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Album Reviews

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...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:44pm

★★★★☆

 

For an EP from a group that claims it’s “not afraid to be unladylike”, this debut release by the feminist four-piece Glitoris sounds as sweet as anything.

 

The punk rock numbers on The Disgrace mesh the raw sound of classic punk with lovely thick Aussie accents and angry girl attitudes. And hey, if their name wasn’t enough to grab your attention, the four...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

★★★★

 

Client Liaison’s debut full-length is a quirky, sexy, experimental offering.

 

Diplomatic Immunity is teeming with bright bursts of energy, sprinkled with colourful percussion, guitar licks and the infectious vocals of Monte Morgan.

 

You’ve only got to look at the business meeting-esque cover art to know there are political undertones bubbling...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

★★★

 

As far as the secret release of a concept album goes, perhaps it was a good thing the latest drop from Avenged Sevenfold was kept hush-hush – the lead-up hype if it were an ordinary release might have led to disappointment.

 

That being said, Avenged Sevenfold aren’t an ordinary band. They deserve credit for their consistent attempts at pushing boundaries: The...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

★★

 

Roaring out of Gothenburg since the early ’90s, credit where credit is due for HammerFall’s ceaseless energy and seemingly never-ending stream of releases – but unfortunately, Built To Last is a laughable addition to their discography. 

 

No, really. With tracks like ‘Dethrone And Defy’ and ‘Twilight Princess’ all centred around stereotypically Swedish metal...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

 

Folks, Ben Lee has something to say.

 

Apparently – and, may I take the opportunity to note how genuinely striking it is that nobody has ever discovered this before – human beings are unkind to each other. They are this way for a number of reasons, Ben Lee posits: sometimes because they are chasing money and sometimes because they’re chasing fame.

 

...
Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:09pm

★★

 

As with so many bands from Bon Jovi’s era that are still releasing new material, time has ravaged them – and it shows.

 

Gone is the rasping range and tone of Jon Bon Jovi’s voice, gone are the screeching guitar solos, gone are the imaginative thematic anthems we still rock out to today.

 

Instead, in This House Is Not For Sale, we’re treated to a...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:09pm

★★★★

 

The second release from one-man music machine I Built The Sky (AKA Rohan ‘Ro’ Stevenson) is nothing short of a powerful production.

 

The Sky Is Not The Limit, with its tracks named after cloud formations, immerses the listener into everything from metal to intricate punk.

 

This album has it all: experimental guitar runs, synthesizers, crashing...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:09pm

★★★★

 

The story of Shirley Collins has been one of 2016’s most unexpected tales – one of a celebrated folk hero from the ’50s and ’60s, long consigned to cult status due to not singing for nearly 40 years.

 

At 81, Collins has finally returned to the world of music – and if Lodestar is anything to go by, said world will embrace her once again with open arms. 

...
Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:47pm

★★★★☆

 

Shining with the all-encompassing love that resonates through all of Archie Roach’s work, his tenth studio album Let Love Rule harbours 11 tracks filled with pure human essence and warm musicianship.

 

On the second release to come after a string of personal setbacks, Roach has managed to follow up superbly by delving into elements of country, soft rock and...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★☆

 

Though the end is nigh, The Dillinger Escape Plan sure as hell aren’t going quietly.

 

The prog metal juggernauts have chucked us this beast of an album to ensure that even long after they disband, people will still talk about the savagery they brought. 

 

Hate Monday mornings? Try setting opening track ‘Limerent Death’ as your alarm clock...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★

 

The second full-length release from Sydney indie rockers The Griswolds is a fun exploration into a new sonic direction for the band.

 

There’s a lot happening across this album. The production, bass, synth, drums and Chris Whitehall’s vocals combine to redefine The Griswolds’ sound – but there still isn’t a clear definition of what exactly that is. While some...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★☆

 

Winter Wheat sits in an interesting crossroads for the Winnipeg-born singer-songwriter John K. Samson.

 

His first solo record in four years comes after the announcement that The Weakerthans are officially no more, yet the album still features the very same rhythm section.

 

Samson’s songwriting has lost none of its charm. His skill as a...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★

 

The latest release from Swedish artist Tove Lo is stale at best.

 

In a repetitive attempt at proving herself to be an edgy and defiant woman, Lo’s self-portrayal as a feminist is juxtaposed with unimaginative lyrics, concealing what would otherwise be an excellent set of beats and catchy harmonies.

 

Generally focused around partying, sex, drink...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★

 

Friends, Aussies, countrymen, lend me your ears.

 

Actually, lend your ears to the new Birds Of Tokyo release, as they go back to basics with Brace – an interesting hybrid of classic tones meets ’80s electronica with sneaky little political messages stitched throughout, all neatly moulded around a series of visual influences that mean the tracks are meant for...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★

 

Sincere is a short but sweet addition to the cruisy sounds of Melbourne duo Alta.

 

The EP is is exactly what it says on the tin: a sincere set of mellow grooves and hypnotic vibes that needs only a decrease in penetration from R&B drum machines to achieve must-have status as a chill addition to your summer soundtrack.

 

‘Unbelievable’ is...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★★☆

 

While it was just over a year ago that Dorsal Fins released their electrifying debut Mind Renovation, the prolific nine-piece aren’t taking any time to slow down between albums.

 

It’s pretty damn amazing to sound like a different band on each release, let alone each track, but Dorsal Fins do this with relative ease.

 

‘Romeo’ is a mammoth...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★☆

 

Bangin’ beats? Check. Glittering electronics? Check.

 

Choral bursts and rallying ‘woah’s? Check, check. Sydney alt-pop four-piece Tigertown have been globetrotting for the past year, but their latest EP Papernote oozes more Aussie summer vibes than last year’s kelvin-filtered Insta photo of you on the beach in a Bintang singlet. 

 

Brimming...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★★

 

Xylouris White’s second album Black Peak represents the pairing of two virtuosic musicians and the union of two divergent musical styles.

 

Greek folk music collides with Australian post-rock, resulting in an exploratory hybridised torrent of frenetic energy and palpable intensity. This is a record simultaneously anchored in tradition and yet free; it’s...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★

 

Since 2011, everyone’s been waiting for a spiritual follow-up to Joyce Manor’s energetic self-titled debut.

 

The songs were fast and short, with the emotive punk energy of Jawbreaker and the lo-fi vibe and soul of Royal Headache. While that first record was firmly planted in the melodic punk/emo style, the raw punk energy set it apart from the genre’s...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★☆

 

It’s not hard to believe Korn are the same angsty band some of us locked ourselves away with as teens, because really, they still sound the same as they always have – only the novelty has worn off and they’ve lost direction. While it is heavier than their 2013 release The Paradigm Shift, the 12th album from the genre-hopping heavyweights is muddy at best.

 

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Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★★

 

Following on from her infectious EP Switch Tape, Tkay Maidza’s debut album somehow ups the ante even further. 

 

 

 

‘Always Been’ hits the ground running with a grimey, bass-heavy backing, quickly establishing the positive influence of producers Salva (Young Thug, A$AP Ferg) and Dre Skull (Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg). The lyrical flow within ‘...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:01pm

★★★★

 

Grr, argh!

 

There’s much meaty metal to be had in the debut offering from Sydney stoner sludgers Black Rheno. This truly is a juicy release, with six tracks of epic brutality rumbling back to back – and six tracks is all the EP needs to prove the band’s worth. 

 

There’s something wonderfully grating about Let’s Start A Cult. With no shortage...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★★☆

 

The Nation Blue’s sheer lack of optimism is as compelling as it is disturbing.

 

Not the kind of artists to do things half-arsed, their first new material in nearly seven years sees them return with two albums at the same time: Black and Blue. It’s a lot to take in, hitting you like a sucker punch to the brain. But herein lies the beauty of this band.

...
Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★★☆

 

No space for mincing words on Let Them Eat Chaos: this is one of the most potent, powerful LP releases of 2016.

 

For those unfamiliar with her work, Kate Tempest is a multi-awarded and much-lauded poet, playwright and spoken word artist hailing from South-East London. Her appearance on Q&A earlier this year was incredibly affecting viewing, and that...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★☆

 

New-York-based alt-rock group The Pretty Reckless present their most honest and experimental album yet.

 

After a gimmicky introduction to music, the band has earned its place in the scope of modern rock – and man, are we glad about that.

 

There is a definite progression on this album as The Pretty Reckless have ventured out of their sonic...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

★★★☆

 

The princess of whimsy returns with a style adhering to the polish of What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, while injecting a dose of her old wit and a new serve of direct emotional address.

 

Spektor is always at her best when embracing her weirdo Soviet kitsch, so when the piano kicks in for ‘Grand Hotel’, her familiar warmth and playfulness emerge like the...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

★★★★

 

Josh Rennie-Hynes’ Furthermore arrives as a solid follow-up to his previous effort, February.

 

An organic, self-produced record, the album finds Rennie-Hynes exploring new terrain while sticking to what he does best: writing songs that linger long after the first listen.

 

Slow-burner ‘Where Do I Go’ begins the album on an introspective note,...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

★★★★

 

Thigh Master’s debut LP couldn’t have come soon enough.

 

The Queenslanders have become an established national touring act over the past few years, solidifying their position as a major part of this country’s indie rock circuit.

 

Now that they’ve dropped their first album after a few seven-inch releases, we finally have a solid chunk of Thigh...

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