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Album Reviews

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:49pm

★★★

 

Treating your ears to Morgan Delt’s homegrown kaleidoscopic melodiousness is akin to taking a sip from a cool glass of ’60s psych.

 

The record kicks off with the powerful ‘I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside’. The dreamy, near-ethereal track is leisurely paced, acting as the perfect preface for a 39-minute escapade through a host of imagined worlds. A...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:48pm

★★★☆

 

Regarded as one of the most exciting new additions to Australia’s rock scene, Harts has delivered the record we’ve all been been waiting for.

 

Though his sound is marked out by deliberate invocations of the psychedelic soul power of the ’60s it also mixes in the indie-rock stylings of a more recent time.

 

After being eased into the experience...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:48pm

★★★★

 

Mindfullness is a rich, glowing stream awash with light: a summery escape and a shoegazey work of art. 

 

Melbourne’s Flyying Colours have stumbled on the perfect album title for their music: their sound is wholly arresting in the moment, but deeply introspective and even therapeutic. 

 

Mindfullness’ sea of distortion drags you in with the...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:48pm

★★★

 

Already hitting album number two, Melbourne’s Ceres truly impress with Drag It Down On You.

 

‘‘91, Your House’ is a blistering bag of emotion, while the screamed chorus, “I’m a piece of shit” has all the kind of naked self-criticism that will resonate with anyone who has ever doubted themselves – AKA, everyone.

 

‘Laundry Echo’ is filled with...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 4:40pm

★★★★★

 

Skeleton Tree is an un-album. It’s a record defined by loss, a chronicle of missing things, and its power derives as much from what it doesn’t contain as from what it does. Songs break and buckle under the weight of suggestion, and a host of known unknowns press down on the record with all the insistence of a brain tumour against the back of the eye.

 

The...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:11pm

★★★★

 

In this age of changing technology, bands seem to find it hard to resist the urge to alter or tweak their sound in some way.

 

But despite the pressing lust for the new, Unity Floors have evidently heard the cries for more that rang out after the release of their debut album, Exotic Goldfish Blues, and have given us a delicious dose of the same rather than...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:10pm

★★★★

 

The Ocean Party have been making brilliant albums for some time now, and they’re not slowing down:  their sixth studio release, Restless, continues on from where Light Weight left off last year.

 

Their distinctive crisp, jangly guitar chord sound remains, as do the introspective takes on the state of modern Australia. It’s a formula that works for the band:...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:10pm

★★★★

 

Rebel Yell is the brainchild of industrial noise artist Grace Stevenson.

 

The Brisbane musician also plays in 100%, an underground electronic act from Queensland’s capital, and though things are less accessible under her solo guise, they’re certainly no less interesting.

 

The imagery on Mother Of Millions is bleak, offering a dystopian future...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:10pm

★★★

 

They say misery loves company, so if you’re feeling miserable, you’ll find no better company than the latest offering from Okkervil River.

 

You have to be in a certain kind of mood to digest Away – it’s an emotional transcript of hard times experienced by the band’s lead singer Will Sheff, and the poignant strains of the album may well leave you feeling, well...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:10pm

★★★☆

 

The latest release from American indie rockers Local Natives is a bouncy rubber ball of synth that just doesn’t stop.

 

But despite its high energy, the pulsating multitude of instruments are layered in such a way that it’s never overbearing. 

 

Singer Taylor Rice’s lead vocals are distinctly haunting, particularly on ‘Past Lives’, a beautiful...

Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:09pm

★★★☆

 

Dub FX has made his way from busking on the streets of Melbourne to become one of the world’s most recognised street and stage performers.

 

More commonly known as Ben Stanford, his fusion of beat-boxing, dub, reggae, electronics and hip hop has earned him one hell of a reputation.

 

His third album Thinking Clear was recorded in his very own...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:54pm

★★★★☆

 

Towards the beginning of J.G. Ballard’s Crash, the book’s narrator finds himself in a horrendous car crash.

 

But the experience isn’t a traumatic one; rather, it’s liberating. “After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident,” he says.

 

That sense of ecstatic pain – of...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:54pm

★★★★

 

Like a trickster god of American song, Cass McCombs seems to appear every couple of years with a skewed take on a different vein of popular music.

 

On Mangy Love, McCombs brings his gifts to the worlds of soul and West Coast psychedelia, scratching your dad’s Steely Dan itch while showcasing some of his best songwriting to date. Though some may find its...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:53pm

★★★

 

An absurd hippie child of a debut, Drugdealer’s The End Of Comedy could be about everything or absolutely nothing: in this paradox lies its possible genius.

 

Los Angeles artist Michael Collins’ work with Drugdealer is not unlike his doped up creations under previous monikers Salvia Plath and Run DMT. Between a church-belled beginning and the manic laughter...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:53pm

★★★

 

Heavy Days was the first instalment of Jeff the Brotherhood’s spiritual trilogy, followed by We Are The Champions a couple of years after that.

 

Five years later comes the concluding chapter, Zone. 

 

The album opens in ominous style with a thundering beat and a heavy slacker vocal, sounding like Pavement on a diet of Quaaludes. “I’m totally...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:53pm

★★★☆

 

Like so many surf films, Paul Witzig’s 1969 flick Evolution barely had a plot: it was simply a group of surfers travelling around the world catching waves and indulging in the secular spiritualism of surfing.

 

The soundtrack to Evolution was provided by Australian psychedelic prog band Tamam Shud. Finally rereleased, the record captures the zeitgeist of the...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:53pm

★★★☆

 

Active Galactic contains the sort of groovy tunes you’d hear sitting at the bar in The Restaurant at The End of the Universe, smashing Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters with your semi-half-cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox.

 

Think ’70s disco meets reggae with a surfy rock’n’roll creamy centre. Most tracks are so psychedelic that they will probably induce multiple...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:52pm

★★★

 

Twin Atlantic’s GLA is the first album the group has released after taking almost a year off.

 

It’s a slightly heavier record than the ones the Glasgow lads have previously turned in, and it drifts ever so slightly from the poppier rock that they’ve presented in the past.

 

‘No Sleep’ is perhaps the greatest example of this: it’s got a pop punk...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:16pm

★★★★☆

 

De La Soul, pioneers of alternative ’90s hip hop, have escaped the creative chains of record labels, shrugged off previous sampling battles and delivered a 17-track, genre-fusing original.

 

Described by Nas himself as “avant-garde”, And The Anonymous Nobody... laces sounds from decades past with the modern day hip hop voices. The result is a journey through...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:15pm

 

It’s funny how some perceive and attain enlightenment.

 

Travel, books, spirituality – many attribute these to having some sort of positive effect that keeps them mentally and physically healthy for years to come. 

 

But at what point do we become too enlightened? That question is answered on Gonjasufi’s newest release Callus, where the Californian...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:15pm

★★★

 

The somewhat condescending assumption that commercial albums are ‘lesser’ than grainier, more difficult work is one that has retaken a disappointingly firm grip on contemporary culture in recent years.

 

Just take the enormous sniff let out by critics and consumers alike when Margaret Glaspy’s Emotions And Math was picked as triple j’s album of the week, as...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:15pm

★★★

 

Don’t go into King Of The North’s new album, Get Out Of Your World, expecting an exercise in musical banality and mindless frivolity.

 

Though the record starts relatively innocuously with a few stray shards of guitar, some disparate beats, a guttural voice and a ten-tonne LA rock riff in ‘Rise’, before long it transforms into a behemoth: a rocking, bluesy...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:14pm

★★★☆

 

Teeth & Tongue’s fourth album Give Up On Your Health is an electrifying move into synth-based territory for Jess Cornelius and her band.

 

As the sounds on the album get more experimental, the bolder Cornelius becomes, inviting listeners into the engrossing urgency of her vignettes.

 

The opening track is Blondie meets Ladyhawke, as layers...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:14pm

★★★

 

Welcome to the world, Beach Baby.

 

No Mind No Money is the sound of a band bursting onto the international stage, scoring some real hits in the process. ‘Limousine’ opens proceedings and suggests a quick ascent to bigger things, but it’s the titular track that really has the true punch of melody behind it. One cannot help but marvel at the self-effacing “A...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:14pm

★★★★☆

 

On the whole, contemporary indie rock seems particularly prey to unfulfilled potential.

 

Disappointingly often, musicians in the genre set up a situation or a sound that they then seem unable to bring to fruition, hinting at an emotional maturity that their fragile tunes bend and break under. 

 

Georgia Mulligan is the exception to that...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:07pm

★★★★★

 

Roses Always Die is a powerful, shockingly sparse and sardonic record.

 

Featuring singer-songwriter Sarah Mary Chadwick accompanied by a keyboard and what sounds like its factory setting drum beats, the album challenges the listener with ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek bleakness, coming across like Morrissey on ketamine and green tea.

 

Not...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:07pm

★★★★☆

 

It’s not just the title – Sophie Hutchings’ Wide Asleep is, from beginning to end, a paradox.

 

It’s somehow soft yet significant; gentle yet ginormous; an atom and the Earth. There is weight to the piece, tremendous weight, despite the fact that it requires surprisingly little of its audience. This is an album that is generous with its beauty, a record...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:07pm

★★★★☆

 

The Veils’ fifth record quivers and shouts.

 

It gets under your skin like a bad dream, feeding you a chain of maudlin metaphors and haphazardly drawn-out instrumentals. A stream of dark imagery underpins Total Depravity, as lead singer Finn Andrews’ voice careens between a defiant snarl and a meek murmur, giving the album an eerie, ‘60s horror film feel. ...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:07pm

★★★☆

 

Douglas Mawson’s 1912 Antarctic expedition is an enthralling and harrowing story of human tragedy and endurance.

 

With the explorers’ bodies suffering the effects of malnutrition, one of Mawson’s party went mad, and another fell to his death in a crevice.  Mawson himself narrowly escaped the same fate.

 

What does that have to do with Marilyn...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:06pm

★★☆

 

After Alice Glass’ dramatic parting with Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles in 2014, it seemed the dream was over.

 

But Kath is back with new vocalist Edith Frances, in a discomfiting simulacrum of what once was.

 

Crystal Castle’s schismatic brand of assaulting electro bares its teeth in bangers like ‘Fleece’ and ‘Enth’, tracks that hint there may...

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