Song of the Week: February 2015
Rufus – Desert Night
I spent my New Year’s holiday at the inaugural Beyond the Valley festival. Held on picturesque Phillip Island, famous for its penguins and grand prix circuit, the festival was primarily devoted to electronic music; being in Australia, it showcased the burgeoning local scene. One act that ticked both boxes was Rufus, who headlined and played the coveted New Year’s Eve midnight slot.
Beyond the Valley had its teething problems: lack of toilets being one, a general disorganized feel another, but my main gripe was with what my colleague refers to as ‘twelvers’ – immature 18-19 year-olds acting like they’re 12. The surfeit of youngsters wasn’t a problem in itself but so intent were they on bass-heavy beats that they refused to compromise when it came to other genres. Danny Brown, AlunaGeorge and Vancouver Sleep Clinic in particular seemed visibly unhappy by the lack of audience energy or even attendance (why AlunaGeorge was sandwiched in between local favorites Hermitude and Peking Duk is beyond me).
Despite my sententious suppositions, I actually had a good time; Peking Duk, Claptone, Rufus and Sylvan Esso were among the highlights.
Sylvan Esso – Coffee
I hadn’t heard much of this American duo before I went to Beyond the Valley festival but I thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon set. Aided by the scorching sun and mellow crowd, Sylvan Esso played tightly and professionally. They were the first act I saw at the festival; a great introduction to the 2-day hedonism that ensued.
The Decemberists – The Lake Song
On a different note, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Decemberist’s latest offering: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, and in particular The Lake Song, a quite beautiful reflection of adolescent longing and regret. Colin Meloy’s singing style on this is great, especially the way he pauses at irregular intervals. The lyric video (below) really helps amplify the poeticism of the song. Highlights include: “This much I can say:/I would’ve waited till the oceans/Fell Away and all the sunken cities/Would reveal themselves to you,” and: “And on this station wagon window/Set the ghost of your two footprints/That they might haunt me when you’re gone.”
Real Estate – Beach Comber
And finally, my absolute highlight of February was seeing Real Estate at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne. The keen readers among you will have noted that I voted their album Atlas the best album of 2014 in a previous post. As such, you can imagine my excitement at seeing them for the first time; they didn’t disappoint. For over an hour, they raced through much of their back catalog, with that clean, crisp guitar sound we’ve come to love. Talking Backwards and It’s Real produced the biggest cheers of the night, but it was the rambling jams that I enjoyed, such as Out of Tune and All the Same.
I chose this song because a member of the crowd kept shouting ‘Beach Comber!’ in between most of the songs, to the point where I’ve now forgotten if they even played it or not, which is a shame, as I keep wondering whether that punter left happy or not.