The Null Device
Tonight, Your Humble Narrator went back to the Water Rats, to see three bands.
First up was Lifestyle. Basically electropop, with some live synths, live bass (played by a hipster in a rather flash hat), and vocals by a chap in a long pinstripe jacket. The elements were promising, though the singer's vocal style didn't seem to suit the music; at times he sounded reminiscent of Jimmy Barnes as he strained and belted out the notes.
The second band, Schmoof, were awesome. An electropop duo with great stage presence; the guy (dressed all in white, and looking just a bit Eurovision) started off playing two synths, while the girl sang and danced around; then they strapped on two SH-101s and moved and played. They were a little like a more pop Mink Engine. They did songs about the Northern Line, choosing between chocolate and boyfriends, and backseat drivers, and an electropop cover of Guns'n'Roses' Sweet Child O'Mine, which absolutely rocked. Oh, and did I mention that projected on the rear of the stage were visuals generated by a Sinclair Spectrum? I.e., the guy in white had spent ages writing BASIC programs to do blocky animations in time to the music. Which all was cooler than cool.
Finally up came Freezepop, a US synthpop act. They sounded somewhere between Ladytron and Barcelona. One of their number moved around the stage playing a Yamaha QY-70 (that's a handheld synth/sequencer). They had somewhat of a hard act to follow with Schmoof, IMHO, though they were fun, especially their last song (with its synthesised/sampled rock/metal riffs and posturing to match).
Between sets, the DJ played tracks like The Postal Service and The Flaming Lips (a Japanese version of Yoshimi). Then, between the next two sets, the "DJ" turned out to be a preprepared mix CD.
At the beginning of the night, there seemed to be a lot of goths about; almost half the room seemed to be of that persuasion. Perhaps they misread the flyer as "Futurepop"? They either filtered out or were diluted by new arrivals by the end of the night.
Anyway, there are photos here.
It looks like Minimum Chips have a new EP out. (It may have come out as early as September, or may be coming out tomorrow; not being in Melbourne makes it hard to notice these things.) Anyway, it has 7 tracks, and is as close to an album as the Chips get.
(Hint to friends in Australia: it'd make an excellent birthday present. That or the Dogs In Space DVD that should be out soon.)
And by the way, they seem to have MP3s of some sort of their entire back-catalogue on their web site. The site hosting them seems to be down, though, so I've no idea whether they're complete tracks or excerpts, or at what bitrate.