mix of old favourites with a significant cut from the current album. Taking a step back it is quite astonishing how many hits they've had over the years and they never tend to get old.

The setting had a slightly surprising wall of coloured lights behind the band which flickered throughout; A good addition to the atmosphere. The favourite for the night would have to be Deja Vu. It was fantastic hearing this one, with the excellent transition from the accompanying guitarist (sorry I don't know his name - not Paul or Stephanie...) switching to violin mid-song and sleamlessly hitting the last third of the song; giving me tingles down the spine. Clint never seems to leave anything out there when he performs, and this night was no exception. The amount of energy that guy pumps into his drums is amazing.

While I'd seen them earlier in the year, it was before they'd released they latest album, so it was great to hear new songs I'd been listening to, performed live and appreciating them. California, Cigarettes and Suitcases, Oh Kamikze, Transparanoia, A Fools History Pt. 1 and Statues are the ones I can remember from the gig with the highlight from the latest being Statues for me.

The earlier show this year had Paul's birthday cake. This night had a guy propose to his shocked girlfriend on stage, and the band playing a song in response to an email where a woman promised to marry their partner if it was played on the night. (I think she's commented on the SFK myspace page that she's completed her end of the deal.)

In the end it was great set, some fantastic 'sing-a-longs', and an excellent, loved Aussie band performing to an appreciative crowd. The band does everything it can to get its music out there; 7 odd cds and 1 dvd to pick up. All of which is great for fans always wanting more. Can't wait to see them again...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Only 3 weeks, 6 days etc etc

After seeing Sarah Blasko at the Prince of Wales it really enhanced my love of her music. Her interpretation of Flame Trees just shows how fantastic music can be. The original rocking rendition by Cold Chisel and an equally brilliant cover which is even better live (from the soundtrack to Little Fish)... Apparently her new album is only a few weeks away according to a fan site, and alas I've been sucked in to get a 'limited' edition signed copy. $25 that I'm sure I'm not going to regret. Isn't amazing how myspace has taken off and launched careers and she's posted her video which can be seen here (Explain).

It's an interesting clip and is a great song.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Something For Kate

Their name apparently was derived from something read on a napkin in a hotel that stuck. Or so I remember when the question was asked recently in a JB Hi-Fi instore earlier this year. I'm happy to say that I own and enjoy their albums since Beautiful Sharks. Desert Lights is their latest album since The Official Fiction (2003), which was what got me into SFK and consequently prompted me to purchase most of their previous albums also. There was a filler of B-sides and live performances released in 2004 which contained a favourite live cover performance of Ashes to Ashes.

Desert Lights is an interesting album. Listening to an interview on Triple J, apparently Paul Dempsey had writer's block when the band was in the US recording the new album in what was a fascinating insight on how songs are created and the effort it takes. In the interview they were awaiting on certain parts of songs for months and in some cases just a couple of words. Seeing them live for the first time earlier this year, I probably didn't appreciate the performance as much as I would now. They played a few songs from this album, and I really find it hard to get into a live song without previously knowing it. The gig was fantastic none the less with the highlight being the cover of 'Born to Run'. Fortunately I have tickets to a show coming up on the 22nd of September which I'm highly anticipating; Not only hearing songs I'm now familiar, but to get another chance to see the band live.

The favourite song is the current single Oh Kamikaze which I'm happy to say that I've got a video from a live performance; A fantastic opening guitar with some great bass . Overall the album is a little 'rockier' than the last and it contains some really good slower songs (This is the Life for Me, Impossible), some songs moving into surprising vocal heights (Statues, A Fool's History) and just great rock type ones (Transparanoia, California).

The apparent pain the band had in making this album in my mind has paid off and is a really satisfying listening experience. Fans I guess have confirmed this with the album debuting at number one on the ARIA chart. The current 'special edition' of the album has some live recordings of songs, with a personal favourite of Hawaiian Robots (Gotta love the guitars, especially the bass at the start). If only Stephanie Ashworth wasn't with Paul I'd have a shot. Yeah right in your dreams... Can't wait until the 22nd and should I double up on the 23rd at the Hi-Fi Bar???

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fort Minor

I'm not a musical historian at all, and if you were to ask me all the members of my favourite band I'd struggle. I'm not fussed if bands chop and change members as long as the underlying music isn't butchered. But it is interesting seeing individuals decide to branch off on solo careers or side projects to help develop skills or take music to places where they otherwise couldn't. Fort Minor is the pet project of Mike Shinoda who hails from Linkin Park and it is an interesting turn from the 2 studio LP albums produced. I'll just get something straight. I don't like 90% of the rap/hiphop that's out there. Singing about how many 'ho's you get or the 'grillz' on your teeth are only surpassed by the accomanying video clip for the cringe factor.

The first thing that stands out on this album are the lyrics. There are some fantastic stories brought together with catchy loops and beats that really add to the feel of some of the songs.

Right Now
...Right now someone wishes they were you and I
Instead of second-guessing fatal thoughts of quiet suicide
But right now I'm staring out the window at a fiend
With holes in his arm and / holes in his jeans

...Yeah / right now somebody's sittin' in the darkness
Tryin' to figure how to put some heat in they apartment but
They got a little mattress / Little carpet
And they appreciate it 'cause some people on
a park bench

...Right now / it's somebody who ain't eat all week
That would kill / for the shit you through away in the street

A bit far removed from Grillz by Nelly:

...Rob the jewelry store and tell 'em make me a grill.
Dirrty, R&B.

...Piece simply symbolize success
I got da wrist wear and neck wear dats captivatin
But it's my smile dats got these on-lookers spectatin
My mouth piece simply certified a total package
Open up my mouth and you see mo carrots than a salad
My teeth are mind blowin givin everybody chillz
Call me George Foreman cuz I'm sellin everybody grillz

Ok, those lyrics are pretty funny and the song is a novalty but come on...

Probably the best song on the album is Kenji and I read somewhere when Mike played this song to some of his family members they wept after hearing it. With spoken words from an eldery woman and man during the song, it tells of some stories of Japanese Americans during WWII after Pearl Habour. Before, during and after being locked up in internment camps is covered and it portrays a pretty vivid picture of just some of the issues that these people faced just for being a certain nationality. The lyrics within the CD are printed on a background picture of Japanese Americans presumably from the time; providing an insight to the detail and thought given particularly to this song.

Other highlights from the album:
Cigarettes - Comparison between the rap industry and cigarettes
High Road - Story about making the album. Great use of a few piano cords throughout
Where'd You Go - About relationships and being apart

All in all its an excellent album that I'm happy to have added without hearing anything prior to the purchase. In this case I followed the artist because I knew of past projects. I believe Mike was across all parts of the album and it shows attention to detail in all aspects of the sound and polished final product. There are some fantastic examples of good rap -in my opinion- which is a fresh change from what's on the top 40 charts bringing up a generation of kids to, in short disrespect the opposite sex.