Well, 2011 was yet another year dominated by souless, watered down music in the mainstream music industry. Bland garage/indie and horrid R&B-pop were, once again, the order of the day. Perhaps more disturbingly, some styles previously associated with underground music continued to be watered-down and repackaged into acceptable pop culture products - namely hardcore and metalcore, who have now seemingly completed their transition into music forms completely devoid of any human emotion or feeling. The post-rock scene similarly provided an endless supply of bands that sound exactly the same.
In spite of my general misanthropy towards the wider music scene, there were still some more unique gems to be had if you dug deep enough. What's more, I really felt like this was a great year for the various underground music scenes in Australia. I feel like there are more bands of more diverse styles going the DIY path, putting on great shows and releasing original, soulful music.
What more, Sydney was lucky enough to have Black Wire Records to actually support underground punk, hardcore, crust, powerviolence and grind.
Here's what I dug in 2011.
Top 5 releases of 2011
- The Devin Townsend Band - Deconstruction: Brilliant. Possible Devin Townsend's very best.
- YOB - Atma: If anything just for Before We Dreamed of Two and Adrift in the Ocean. An incredible doom record.
- Bjork - Biophilia: The best Bjork release since Homogenic.
- Graveyard - Hisingen Blues: I struggle to think of a better rock album released in the last decade.
- La Dispute - Wildlife: An honest and genuine emotional catharsis. Honest and genuine.
Top 5 grind(ish) releases of 2011
- The Kill - Shower of Bricks: the perfect distillation of intense grindcore.
- The Reverend Jesse Custer - The Reverend Jesse Custer: sludgy, raging metallic grind and hardcore.
- Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt - Counter Transference: techy polyrhythmic, sporadic math/grind bliss.
- IDYLLS - Amps for God / Plague Hell: furious fucking grinding metallic hardcore.
- Wormrot - Noise: blistering and intense.
The 10 albums I couldn't stop playing all year
- Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton - Knives Don't Have Your Back
- Roots Manuva - Brand New Second Hand
- YOB - Atma
- Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Black Earth
- Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Sunset Mission
- Dax Riggs - Angel in the Dopesmoke (live bootleg)
- Neil Young - Dead Man soundtrack
- Neurosis - The Eye of Every Storm
- Worlds End Girlfriend - Hurtbreak Wonderland
- The Cinematic Orchestra - Every Day
The 10 Australian releases you really should have heard
- Hydromedusa - Self-titled: Adelaide stoner rock that just oozes bluesy class. (It's FREE! Get it!)
- sleepmakeswaves - And So We Destroyed Everything: An interesting post-rock record? Well I never!
- Pirate - Left of Mind: Fantastic Sydney instrumental prog.
- An Emerald City - The Fourth: Technically Kiwi, but a great, cinematic album.
- Tangled Throughts of Leaving - Deaden the Fields: These guys came outta nowhere (Perth)! Incredible progressive, piano-driven music mixed with progressive and post music.
- Mother Mars - Fossil Fuel Blues: Perhaps Sydney's greatest stoner/desert rock band.
- Arrowhead - Atomsmasher: Or perhaps these guys are?
- Serious Beak - Huxwhukw: Okay it's my band, fuck you.
- Squat Club - Corvus (remixed, remastered and re-released): Now with even more mind-bending polyrhythmic clarity!
- Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt Counter - Transference
My favourite live shows of 2011
- Portishead at Sydney Harvest Festival
- Eagle Twin at Manning Bar
- Gotye at Angel Place City Recital Hall
- Kyuss at The Big Top
- The Reverend Jesse Custer at Town Hall Hotel
- Captain Cleanoff and Death-Cult Jock at Black Wire Records
- Ruins, Darth Vegas, Slimey Things (Featherfest 2011) at TONE
- Clagg and Agonhymn at The Pony
- Space Bong, Looking Glass and Hydromedusa at The Sando
Australian grind hero of the year
- Jack of Die Pigeon Die. Just an all around good bloke who never relents in his selfless passion to support Australian grindcore.
You disagree? Oh what a surprise! What did you guys dig this year? Was it a good year? A shit year?
These dudes can't get enough of Australian summers. With many shows announced but I'm sure more secret shows to come. La Dispute are always awesome to watch, able to get the crowd positively charged and ready for partying. With their latest album "Wildlife" just released, we can expect more emotionally driven singalongs to come. Can't wait to see the supports
La Dispute Australian Tour February 2012
Wed Feb 8 The Zoo, Brisbane
Thurs Feb 9 Between The Walls, Brisbane AA
Fri Feb 10 Annandale Hotel, Sydney
Sat Feb 11 Annandale Hotel, Sydney AA
Mon Feb 13 The Basement, Canberra
Wed Feb 15 Amplifier, Perth
Thurs Feb 16 YMCA HQ, Perth AA
Fri Feb 17 Fowlers, Adelaide Lic / AA
Sat Feb 18 Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Sun Feb 19 Corner Hotel, Melbourne U18
Outside of a die-hard cult following, few within Australia had heard of La Dispute before their 2009 tour. Quietly and surely, though, the Michigan 5-piece had spent years honing their craft - literate and dynamic post-hardcore that nevertheless strikes with dizzying force when it needs to. After that hallmark trip, which saw the band play eleven shows five states, it was another story altogether. Shows were sold out across the country, and the band's boundless live energy and exacting precision converted the curious into the devoted instantly.
In the ensuing 18 months, the band's profile worldwide could safely be said to have exploded. They've toured Europe, Canada, as well as their home country with Thursday, Alexisonfire, Young Widows, The Fall Of Troy and Envy, and are readying a follow-up to 2008's Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair. There is no doubting that this is a band standing humbly at the peak of their genre. So it is that in January 2011, La Dispute will be returning to Australia, for what will almost certainly be the most intimate shows they're likely to play at any point in the future. They're playing six states this time, and taking in New Zealand as well, in the company of some of this country's finest bands.
Joining them, once again, will be Brisbane's To The North. With a debut album “Lustre” at the ready after a misleadingly quiet 2010, the band's triumphant return alongside their old tourmates will surprise many and impress even more. Their jaw-dropping technical feats are pared now with gripping melodies and a newfound dynamic focus.
Fri Jan 14 - SYDNEY - ANNANDALE HOTEL (18+)
Sat Jan 15 - WOLLONGONG - BEACH BAR (18+)
Sun Jan 16 - SYDNEY - THE RED RATTLER (AA)
Tue Jan 18 - CANBERRA - BAR 32 (18+)
Wed Jan 19 - ADELAIDE – ENIGMA BAR (18+)
Thu Jan 20 - MELBOURNE - ARTHOUSE HOTEL (18+)
Fri Jan 21 - MELBOURNE - IRENES WAREHOUSE (AA)
Sat Jan 22 - PERTH - THE BAKERY (18+)
Sat Jan 23 - PERTH - H.Q (AA)
Tue Jan 25 - BRISBANE - THE ZOO (18+)
Wed Jan 26 - BRISBANE - BURST CITY (AA)
Tickets on sale from November 20 from www.oztix.com.au
As I may seem to repeat myself, its for a reason. La Dispute are coming out soon and not enough people are listening to them. So this post is all about convincing you all to listen to them.... more. A Melbournite recently posted a download to their album "Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair" and you should totally take advantage of that shit. So below I have linked a link to her link for you to download this epic epic album. Do it.
Also while you are their subscribe to her blog as she is a much better blogger only blogging good stuff rather than those jerks that post every day about utter shit (me).
Melodic thrash (post-rock screamo whatever) band La Dispute, fuck it lets call them awesome, awesome band La Dispute are touring the country in July with Queensland's To The North in July. To The North are a great bunch of guys and are an awesome live band.
It will be a sick tour so make sure you don't miss it. La Dispute wont be coming out anytime soon and you will fucking shoot yourself if you don't catch them.
10 Jul CBD Gallery w/ To The North Brisbane, Queensland
11 Jul Spectrum w/ To The North Darlinghurst, New South Wales
12 Jul Dirty Shirlow’s w/ To The North Marrickville, New South Wales
12 Jul Hamilton Station Hotel w/ To The North Islington, New South Wales
14 Jul TBA w/ To The North Woolongong, New South Wales
15 Jul TBA TBA, New South Wales
16 Jul Next @ Colonial Hotel w/ To The North Melbourne, Victoria
17 Jul Syke @ Electric Light Hotel w/ To The North Adelaide, South Australia
18 Jul Irene’s Warehouse w/ To The North East Brunswick, Victoria
19 Jul w/ To The North Canberra, Australian Capital Territory