They’ve received hardly any radio airplay. They’ve only ever played one show. There aren’t any physical copies of their recordings available anywhere. And they have so few Facebook followers that the whole lot of them could probably fit comfortably in your house.
Yet I believe that Perth act, Echo Kid, have already achieved great things, simply because of the brilliance of their debut recording (which you can stream here or at the bottom of this page).
So here are 5 reasons why you should follow that link right now, devour the entire album, and start spreading the word about this criminally-neglected music-baby.
1. Every Track is A Winner
People say that a chain is only as strongest as it’s weakest link. People also say that vaccines will give you autism – so obviously they can’t always be trusted – but in this case I think they are on to something. I love being able to listen to an LP all the way through without feeling an urge to skip a track, and that’s no problem with ‘Gulp’. In fact it’d be hard to pick a favourite song (though at a push I think I’d choose the slightly sinister-sounding, Talk). The whole thing flows along nicely, often moving from giddily upbeat to chilled out within the space of one song, but without the transition ever feeling too sudden. It’s the kind of thing that established bands spend decades trying (and usually failing) to achieve.
2. It’s Fun on a Bun (Without Being Daft)
It takes about 45 seconds for it to become obvious that Echo Kid don’t want to be taken too seriously. Right from the start there is a playfulness to every sound and every lyric, and it’s clear that their main aim is to put a childlike smile on your grumpy, adult face. But there’s nothing here that could be dismissed as novelty – and there are definite smarts behind the silliness. Perhaps that shows through most of all on Meet You at the Bomb Factory – a song that manages to be cute and romantic while also touching on themes of war and detachment.
3. It Expertly Walks the Fine Line Between Electro and Rock
Call me old-fashioned but, for the most part, I don’t really like electronic music. If given a choice between a guitar chord and a synth squeal – I will take the guitar any day. I may also then smash your synth with the guitar for good measure.
So it’s quite a feat that Echo Kid have made an album that I really like, despite it being full of electronic squeaks and whirrs. It all works because they’ve hit on a great balance where the synths and the guitars complement each other, rather than overpower one another.
4. It’s Kooky But Never Pretentious
I can’t say that I find Echo Kid’s music all that strange, but it’s telling that the only review by a Triple J presenter on their Unearthed page starts with “This is pretty weird stuff”. The band themselves describe their music as “unorthodox “and “never far from a sense of madness”, so you know that at the very least it’s the kind of thing that would make your nearest commercial radio station run a mile. To me, the kookiness is all part of the appeal, but let’s be clear about one thing – this is pop music through-and-through. Every track is centred around memorable melodies, conventional song structures, and radio-friendly running times. In fact, one of my few complaints about the album is that I wish that the band had given in to self-indulgence every now and stretched out some of the tracks for longer.
5. The Production is Brilliant
One half of the act is Perth music producer, Laurie McCallum, so as you’d expect, the production is spot on (the other half is illustrator, Johnny Foley). The record has really benefited from Laurie being able to take his time with tweaking different elements and adding plenty of layers. I know that its not the fault of local bands that they can’t afford more than a few hours at a time in a studio, but it’s a nice change to have something that doesn’t sound like it was thrown together within half an hour in a tin shed.
So that’s enough chit-chat. Now stop wasting time and get listening! You can also learn more about the band here and become a true Gecko Squid (suggested name for Echo Kid fans).
It’s the 15th of ’15, which means it’s time for me to join a handful of other bloggers in listing my 15 favourite albums (check out the other blogger’s lists here).
Please enjoy and feel free to share your own list with me …
15. Muse – Showbiz (1999)
Muse’s debut that most people dismiss as a Radiohead rip-off.
14. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)
The hipsters’ favourite band before they ruined it all by winning a Grammy.
13. Weezer – Weezer (1994)
The first of three self-titled albums manages to be genius despite the drummer doing almost exactly the same thing over and 0ver for 40 minutes straight.
12. Mars Volta – Deloused in the Comatorium (2003)
Apparently the band were on more drugs when they made this album than at any time afterwards, yet it’s actually the most accessible thing they ever did. Weird.
11. Radiohead – The Bends (1995)
Radiohead set out to prove that they weren’t just one-hit-wonders, and accidentally convinced a sizeable portion of humanity that they were the greatest band on Earth … and Thom Yorke is still pissed off about it.
10. Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)
Dance all dance hall everyday gonna dance all dance hall every day dance all dance hall every day gonna dance all dance hall every day dance all dance hall every day dance all dance hall every day …
9. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (1993)
I don’t know what happened but somewhere along the line the guy that wrote this album turned into the guy that made albums as bad as The Future Embrace. It’s still hard to believe.
8. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
I’ve often had to correct people when they’ve assumed I’m a regular recreational drug-taker. I’m not sure why people keep getting that impression, but my love of Pink Floyd albums probably has something to do with it.
7. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
The band’s apparent attempt to lose most of their pesky, loyal fans by making an album so weird that most people would run away screaming. Unfortunately for the band it’s actually brilliant – even though it takes about 250 listens to start to appreciate it fully.
6. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf (2002)
I’m so hardcore that the heaviest band in this list has a singer that sounds like he could have been a 1940’s crooner alongside Sinatra.
5. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
One of the most popular albums of all time is, not-surprisingly, very very good … even when it’s not synched up to Wizard of Oz.
4. Eels – Electro-Shock Blues (1998)
Suicide, madness, cancer, funerals – all without any metaphors to hide behind. Sound like a good time? If you said “yes”, this is the album for you!
3. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
My ex-girlfriend once said that she couldn’t listen past the first song on this album because that one track kept turning her into an emotional wreck. Strangely, I can kind of understand where she was coming from. Though if she hasn’t listened to the rest of it by now, that’s pretty weird.
2. Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
Who said that great albums can’t have silly titles?
And number 1 is …..
1. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
Every track is amazing. Yes … even Fitter Happier.
Please see below for an overview of your performance during the assessment period of 1990 to 2015. The grading key is as follows …
A = All targets achieved
B = Significant progress made for all targets
C = Progress made for many targets
D = Worsening for most targets
F = Worsening for all targets
If you have any questions, please see the complete details of your assessment at this link …
You have achieved great things in this subject. The ambitious goal of halving the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 per day (extreme poverty) was met, and the proportion of people suffering from hunger was significantly reduced. You must not get complacent though, as there will be new issues to face that could undermine much of your hard work in this subject.
Universal primary education has not been achieved, but excellent progress has been made, with the number of out-of-school primary-age children being almost halved. Enrolment has increased from 80% to 91% in developing countries, and youth literacy has increased dramatically in all regions.
Gender parity has been achieved for primary education in many regions (ie. as many females enrolled as males), and almost all regions have moved toward parity (or toward a higher proportion of women than men) for all education levels. Women still have less access to paid employment, lower wages, and lack of political representation, but progress is being made in most regions. However, it must be acknowledged that the assessment criteria for this period doesn’t cover all aspects of gender equality.
Fantastic improvements in the under-five mortality rate were made, but they were not enough to reach the 2015 goal. Vaccines and treatment of preventable infectious diseases must remain a focus if your hard work in this subject is to continue paying off.
It’s easy to see you made an effort, and the way you almost halved the maternal mortality rate was impressive. Still, you were quite a long way from your reaching your targets. More focus on key aspects like people in rural areas, would have gone a long way to helping you get a better grade.
Your work on halting the spread of HIV/AIDS was tremendous. The number of new HIV infections has plummeted and HIV-related deaths has fallen in a similar way. You have also made excellent progress with other major diseases, like tuberculosis and malaria. That Ebola situation was a pity, but at least you learnt a few valuable lessons from that experience.
This was clearly your weakest subject. The 50%+ increase in greenhouse gas emissions was particularly disappointing. Biodiversity trends have been difficult to quantify but the extinction rates generally appear to be getting worse, and the number of coral species you have lost in the last 25 years is alarming. Still, the good work you did must also be acknowledged. The ozone layer is now recovering, and billions of people have gained access to safe drinking water and sanitation thanks to your efforts.
Although there is plenty of room for improvement, your treatment of the world’s least developed countries did seem to improve over the assessment period. More official assistance was given, tariffs were lowered, and debt burden was generally eased. Progress has also been made on the target of making beneficial technologies and essential medicines available to all.
You have achieved so much over the last 25 years. You must now work extra hard to ensure that these gains continue and that the few worsening criteria are turned around quickly. The next assessment period will focus heavily on environmental issues, and seeing as you struggle with that subject, it will be a big challenge. However, you have recently shown that you can do amazing things when you really try – so there’s no reason to think that you can’t do the same with the environment.
One last point – you are too hard on yourself. It’s true that it can be frustrating seeing you not realise your full potential, but often it seems that you obsess over your setbacks and only make the situation worse.
You should be proud of yourself, Humanity. You are doing much better than you give yourself credit for.
I love a good list, but I really love taking a good list and tearing it apart. So seeing as Empire Magazine recently published the results of their readers poll, it’s time for me to tell you why it’s wrong.
The readers voted for their 300 favourite films of all time (I’ve seen 225 of them) and you can see the full list here (though strangely it’s slightly different to the printed version). But in the meantime …
Where Was …?
First, let’s look at the omissions. Personal favourites Ringu, Coraline, Serenity and Men In Black were all missing in action, but perhaps those were long-shots anyway. More shocking, was the absence of The Sixth Sense and This is Spinal Tap.
Sure, we all got sick of M. Night Shymalan over a decade ago, but it’s sad to see that people have forgotten just how fantastic his breakthrough was. Perhaps many of us only remember the twist ending, but if you re-watch it you’ll find that the twist is just a small part in the brilliance of the overall film. And then there’s Spinal Tap – the quintessential mock-umentary and the funniest film about music ever made.
This But No That?
Some personal favourites rated poorly or didn’t make it, yet lesser films by the same director were high achievers. Tim Burton scored highly but there was no Ed Wood or Nightmare Before Christmas, George Romero got a look-in but for the somewhat-silly Dawn of the Dead rather than his original masterpiece (Night of the Living Dead), Darren Aronofsky’s pompous mess was there (The Fountain) but no sight of the poignant simplicity of The Wrestler, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master was one of his highest rated films (no doubt helped by Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death) yet Punch Drunk Love was nowhere to be found.
But most upsetting for me was the absence of Adaptation in the list – the amazing Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman effort about love, life, loss, creativity, depression and Nicholas Cage’s receding hairline. Instead, the only Kaufman films to make it were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at #78 (hooray!) and Synecdoche, New York at #197 (what?!). I mean, I like Synecdoche, but honestly it’s not even half the film that Adaptation is. Sadly, I think this might be another case of the recently-dead-actor effect, as Synecdoche was another showcase of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s talents.
What’s This Doing Here?
Now for the flicks that just had no place being in the list. Most of them can be explained away by their new-ness. Avengers 2, The Hobbit Part 1, and Captain America 2 will surely lose their place when this poll is rerun in a few years time. But I’d argue that older films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, are in there only because people have mistaken nostalgia-value for quality. I rewatched both quite recently and I can confirm they aren’t nearly as good as we remember.
Some Sacred Cows Need to Be Slaughtered
This is the section that’s most likely to upset people so let’s get it over with quickly. It’s like a band-aid that has to be ripped off fast for your own sake.
Long-story-short; Jaws, Watchmen, Skyfall, The Social Network and Drive, aren’t as brilliant as people think. They’re all very good films but either; they have pacing issues that everyone overlooks (Jaws at #8), they aren’t nearly as good as the source material (Watchmen at #153), they’re outclassed by other instalments in their series (Skyfall at #45 while Casino Royale only made #160), or I’ve just never been able to understand why people went quite so insane for them (Social Network at #148, Drive at #49).
And while we’re at it, does The Dark Knight really deserve to be called the 3rd Greatest Film of All Time? Again, it’s a movie that I liked a lot but despite seeing it twice I feel like I must have missed something. It’s so intensely loved by so many people that every second person must have been thinking “OMG THAT WAS THE BEST THING EVER” as the credits rolled, yet my thoughts were more like “Well, that was quite good. What time’s lunch?”.
But On The Other Hand …
Despite all this, I’m generally very happy with the list. Personal favourites that I thought were seen as cult films without much mass appeal fared incredibly well, particularly The Big Lebowski at #24 and Donnie Darko at #84. Despite being such an oddity, Lebowski seems to pick up more and more fans as time goes on, and I’m happy to see that Darko’s reputation hasn’t been tainted by the fact that director, Richard Kelly, hasn’t made anything of much worth since.
A number of movies that I’ve rewatched many times finished in the top 100, namely There Will Be Blood, Gravity, Clockwork Orange, Memento and Back to the Future. I was also pleased to see Back to the Future Part 2 make it at #294, which I count as one of the best sequels ever made.
And speaking of incredible sequels – what about that number 1 (Empire Strikes Back)? This is the first time I’ve seen it top a poll like this (more commonly it’s The Godfather or Shawshank Redemption) but I think it deserves a turn in the premier position. It’s possibly the film that has impacted pop culture more than any (you can hardly go a day without seeing some kind of reference to it) and though Star Wars may have given us the modern day blockbuster, Empire gave us the modern day blockbuster with a sad ending – showing that movies could be true popcorn-fodder while still having depth and not always following a predictable formula. Of course, as a big Return of the Jedi fan I’m always a bit baffled by the fact that Jedi isn’t nearly as well loved but at least that made it into the list as well at#120.
So, I suppose you did a pretty good job, Empire readers. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll even forgive you for leaving out Spinal Tap.
Agree? Disagree? What are your own favourite films? If you need something more to get you angry enough to comment, how’s this? – Dark Knight is really terrible and Heath Ledger was an awful Joker.
Today I didn’t know what to blog about. Luckily Start Blogging Online had 101 tips to make my blog so HOT it will burn another hole in the ozone layer.
I didn’t know which one of the tips to use, so I figured it was safest to include all of them (well the first 50 for now).
HOT BLOGNESS HERE I COME!
#1 Run a contest
First person to reply on this post gets a virtual egg. Do it. You know you want to.
#2 Review books/products/films
Birdemic is terrible. You should watch it now.
#3 Make comprehensive guide/tutorial
How to Make Toast: Put the bread in a toaster and push the thing down, you dummy.
#4 Interview someone
ME: So, do you like stuff?
WIFE: Shhh, MasterChef is on.
ME: Thank you for your time.
#5 Post a cool infographic
(The red portion represents the percentage of USA’s population that drive a hybrid. The white portion is everyone else. Standard error +/- 95%)
#6 Criticize a website/blog or a person
Donald Trump is not very good.
Tony Abbott is not very good.
Chad Kroeger is not very good.
Michael Mann is not very good.
Zack Synder is not very good.
Janet Albrechtsen is not very good.
… Damn I could have just done a whole post on this one.
#7 Make a post full of GIFs
I refuse to do this one. I know that it’s popular to make “Goats I’d Fool around with” posts these days, but it’s just not my thing.
#8 Create a photo post
There you go. It’s now a photo post.
#9 Tell a personal secret
I once ate a piece of butter because I thought it was cheese.
#10 Write inspirational/motivational post with famous quotes
“When life sucks just remember that it’s okay because one day you’ll be dead anyway.” – Me.
#11 Share recent travel experiences
I rode my bike into the city today. I saw a swan.
#12 Host a giveaway
More prizes?! Ok, fine. Second commenter also gets a virtual egg.
#13 Write down a conspiracy theory
Theory: All conspiracy theorists are working together in a conspiracy to make themselves seem stupid and annoying, so that everyone else gets sick of them and sends them out into space, because that’s where they always wanted to live.
#14 Show log files of intense conversations
Person 1: You suck!
Person 2: No, you do!
Person 1: Woah this is getting intense.
Person 2: True. Maybe we should stop before things get out of hand.
Person 1: Good suggestion. Want some virtual egg?
#15 Write a short story
For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn because some idiot bought us the wrong sized baby shoes for our perfectly healthy baby.
#16 Sing a song
#17 Create a list of something
Here’s a list of the keys I hit when I mash my palm against the keyboard nbvbnmnbnjcbgnkj,mnmn
#18 Write down all the thoughts you had in mind today
Oh I’m awake.
#19 Share your goals/dreams publicly
I want to finish this blog post. It’s taking a long time. I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve my goal.
#20 Make a link carnival and ask others to join
A what now? Well okay, here’s a link. Join in. Is it a carnival yet?
#21 Announce that you’ve turned the comments into “do-follow” so you can get more comments
I don’t get this one either. But hey it just says I have to announce it, not follow through with it. So …
I have turned the comments into a do-follow!
#22 Build your to-do list
To do: Finish this shit. Go to bed.
#23 Write a post in response to some recent post/news
The gay marriage Supreme Court decision in USA was pretty great. No joke here.
#24 Make a full case study about something
Hypothesis: These tips will make this a HOT blog. Stay tuned to find out whether it worked.
#25 Share your favorite blogs/bloggers in one post
Here’s a blog about cheese. That’s all you’re getting. Don’t be greedy.
#26 Invite your readers to submit guest posts
Yeah okay. They’d better be as good as that cheese guy’s posts.
#27 Publish the best comments that your blog has received throughout the history
I believe I’ve covered this.
#28 Share your blogs income + traffic numbers
Zero and pretty close to negligible.
#29 Tell a joke
Australia is in the safe hands of a brilliant leader.
#30 Bust a myth
MYTH: The Earth is hollow.
TRUTH: No it’s not, you idiots. Do really believe that? What the hell are you thinking? I mean, for f***’s sake, aren’t you embarrassed? I wouldn’t even be able to show my face among other conspiracy theorists if I believed that. Even the people that believe in Bigfoot must be shaking their heads in disbelief at you. Go take a long look at yourself. Come back when you’re ready to apologise.
#31 Produce or publish your art
(An abstract portrait of Elton John)
#32 Publish a post about your success and epic failures
I once failed to interview Wife for this blog post.
#33 Ask your readers to tweet, like, and share the posts they like
Sure. Do it.
#34 Start a poll
Question: Can you ever be bothered answering poll questions?
Give your answers in the comments.
#35 Write a post about things you regret doing/not doing
I’m kind of regretting starting this post.
#36 Pose a rhetorical question in your blog post
How many roads must a man walk down before he admits that Bob Dylan wasn’t even that great?
#37 Post a picture that speaks more than thousand words
See the frog picture above. That tells the story of a tiny amphibian cowboy trying to find his way home in a hostile environment, and having a great time doing it!
#38 Publish some little or unknown facts
Did you know that 17% of facts are made up on the spot?
And 28% of facts are ripped-off from Simpsons quotes?
#39 Publish an In Memorian post
I kind of wanted to do this for Phillip Seymour Hoffman but was too lazy. Oh well, I’ve done it now. That was easy!
#40 Bring out the most important dates in history
This date once successfully defended a kitchen from a whole platoon of enemy prunes.
#41 Tell about your latest event experiences
I went to a Jazz Festival. I saw a swan.
#42 Publish your CV online
Well, it’s not really mine, but I think this is quite a nice looking check valve.
#43 Post an obvious lie
Start Blogging Online’s advice for this one …
“You can turn things upside down when you tell an obvious lie inside your blog post. People might get mad at you, but that doesn’t matter.”
Wait, so lying about things to purposely get attention and piss people off doesn’t matter?
Okay, I’ll take their advice … no it doesn’t matter.
#44 Write where you’d like to travel
To the centre of our Hollow Earth.
#45 Blog about marketing secrets
Keep all your money under your bed. Depreciation can’t get to it there.
#46 Write about the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life
Trust me – money under the bed.
#47 Tell your readers what they should do to succeed
Write better blog posts than this one. Watch Birdemic.
#48 Do a video post about your day
#49 Show off your personal stuff; car(s), house, accessories
I was kidding. This really is my check valve.
#50 Build a list
What? Again? I’m sure we did this before. Well anyway … kalsjdhfkadjsfadskfpafdsh
Well, that’s done. Now to wait for the hotness to flow … See you next month when I’ll be the world’s HOTTEST blogger!
These days you can find reviews of almost everything.
Do you need to find out whether it’s worth watching that Latvian arthouse film you saw advertised on a single poster on the side of a rubbish bin down a dark alley? Don’t worry. There are 10,000 reviews for it on IMDB.
Want to know which tiny little burger place you should be telling your friends is way better than McDonalds, even though you had 7 Big Macs last week? It’s cool. Urban Spoon has you covered.
But it’s not enough.
Personally, I won’t rest until every single person in the world has shared their opinion on every single thing in the world … and I’m going to get the ball rolling by reviewing videos that practically no one has ever seen. I mean, someone has to review them!
1. Apartment Tour Video
Wow, we’re off to a great start! Sure, this video starts out a little slow – although you have to admire the use of space and the nice floral motif on the doors – but what about that surprise outdoor shot at the end?! Who saw that coming?!
Still the video could have fallen down at that moment if it wasn’t for the powerhouse performance that the mountain at the back of the shot puts in. Not since Marlon Brando appeared in The Godfather for about 20 seconds has an actor/inanimate object stolen the show so thoroughly with such little screen time. Inspirational work.
View Count: 18
2. For the Love of God, Please Buy This Chevrolet
I admire the effort that has been put into this video, but in the end it was just sad. The director was obviously so desperate for approval that they were blinded to the flaws of the film. I’m sure that not even they truly believed that anyone would ever be convinced to buy the car. Yet they continue to inundate the audience with shot after shot of the car from endless angles, as if maybe – just maybe – the constant bombardment will eventually cause a minor breakdown in the viewers and someone will buy the car in a moment of temporary insanity.
As I said … it’s just sad.
View Count: 25
3. Person Hits a Ball with a Bat
I love the suspense that is built over the first 3 seconds of this video. I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether or not she would hit the ball (though that isn’t 100% accurate because it takes me about 5 seconds to move to the edge of my seat on a good day). The creators made a wise decision not to keep the audience hanging for too long though, and by the fourth second I was flooded with relief that there was going to be a happy ending to this tale. The only pity is that the editors weren’t a little more ruthless. Clearly those last two seconds were just superfluous to the plot and should have been left on the cutting room floor.
View Count: 14
4. Video of a Yellow Car
I tore into the Chevrolet video, so you may expect me to give an equally unkind review to this one. Au contraire! For the difference here is cinematography. Where the Chevrolet video relied on dozens of Michael Bay-esque quick edits, this video is all about the old fashioned long-sustained tracking shot. If you were impressed by the long unedited takes in Birdman and Children of Men, you will no doubt be captivated by this.
View Count: 23
At first I didn’t think I would enjoy Pencher. I was worried that I would find it too repetitive, too derivative, or perhaps just incomprehensible seeing as the only word in it is in a language I don’t understand. I needn’t have worried though. Once the video got going I found myself entranced by it. It didn’t matter that it was just one word repeated over and over with a simple graphic – I was hypnotised. Full credit must go to the set designer, as the use of stark black and white with just a splash of yellow was a genius decision. Not even Sin City managed to use colour so effectively.
View Count: 21
Well, I hope this post has been enlightening for you. Thank you to Petit Tube for making it possible!