Saturday, March 27, 2010


I have something of a track record for calling the brothers of talented women 'wankers' and i see no reason to stop that today. Martha Wainwright, as much as i love your quite splendidly titled album "I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too" i do still think your brother is a massive wanker.

But we're not here to call Rufus Wainwright a wanker, even if he is, and he is. We're here to listen to his ever so good little sister.

Martha Wainwright started out as a backing singer for her brother - don't we all - it wasn't until 2005 that she released her self titled debut album, from which we all heard and grew bored quickly with "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole".

Then in 2008 she released "I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too". Not only is it brilliantly titled, it's also a really good album. Really, really good. Much more grown up than her debut, the opening two tracks "Bleeding All Over You" (its chorus providing the album title) and "You Cheated Me" are fabulous growers that get better and better with each listen without getting boring. It's an album that flirts with country and folk, sitting comfortably in that genre spanning acoustic sound, all the time holding its own as heartfelt open record, fresh and new and never laboured. Martha's voice, a fantastic, husky harmonic thing is a thing to behold, able to at times lead the song and sometimes snuggle right on in there and go along fro the ride. I read one review that described it as a record that's both tender and tough, beautiful and brutal. I agree.

In a nutshell, it's a really enjoyable almost faultless album. THAT my friends is a rare thing indeed.

And for me the gem of the whole album is tucked away at the back, but is a beautiful introduction to what Martha Wainwright has become. When the Eurythmics Dave Stewart wrote "Love is a Stranger" he crafted the perfect 80's song, something that would define a decade but also something so well constructed in lyric and melody that it would sound just as fresh 30 years on. Wainwright shows her class by not even bothering to try and deconstruct it, she just tilts it on it's side - turns a square to a diamond as it were - and a synthpop classic becomes an indie folk road-trip foot tapper, it's a bright shiny thing that's been made new again.

Sadly there's no video as such, orphan child of a track that it is but you can still listen. And you should.

If you do want moving pictures then watch this video/interview of "Bleeding all Over You" it shows what an amazing voice she has.

Rufus, you might still be a wanker, but your sister's great.


Friday, March 26, 2010

String theory.

You know, there's a place for string quartets and grand pianos, obviously Elton Johns bathroom, a Guns'n'Roses video or one of those posh gala events i never get invited to spring to mind, either way, there's one place they don't belong and it's in Birds of Tokyo's songs.

This week i've been mostly listening to "Broken Strings", the Perth bands bands filler live album while we await this years new studio album, and well, i don't love it. As a fan i was compelled to buy it, but for the most part, and more importantly to me - on my favourite songs - it's a fail.

Let's be honest here, Birds of Tokyo don't write the best lyrics in the world, but what they lack in lyrical depth they more than make up for in the strength of Ian Kenny's vocals and the structure of the songs themselves. Layers of guitar and drums is nothing new in rock, but Birds of Tokyo deliver them with a raw energy and passion that take those oh so simple lyrics and make them into something memorable.

Live, Birds of Toyko are one of the loudest scariest bands i've ever seen - and i've seen Ministry - so i can see why in a perverse sort of way why they would want to experiment with the whole orchestrated thing, but personally, i found the re-arrangement of a lot of songs took away much and gave back very little. It's interesting from a musical study point of view i guess, but it won't convince anyone new that they are a great band.

Lets take "Broken Bones", in it's unmolested, original guise. It's like a caged animal, full of energy and menace, waiting to get out and fuck some shit up. It's a brooding thing that once released it grows and grows, Kenny's vocals swoop and dive and give the song an urgency that it's been robbed of on the live album. And that's a shame.

So lets hear it as it was first intended, in full flight, loud and proud. From 2008's Universes, the bands second album, and the one that got them noticed by the nation. It's the full 8 minute video, if you like what you hear - and how can you not - then stick around for the follow on track "Silhouettic" and the second half of the rather disturbing video story.

Loud, loud, and louder if you please.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Welcome to my room.

So i'm trying to come up with a reason for playing my favourite Bangles track. And i can't think of a valid one.

They might be something of an 80's afterthought these days, but they had their moments and even I can forgive them that "Eternal Flame" nonsense.

Doing my research for Martha Wainwright's version of "Love Is A Stranger" it struck me that the driving kick drum sound kept reminding me of the into to "In Your Room", but that's probably more to do with them being the same tempo.

That's a bit of a long bow to draw. Even for me.

And then thinking about cover versions, Bangles did a rocking version of "Hazy Shade Of Winter", but that still doesn't give me an excuse to play "In Your Room".

Then i thought fuck it, how good looking was Susanna Hoffs back in the day, I'm playing it.

Admit it, she was a fox in socks.