Beyoncé - 4
We swear this isn't an ironic listening. We love Beyoncé and 4. OK, we might unironically skip straight to track 5, 'Party', produced by Kanye West and with rap by Andre3000, because we ain't no stay-home-mums that need all those ballads about being broken hearted and finding the right person. But, after that, the album turns into a beautiful compilation of classic r'n'b, soul and a bit of sweat-inducing booty tracks - not too many though - that sound surprisingly courageous considering the actual state of pop music. And for that, we bow down and hail Queen B. P.S. Get the deluxe version, for those extra couple of amazing tracks.
Bassike
The name of this label has been interpreted in many ways; from 'bass-seekey' to 'base-ike', but the correct way describes exactly what this label is about: BASIC. Bassike delivers easily breezily cut staples with an interesting little twist that keeps them from being your run of the mill. For those that live in climates like that of Australia (where Bassike hails from) or Brazil, you'll know how easy it is to make fashion faux pas when the weather gets hot and the prospect of wearing anything but a bathing suit becomes slightly unappealing; Bassike is all and everything you need.
Game of Thrones
Before watching HBO's Game of Thrones, I assumed the series would tend a bit more towards the blood-dripping Danish movie Valhalla Rising rather than fairy-tale stories a lá 'Lord of the Rings'; and for that I didn't really like the series at the beginning. But slowly, I found myself submitting to tales of bad kings, midget juggernauts, savage warriors and... dragons. And that happened probably because there aren't exactly good guys and bad guys here, like there are in Tolkien stories - and that is, of course, a simplification of his work. Another reason I relented to this series is because of the intriguing political backstage element that leads to the ever-happening dance of thrones. Oh, and did I mention the gratuitous nekkid-ness?
The Norfolk // Sydney, Australia
Of the slew of new spots having opened up in Sydney in the last six months, The Norfolk on Cleveland St in Surry Hills has been one fated with success. Owned by some of the same kids that have brought The Flinders back to life (and currently, it's incredibly quick onset of 'The Norms'), you'll undoubtedly find The Norfolk rammed with all kinds, vying for a bite, a beer and a spot in the garden out back. The aim of the game is to cultivate Aussie pub culture at it's best; and it's doing a pretty decent job so far - if only you could get a table!
Super Sad True Love Story
Super Sad True Love Story is the third book from the writer of the best selling Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart. Incidentally, I read him name dropped in Flavorpill's Ultimate Hipster Reading list and in the same sentence as James Franco (they're buds, apaprently) just before I finished his latest offering. Don't let any of that put you off, or take away any of the sad scary brilliance of Super Sad True Love Story; written from the perspective of one 39 year old Lenny Abramov, son of Russian immigrants and in love with the impossibly cute and cruel Eunice Park. A satire that cuts to the bone, Super Sad True Love Story is exactly it's title. And it's good.
Posts tagged with empire_of_the_sun
FESTIVAL // Planeta Terra 2010, São Paulo, Brazil
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HIYA: We // R \\ at Planeta Terra 2010

 

After failing to wrangle press credentials to Brazil's premier 'indie' music festival, Planeta Terra, we had to try other routes to get to Sao Paulo's Playcenter (an amusement park). Thankfully, by the grace of our very good friends Flavia Durante, Hector Lima, Dago Donato and with a special big thank you to of Montreal's Bryan Poole, we received our golden tickets and entry to one of the most organised, punctual and civilised festivals I've ever been to.

 

Though for a brief moment I did feel rather like a second class citizen, as men and women were split into two queues to go through security as only girl on girl and boy on boy pat downs are allowed. The girls queue took forever and I fumed silently as all the boys just kept streaming past. For this, I should have at least tried to smuggle some verboten substances through the gates. Unlike airport security, they didn't ask me to take off my shoes (I wore my 4 inch wedge platforms. What? That extra 4 inches helps when you're standing in a crowd a billion people deep), so I might've succeded with a secret shelf inside my platform. Still there was the whiff of weed in the air and a discreet little baggie or two to be seen.

 

Because speaking of which, undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the civility of Planeta Terra is that there's a law (here's where my facts get hazy - Brazilians, if you know, holler at us) in São Paulo that says something like: if you have more than x amount of people in a venue, beer is the only alcohol allowed to be sold. The pros and cons are obvious, but it's in this way that you get an altogether generally more chilled and polite crowd of people ambling between the two stages and lining up for rollercoasters, bumper cars and tower of terror type rides.

 

We didn't manage to hop onto any rides unfortunately, as priority was to run between very prompt sets on opposite ends of the park. Our schedule went something like this:

 

of Montreal

Yeasayer

Passion Pit

Phoenix

Hot Chip

and Empire of the Sun


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Of Montreal // HIYA Kevin! WE LOVE YOU!

 

It's a given that Of Montreal were magnificent, with a beautiful pink sunset decorating stage left, it was a glorious way for the festival to open. We are of the opinion that they should have closed the Indie stage instead of opening the mainstage, but whatever, we were just very happy to see them at all.

 

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Of Montreal // the epic proportions of the main stage

 

We scooted over to Yeasayer next. The last time I saw Yeasayer play was back in early 2008 in London. They were just really starting to break at the time; and despite thoroughly enjoying the set, I remember being a little disappointed at how much of it was playback. This time around though, they've swapped out a couple of members and have additional musicians looking after beats, electronica and percussiony type details.

 

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Yeasayer // HIYA Anand

 

They played really great gig, wherein they also pulled out a lot of favorites from All Hour Cymbals. Vocalist Chris made a 'Hello Buenos Aires' faux pas, but did manage to make up for it by at least attempting to speak some Portuguese (thanks to his Brazilian wife, we're guessing).

 

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Yeasayer // the indie stage, next to a Castelo de Horrores

 

We hung around for Passion Pit and Michael's heavily filtered vocals and jumped ship mid-way through the set to catch Phoenix (though to be honest, as solid performances as both did, I kinda wished I could see PS 22 do their renditions of the bands instead).

 

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Passion Pit // Hiya Michael

 

Despite the rumor milling churning São Paulo into a frenzy over an alleged appearance by Daft Punk with Phoenix at the festival due to supposed appearances by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter at various hot spots around the city, we cynical unbelievers also left mid-way through Phoenix's set to catch a breather, a piss and another beer.

 

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The Castle of Horrors next to the Indie stage

 

By then, Hot Chip were up and man, were they so impressive. They were probably my favourite act of the day; with that fabulous live steel drum action and Alexis Taylor's vocal warming me from the ends of my (very long) pony tail to the bottom of my platformed feet.

 

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Hot Chip // Hiya Alexis

 

And last band of the night for us was arguably the most controversial act of the day, Empire of the Sun. Sure it was odd that for a synth pop band, there wasn't a synth to be seen on stage, and sure a helluva lot of it was playback, but I really enjoyed the showmanship of the performance. Some new songs were debuted and we weren't particularly impressed compared to those tracks from Walking On A Dream, but it was a fun spectacle to watch and listen to none-the-less, closing with a guitar smashing finale.

 

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Empire of the Sun // Hiya Luke

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It was, all in all, an excellent day and a festival that was well planned, polite and polished; though I guess all that makes it sound the opposite of what a traditional festival should be, really. In reality, they can be quite an ordeal, especially when music is actually the last thing on most people's minds and the festival is instead simply an exercise for a wretchedly wasted, hot-tranny-mess of a time. Which is fun too, but I was super happy to be able to hang my platforms up at the end of the day well satisfied at the whole event. Congratulations for a festival well done, São Paulo! Now on to the next one...

 

GALLERY
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Empire of the Sun, the Visual Art
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Luke Steele

 

Empire of the Sun is way more visually challenging than sonically, but that has nothing to do with quality of either. After releasing some of the best pop pearls of the last decade illustrated by videos as colorful and trippy as they could be – and let’s not forget they also had an iPod game and a Selfridge’s window exhibition – they managed to get even weirder on the stage.

 

Like a high bugdet of Montreal, dancers, a supporting band and Luke Steele get really theatrical when bringing the debut album to the stage; but the Oscar for the biggest WTF moments have to be the videos that are played in the background. Creator of the videos, Australian designer Michael Blanche uploaded some of the video art to his Vimeo account and we chose the best ones. If you don’t like gig spoilers (does this even actually really exist?) don’t play the videos below.

 

Intro

 

 

BreakDown

 

 

We Are The People

 

 

Delta Bay

 

The World

 

Without You

 

Walking on A Dream

 

Walking on A Dream (ending)

 

Empire of the Sun’s next gig will be at Brazil’s best musical festival, Planeta Terra, which is also brining the likes of Yeasayer, Of Montreal, Passion Pit, Pavement, Smashing Pumpkins, Hot Chip, Mika, Phoenix, Girl Talk and some other bands. The event will be happening on 20th of November.

 

Via

Empire of the Sun at Half Mast
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Emperor Steele

 

Empire of the Sun have released a video directed by Nash Edgerton for 'Half Mast (Slight Return)' and this time round, we see Emperor (Luke) Steele hit the sandy banks of New York City in the dark, only lit by those trash can fires that homeless people in any film set in New York are rarely seen without. Working the usual variant of fabulous costume, we see Emperor Luke stumbling around in a rather inebriated fashion, pleading after a blond in a costume that is as equally fabulous as his own. It's quite an MJ-the-way-you-make-me-feel kind of moment...a four minute long moment in fact.

 

Check it:

 

 

Half Mast by Empire of the Sun

 

Metronomy covers Empire of the Sun

metronomy - we are the people (empire of the sun cover)

 

We love Metronomy, we love Empire of the Sun and we love covers. Having said that, we fucking hated the Metronomy cover of Empire of the Sun's ‘We Are the People'. Well, most of it. I get the arty approach that Joseph used on this song by adding that sad, wilting robot voice - the same one he used in ‘What Do I Do Now', from the latest EP ‘Not Made For Love' - but in this case, it just doesn't work. And worse, when he sings with his falsetto voice, the song comes really close to a good interpretation. Unfortunately, you can't win all the time.


The cover was recorded during their Australian tour at the end of 2009 during Like a Version, a radio show for Triple J, so, yeah, no big deal. Download the artsy cover below and be sad.

 

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Empire of the Sun - Without You
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Ziggy Steele

 

If in the eighties David Bowie did synthpop music without shoulder pads, the boys from Empire of the Sun wouldn't need any other names to justify the sound of 'Without You', their latest single. The song is so Bowie that coincidentally, Luke is dolled up like a blond version of Ziggy Stardust as seen in the 'Life on Mars?'  video. And just to be clear, (if you are not Lady Gaga) being inspired by David Bowie is an amazing thing.

 

'Without You' is a beautiful ballad built around whispering vocals and a shy instrumental. I especially like the moment when the instrumental wakes up and you can almost hear the word "epic" in the lines. In the video, there's only Luke Steele fully dressed and made up, singing about how bad it is to be without Nick Littlemore whilst holding a white horse and patting a bull statue. We feel you, brother.

 

Empire of the Sun - Without You

 

And before we forget, 'Standing On The Shore', the single prior to 'Without You', was remixed by the amazing Lifelike. He basically extended the track to an eight minute travel around the best of intimate synthpop in the world. A remix to make love to (and hopefully you'll need to repeat the song a few times before finishing).

 

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Say hiya to Modernaire
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Modernaire

 

I've been a huge fan Modernaire since mid 2007, when I first heard them play in a dingy pub in Manchester with Dolby Anol and this awful awful act called Bitterly Ironic (of all things). They stood out a mile, with their eerie girl vocals in perfect harmony and their dirty dark, swashbuckling pop electronica. I've said before that the band on first glance might seem a little pretentious; but their razor sharp wit and a tidy vocabulary belie a sense of humor that's rarely seen in the current musical climate.

 

They've been fairly quiet since they released their EP 'Velvet Never Dries' in 2007, only hitting out occasionally with wiiiicked remixes for the likes of Metronomy, MGMT and Empire of the Sun (cop them all below). All of them are brilliant, seriously, keeping the soul of the original tracks but injecting some of their very own deliciously noir, eerie pop chic into their remixes.

 

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Now on releasing 'Faites Vos Jeux' they've also remixed WhoMadeWho, continuing the build their stellar portfolio of excellent remixes for great bands. Modernaire's treatment of 'Keep Me In My Plane' is an echoey disco number, playing around with percussion, putting the bouncing guitar into the background and filling the space with dirty mid-range synths, that have a vague Metronomy feel. It's a super clever remix as all of their remixes are; taking into account the whole personality of the original track and restyling it a la Modernaire without obscuring WhoMadeWho in the slightest.

 

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The single Faites Vos Jeux drops next week on roXour Records (alongside our friend TEPR) in the UK, but we've got it here for youuu:

 

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Empire of the Sun - Standing on the Shore

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Empire of the Sun were one of the best surprises of '08 and after some months of quiet, the band is finally back with a new single. 'Standing on the Shore', the opening song from Walking on a Dream, is a synthpop piece as good as the other two singles: dreamy backing vocals, refreshing synths, 4x4 drums and the idiosyncaratic vocals of Luke Steele.

 

After only 5 days of it's release on Youtube, the video directed by Josh Logue of Mathematics has already had more than 100,000 views, but the song can't take all the credit for this. As usual, the band explores their irreverent and folkloric side and give us another piece of the Empire of the Sun world. Dancing swordfish women, '80s Japanese series type of clothing/armor, colorful smoke and lasers, a choreographed battle, a cave and much more - all shot at the "the northern parts of the most isolated city in the world, Perth, Western Australia".

 

Empire of the Sun - Standing on the Shore

 

As a b-side the band is offering their cover of Black Box Recorder, 'The Art of Driving', originally recorded for a BMW ad. The track features Luke Steele and his wife Jodi Steele on vocals and it's quite good (check it below). On the band's Myspace, Luke reveals his wish to do a project with her. "It was great working with Jodi and now we are talking about doing other projects. I think people will like the track's lush melodies and fantasy laden lyrics, make of them what you will!"

 

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The Golden Filter latest remix (for a while)
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The Golden Filter

 

I'm actually a bit saddened by writing this post. No, it's not because the Golden Filter remix of Empire of the Sun's 'We Are the People' is bad. Its exactly for the opposite reason: because it's too good. Coordinating claps, spooky vocals, wise sampling of the original, '80s drum sound and that spectacular synthesizer that they used in their first single 'Solid Gold'. It's another hit remix from this duo from New York - check some more examples here and here.

 

But now that they are slowly building their way as one of the best new remixers in town, The Golden Filter announced that this will be their last remix for some time. What consoles me is that they are taking some time to produce new songs... In a perfect world they would manage to keep doing both - bummer!

 

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