April 15 2008

I had the incredible pleasure of seeing Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu perform live in June 2007.

In a packed cafe, Gurrumul sang and played his acoustic guitar, accompanied only by a double bass.  

His voice was the most extraordinary live voice I have ever heard and its impact was devastating.  In a venue that held at most 200 people, the majority were reduced to tears by the power and poignancy of a man whose message lingers with you long after his songs end.

A former member of Australian band Yothu Yindi, Gurrumul was born blind and sings mostly in his traditional language.  

Gurrumul plays the guitar upside down because there were no left handed guitars in the communities he grew up in.

Gurrumul's story will inspire many. But his voice is what will cut through and if it lands on enough ears, his debut album 'Gurrumul'  available on Skinnyfish Music could prove to be a landmark Australian release. 

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Gurrumul

By Nick Christie

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April 11 2008

Foals make me jealous. I mean, how embarrassing is it to see these kids blast their way onto the scene with the kind of awe-inspiring, frenetic indie-meets-dance-punk you wished that second Valentinos EP would’ve had? Pretty embarrassing. In the spotlight for less than a year and Foals have already featured on a Kitsuné Maison compilation, inked major deals, and had their drummer pose for Burberry’s Spring/Summer line. Shit, these kids get their record produced by TV On The Radio’s main man Dave Sitek and essentially scrap his mixes in favour of their own. Next thing you know they’ll be ignoring all those MySpace messages from Timbaland. Damn them.

Then they go and rub it in my face with their terrific debut album Antidotes. Look at them - flaunting those nervous guitar lines, those booming drums and fevered vox. Even the horns can’t slow down the raucous second single Cassius, nor the stomp of Heavy Water. By Dave Ruby Howe

Get envious at

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April 8 2008

Produced by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk and released by Air's label Record Makers, Sebastien Tellier's new album 'Sexuality' is a rhythmic ode to - you guessed it - the art of love making.

'Sexuality' explores the common ground between Daft Punk's 'Make Love' and Air's 'Sexy Boy'.

Tellier's songs traverse voluptuous synths and sweeping strings.  The drums throb and whir soothingly at the edges of the sound.  Tellier sings in a convincing coo and whisper as if he is updating Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot's ascendant 'Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus'.

Where Tellier's French contemporaries like Justice head for the euphoric, chanting hooks, Tellier goes mellow, radiating warmth and revealing subtle analogue textures.


On the film clip for the instrumental track 'Sexual Sportswear', Tellier loops his keyboards like a double helix as a female body, lit up to resemble the iconic cover art for A Tribe Called Quest's 'The Low End Theory', writhes and moves to the music. By Nick Christie

Most definitely one for the lovers.

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March 26 2008

Hot Chip's new album 'Made In The Dark', is a wild ride. From thepopping, stomping squelches and whistles of 'Out At The Pictures', tothe LCD Soundsystem-esque groove of 'Ready For The Floor', the albumjumps frenetically between styles and influences.

With moments of delicate intimacy, soulful croons and straightforwarddance-pop, Hot Chip truly are the kings of hipster electro-pop.

Full of infectious, imaginative hooks and schizophrenic mood and tempochanges, you can lose yourself in 'Made In The Dark'. With somuch to process, it's an album that will reveal its more subtleelements on repeat listens.

Music for sound-tracking times of bliss and glee. By Nick Christie

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March 10 2008

The Spice Girls landed on our doorsteps more than a decade ago with promises of ‘girl power’ and telling us what we wanted, what we really, really wanted.

With the pop and fizzle of The Spice Girls’ stunning rise now a distant memory, the UK is undergoing a second wave of ‘girl power’.  Instead of pre-fabricated, hyper-merchandised glitz, this new crop of ‘girl power’ artists embody lyrical honesty and authenticity.  Where the Spice Girls relied on sass and cleavage and commercial pop smarts, the UK’s current crop of female singer-songwriters embody honest self reflection and realness.  

Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen led the way with their upfront, unforgettable reinterpreta-tions of contemporary pop.  In the wake of Winehouse and Allen’s success arrives the next wave of UK female singer-songwriters.

20 year old Kate Nash smashed through with her single ‘Foundations’ and won the hearts of the indie crowd with her cover of the Black Kids’ ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance’.

Duffy, currently sitting at #1 in the UK with her track ‘Mercy’, has a voice that sits com-fortably between Winehouse and Dusty Springfield and comes with the promise that her music will last decades.

Adele too, with her soulful croon and anthemic single Chasing Pavements’, is cramming the airwaves and poised to take her sound global.

All in all, it’s a welcome arrival. It’s ‘girl power’ you can actually believe in. By Nick Christie

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February 27 2008

With their new album 'In Ghost Colours' to be released next month, Cut Copy are going to be everywhere very soon. Radio, TV, car stereos and who knows - maybe they’ll go down the Pnau path and put their tracks on slick commercials.

'In Ghost Colours' is certainly one of the most hyped Australian electronic albums ever. With the release of the first single 'Hearts On Fire' followed soon after by 'So Haunted', musical appetites were whetted worldwide. Then came a freely downloadable mixtape which dropped Cut Copy gems in between indie classics like Panda Bear's 'Bros'. 

Backed up by a national tour and a support slot at Daft Punk’s Neverland shows, Cut Copy have well and truly done the groundwork to build the excitment.  Now when we can't take any more, the clip for 'Lights And Music' emerges. The tension is palpable. People are dying to hear the record in its entirety. Bring on March! By Nick Christie



June 13 2007

The creation of Parisian electronic masterminds Gaspard Auge and Xavier de Rosnay, Justice first implanted their pogo-inducing sound in last year's massive remix of Simian's 'Never Be Alone'. While Justice's remixing fingers have also moulded the sounds of stars like NERD, Soulwax and Franz Ferdinand, it's their critically-lauded new album '†' which is causing the most fan-fervour.

The band's current single 'D.A.N.C.E' - looped around the Jackson 5, chanting-child refrain of "Do the D.A.N.C.E/1 2 3 4 fight/Stick to the B.E.A.T/Get ready to ignite" - sounds like an electro-funk Go! Team shouting orders to the disco infantry.

The 'D.A.N.C.E' film clip follows two torsos as they charge in circles through a dark club. As they move, their t-shirts act as projection screens for a myriad of evolving graphic prints and patterns created by the art director of Justice's label Ed Banger.

Following the clip's release, a number of its featured t-shirt designs were put up for sale (Colette, Paris ) causing a feeding frenzy amongst the music-nerd elite and the fashion frantic alike.

Justice might be the best thing to happen to French electronic music since Daft Punk and given the buzz they are generating, expect more monster singles in the coming months. For now though, as Justice would say, things are 'prêt à allumer'. By Nick Christie

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April 2 2007

Crystal Castles, the Toronto two-piece, are the remix artist of now.  The first sniff of their mastery came in the remix of The Klaxons’ Atlantis to Interzone’ - a blippy, abrasive entry into their electronic wonderland.

Then came the Castles’ remix of the Goodbooks’ ‘Leni’ which turned the original guitar pop goodness into a future-pop masterpiece.  ‘Leni’ hinged on the pitch-shifted central vocal, reminiscent of Karin Dreijer from The Knife. Underneath the vocal, the track chugs along on the back of a hi-res synth loop and Super Mario keyboard squelches. It’s the sound of a couple, madly in love, freebasing orange sherbet. 

The nadir of the Castles’ discography is the remix of The Little Ones’ ‘Lovers Who Uncover’. Opening with the desperate cry of, ‘Where do all the lovers, meet with one another?’, the track again centres on a haunting central vocal and a driving low end. The arpeggio makes you feel like a kid staring through a kaleidoscope and the voice rattles up and down, building intensity then releasing into the distance with an ecstatic ‘ooooh’. 

While their original work is yet to reach its potential, their remixes are enough to make you dream of a future musical world ruled by Crystal Castles. I Heart CC. By Nick Christie


March 28 2007

Every once in a while, a song comes along that flattens you.  The kind of song that make you pull the car over, turn the engine off and wrench up the volume. Right now, Gui Boratto's 'Beautiful Life' is that song. 

Gui Boratto is a Brazilian architect/musician/composer/producer and his new album 'Chromophobia' will likely be the first you've heard of Brazilian electronic music. In short, it's bliss.

'Beautiful Life' is the album's clear standout, the kind of song that's as much pure pop as it is electronic. As the female vocal repeats, 'What a beautiful life, what a beautiful life', Boratto brings a heartbeat to the often metronomic precision of synthesizers, lifting them up euphorically as the song builds in pulsing, melodic waves.  Running at over eight minutes, you might imagine things dragging on too long. But as the beat whirrs to a close, you'll be reaching for the repeat button, wishing that the 'Beautiful Life' would never end. By Nick Christie

November 12 2006

There's a trend sweeping the UK that's so big, even British Vogue in their current December issue felt the need to dedicate a page to òThe Rave Revival", which as they put it, is all aboutòacid grooves and colors being back in the house". Most people are calling it òNu-Rave, and British bands such as Klaxons, Hadouken and Shitdisco are at the helm, powering the music and London club nights such as Anti-Family, Bosh! and NamaleeLovesPop that the fashion-followers feed off. 

However, there is one band at the moment who surpasses all of the above- their Nu-Rave sound, their gangsta style, and the blinding amount of neon and glitter they flash really are something to behold, and unusually enough they are not from England, but from Iceland - they're called Steed Lord. A true dance party act, they are equal parts gangsta, rave and glam. On their Myspace page they say their influences range from, 808 state, Prince, The Neptunes and genres such as ghetto tech and house, minimal electro, Chicago house, sensational 90's house music and the old-skool hardcore jungle massive.

They are absolutely a breath of fresh air, one of the highlights at the  Iceland Airwaves Festival that ran from October 18th-22nd (the festival is about new music, whether rock, pop or electronic, with international and Icelandic acts playing). Steed Lord are made up of M.E.G.A, Kali, Demo and A.C Bananas and during their performance at local Reykjavik club Pravda they packed the small venue to the rafters.

Their keyboardist, Demo, was reminiscent of a Batman baddie, just dipped into a pot of electric-pink paint. Someone in the crowd told me he's only 17 years old, which will explain why they referred to him as "the whiz kid" on stage.  M.E.G.A is the producer of the band and works at the controls at the back of the stage, although he had a stripe of pink painted over his face for good measure. A.C Bananas is a tattooed thug rapper who wore a black hoodie with 'Steed Lord' proudly emblazoned on the back in numerous day-glo colours, worn open with only gold chains adorning his bare chest. He had a fake diamond and gold grill over his teeth, with dramatic eye make up just visible from under his sunglasses, and a painful looking purple diamond, (their logo), tattooed right over his Adam's Apple. From the waist-down he looked very Nu-Rave - lycra black leggings with electric-pink shooting stars on them, the look was topped off with Nike Dunks, he looked like a total hard-nut, but also the sort of man that a fashion designer like Bernard Willhelm would lust over to use as a model in his Paris runway shows.  One of the most amusing moments was, when halfway through their act, a camp-as-you-like glittered male dancer appeared with a platter of gold chains for A.C to load up on. Done dead-pan and totally seriously, the crowd went wild, cheering and laughing as he loaded up his neck with gold of proportions that even Mr.T would have been proud of.

The hardness of A.C was counteracted by their female lead singer, (and star of the band), Kali who, resplendent as she was in an electric blue flower fairy top, neon leggings and peep-toe black high heeled boots, could give Kylie a run for her money in the 'petite, blonde and seriously sexy' stakes any day. However, it's her relaxed yet tough chick attitude with her mˆtley crew of band members on stage that clearly sets her apart from anything too poppy. This girl is street. Then there's her voice, which is incredible, at times sounding like Eartha Kitt as she purrs to the crowd "He's a very dirty mutha fucker" in the menacing electro 'Dirty Mutha' and in the uplifting sexy old-skool rave anthem 'You' she drove the crowd crazy when she started singing "Yooouuuu! Make me feel so good boy you're making me high! Yooouuuu!!! Make me feel so high, boy I feel so alive! Cos every time I'm near you I really wanna touch you and hear you say, you'll always be mine!

By the time she finished singing the atmosphere was charged with a sexy electricity, the crowd were sweating, salivating, grabbing each other and reaching out to this gorgeous chanteuse on stage and loving the feeling of the pounding baseline throbbing through them.

Hopefully they will start touring soon for sure cities such as Berlin, London, Paris (and maybe even New York) would just eat them up given half a neon-coloured chance. by Elizabeth McGrath