h

Album Reviews

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★☆

 

The follow-up to 2014’s I Am King and Code Orange’s first LP on metal label Roadrunner Records, Forever is a culmination of nine years of savagery.

 

The method remains the same – ruthless metal-infused hardcore, laced with end-of-the-world electronic samples and, you bet, breakdowns for days. 

 

Previous efforts, Love Is Love/Return To Dust and...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

 

Cover records are, by their very nature, bizarre beasts.

 

When too organised or extensive, they have a habit of feeling pointless – save an oddity like Ryan Adams’ 1989 project, there’s not always much reason one would listen to a song-by-song reworking of an album over the original – but without structure, they run the risk of appearing like a lazy,...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★

 

Night People is like a book with a great beginning and a great end – it’s just such an epic shame that the chapters in between are just ordinary filler blighting what could otherwise have been a powerful volume for You Me At Six.

 

The opener and title track comes grumbling in with a catchy-ass riff and the appealingly dull and husky soar in vocals that we’ve...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★★

 

Opening with a triumphant fanfare of horns and a bassline fit for the bedroom, this is not The xx you remember.

 

“You’ve had faith in me / So I won’t shy away” croon Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim on the danceworthy ‘Dangerous’, indicating their newfound confidence in a record that reiterates their turned leaf as often as possible. Just check the tracklist...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:03am

★★★★☆

 

Graciously sharing this tasting plate of tracks that were written around the same time as those that made it onto Skin, Flume keeps fans’ hunger for new music satisfied with an aural smorgasbord of decadent and cerebral ear candy.

 

On opener ‘Trust’, there’s a dreamlike nostalgia and memories of childhood conveyed by the Kalimba sample that weaves its way...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:01am

★★★★

 

Sydney four-piece Den wield a significant sonic clout on their self-titled debut EP – a pummelling barrage of modulated guitars and sinister synth replete with melody that brings nuance to the bruising assault.

 

‘Life In Chains’ opens with a militant drum beat and from sparse beginnings builds to grandiosity, with haunting keys and swirling synth surrounding...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:01am

★★★

 

Lurking somewhere in the shadowy, liminal space between Portishead and Chvrches are New York duo Phantogram, dipping deep in their own darkness while continuing to pump out pop you can really feel.

 

As soon as the glitchy synth bass of ‘Funeral Pyre’ kicks in, vocalist Sarah Barthel stretches to the height of her range as she eulogises herself. Guitarist Josh...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★★☆

 

Why is the renown of Darkc3ll not greater?

 

Well, for one thing, the Queenslanders’ self-proclamation of being “not a product of the mainstream” keeps them undercover. Plus, once you hear Haunted Reality, you might just realise the world isn’t ready for such awesomeness as this.

 

The great gloom of Darkc3ll recently swept through town as part...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★☆

 

It’s fitting that Redspencer’s debut album Perks arrives right on the cusp of summer, evoking the warmth and haziness of the season in effortless fashion.

 

Beyond their shimmering guitar pop is an exploration of existential themes that come together to create an album of great depth.

 

On opener ‘G-Talk’, Dave McMillan’s laconic vocals sing of...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★☆

 

The strange new offering from Gone Is Gone tenderly twists itself onto your ears with an unusual slew of musical narratives.

 

But though this is a bizarre record, it’s far from unenjoyable. As each track is almost a saga in itself, most hitting the six-minute mark, you’ll forgive Echolocation its sometimes repetitive nature for the wonders which Gone Is Gone...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★☆

 

“I used to do a lot of blow,” coos Martha Wainwright in ‘Around The Bend’, the lush opening number of her new solo album, amid quaint acoustic arpeggios and a gentle shuffle of jazz brushes.

 

It pierces through in a way that reminds you why you fell for Wainwright originally, when she was a firebrand 20-something who not only turned “bloody motherfucking...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★★

 

‘Tocka’ is a Russian word for which there is no direct equivalent in English, designed to describe the strange feeling you get when you start missing something you never actually had – that odd kind of confused absence that nothing seems able to satisfy.

 

Anatomy Class’ Tell Me What You See is the melodic translation of that phrase, a record defined by a...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★☆

 

Metallica have been around for so long they’re forever doomed to fall into the trap of having their new material being compared to their back catalogue.

 

This means any decent new album like Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is always going to be assessed next to a masterpiece like the ‘Black Album’.

 

Hardwired is exactly what you’d expect; a...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★★

 

Drawing influence from pop, soul, jazz and lo-fi sounds, Owen Rabbit masterfully draws listeners in with his hauntingly heartfelt lyrics, pairing them with some truly cinematic production work.

 

Experimental sound effects are plentiful across this release, alongside Rabbit’s signature use of miscellaneous objects to make his music.

 

‘Oh My God...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★☆

 

Lewis Cancut’s new release Indoor Rainforest is a set of pristine, tropical house music that sounds like a rave taking place inside a video game.

 

The influence of Japanese and anime culture is strong throughout the six-track EP – the cover art is perfect – and the bouncing synths, treated Japanese woodwind sounds and kicking percussion only compound the...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★☆

 

Raf Rundell is known as one half of The 2 Bears, alongside Joe Goddard of Hot Chip fame, but his first solo release – The Adventures Of Selfie Boy Pt. 1 – is an interesting mishmash of new sounds which only grows on the listener. 

 

The EP starts off a little jarring, creating uncomfortable feelings upfront. However, as you move through the six songs, they...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★★

 

Short, sweet and scruffy, Hi!, the debut EP from Bleach Girls, embodies all the popped-collar, bubblegum-snapping ’tude of your 16-year-old self, when all you wanted to do was skip school, hit the beach and jam in your parents’ garage.

 

For Byron Bay musicians Fi Fi and Mickey Bleach, that dream became reality. The brother-sister duo wrote more than 20 songs...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:26pm

★★★★☆

 

Glory be to the gods of metal: it would appear that New Zealanders know how to rock it.

 

Underground metallers Devilskin capture everything great about the genre in their second studio release – sultry vocals, bittersweet lyrics of the dark variety, and everything else you’d expect from a band of this ilk.

 

Only there’s something different...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★★☆

 

Illy certainly seems to have a firm grip on the steering wheel of a successful pop career.

 

You may even be reminded of the Katy Perrys and Justin Biebers of the world with the likes of ‘Oh My’ or ‘You Say When’ on his new album Two Degrees – and if he can emulate even a fraction of their success, he’ll have the music biz under his thumb.

 

...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

In a Tokyo rock’n’roll bar recently, a middle-aged, tattooed German punk rocker told me about a mod revival happening in Indonesia.

 

The image of Indonesian youths wearing heavy green parkas decorated with Union Jacks and riding Vespas on the smog- and humidity-laden streets of Denpasar was too fascinating to ignore. Surely this is globalisation in its ideal...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

Napier describe themselves as a “raunchy rock’n’roll” band and they certainly do rock the roll, channelling some old-school vibes with each guitar-driven track they have to offer.

 

And they’re getting some pretty great reviews for their live shows as well.

 

I don’t know if it’s due to the title of their EP, Sundance Romance, or my first...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

In a world where paint-by-numbers electropop dominates the charts, it’s easy to lose sight of the pioneering electronic acts of decades past, and just how much more this broad genre has to offer beyond soaring choruses and club-friendly beats.

 

Looking back at the previous decade, French duo Justice come to mind among the cream of the crop of the indie dance...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★★

 

With incendiary US all-girl punk combo Babes In Toyland kicking out the jams live and loud again, it seems only fitting that this wall-shaking compilation of deeply satisfying, rough-hewn gems from 1990-95 should be blasting from your stereo.

 

Kat Bjelland’s wonderfully unhinged and disorientating vocals whip up an authentic emotional maelstrom on searing...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★★☆

 

Lower Plenty make a statement right from the opener of their new album, Sister Sister. ‘Bondi’s Dead’ sees Al Montfort contribute an effortlessly ebullient number – the music is so approachable that the lyrics shine, and as oblique as they are, they tend to linger long after they’re uttered.

 

Guitarist/vocalist Jensen Tjhung deals in heavy romanticism – ‘...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★★☆

 

When Zeahorse released their debut LP Pools in 2013, it showed them to be just as much of a jam band as they were meticulous with their songs.

 

Even at a lean 36 minutes, there was no ‘fat’ to trim, per se, but there was a very clear divide between the small handful of carefully constructed songs they had been playing live for years and those that were...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★☆

 

If you’re expecting the creators of an album called Reclaim Australia to hold anything back, you’re in for a wild ride.

 

Long-time friends and musicians Briggs (Album of the Year recipient at the National Indigenous Music Awards 2015) and Trials (ARIA-winning producer for Drapht, Seth Sentry, Illy and Hilltop Hoods) have teamed up as A.B. Original to put...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★★

 

Just as the title of this release suggests, Jess Kent’s debut EP is a confident introduction to the Aussie singer-songwriter’s infectious beats. 

 

Listening to her work is refreshing; it’s difficult to decide which musical element is the most skilled or distinctive, as her writing is really all about the whole package of production and vocals. These are fun...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★★

 

Sixx:A.M. have returned with their fifth album, Vol 2 Prayers For The Blessed, and it’s a riot of guitars, heavy drums and yell-along choruses from ex-Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.

 

Sixx and co. prove they can produce a softer sound on album tracks ‘Maybe It’s Time’and their cover of the Badfinger hit ‘Without You’,which itself rose to fame after being...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:44pm

★★★☆

 

Since the end of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon has gone into the abyss of noise rock and drone further than her previous band could ever have fathomed.

 

As one half of Body/Head alongside guitarist Bill Nace, Gordon has spent the last few years going against the conventions of the electric guitar and creating music that’s dark, imposing and sprawling, resulting in...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:44pm

★★★☆

 

Five years on from his salient debut, Ex Tropical, Lost Animal continues to make outsider pop, fusing electronica with elements of popular music from the ’60s through the ’80s.

 

For his new album You Yang, Jarrod Quarrell has invited multi-instrumentalist Shags Chamberlain to the table, broadening the palette of sound.

 

‘Do The Jerk’ beats...

Pages