h

Album Reviews

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:06pm

★★★☆

 

Dynamic and emotive, And Then Like Lions begins with a reflection on the breakdown of singer/songwriter Israel Nebeker’s 13-year-relationship, and ends with a tribute to his father, whose battle with cancer and death is much of the album’s focus.

 

Opening track ‘Umpqua Rushing’ announces a softer sound for the folk band. It’s a slow and hazy grower, gently...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 4:06pm

★★☆

 

The third studio release from southern California rockers Young The Giant takes the band’s sound in an unexpected new direction.

 

In some ways, it’s as though they’ve lost the playfulness, optimism and naivety that was so striking in their first release, Young The Giant, and gained a more cynical, serious edge.

 

‘Amerika’ opens the album and...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:48am

★★★★☆

 

J Mascis isn’t a talker – ask the artist about his art and you’re likely to find yourself making a neat turn into a dead end.

 

Nor is he a therapist – though his music is full of a deeply downplayed kind of heartbreak, he’s seemingly unwilling to offer solutions. 

 

Nor is he a poet, though his lyrics are often filled with poetry. The new...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

★★★★

 

The Brotherhood Of Lizards aren’t simply a niche band.

 

‘Niche’ is to the Brotherhood as ‘ever-so-slightly driven by self-interest’ is to Donald Trump, and if you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh yeah, I know that band,” you’re either in a painfully slim minority, or you’re a liar.

 

And yet if anything seems ready to send the group lurching back...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

★★★

 

Hockey Dad’s debut LP, Boronia, is exactly what you’d expect from a surf rock album.

 

Named after the street where Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming grew up together, Boronia is proof these New South Wales surf coast boys know precisely how to write a tune for their genre.

 

Boronia bursts open with the anthemic ‘Can’t Have Them’. Immediately...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

★★

 

In their blasting debut, Melbourne metalheads Meshiaakpower through a tracklist that is polished, precise and utterly uninspired. 

 

Legendary drummer Jon Dette (of Slayer/Testament/Iced Earth fame) picks up MVP, laying down earthquake-level tectonics to ground his bandmates, but all the outer appearances of legitimacy lend nothing to Meshiaak’s sound.

...
Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

★★☆

 

Not content with taking shots at Hollywood’s finest at the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais and his alter ego David Brent are back with their debut record – the soundtrack to the upcoming film Life On The Road.

 

Gervais, the former singer-songwriter of the unheralded ’80s synthpop band Seona Dancing, might in fact be belatedly living the rock star life. He’s...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

★★★☆

 

The band formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad is back in the saddle with a new name, an album title that’s a shoo-in for best of the year and a fresh half-hour of fighting the power attached to it. 

 

Six albums in, it’s safe to know what to expect from Sean Bonnette and co. as they blend folk-rock leanings with reckless punk abandon in one of the more...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 11:41am

★★★★

 

Of Montreal’s Innocence Reaches is a dance record for people who don’t like to dance, a collection of anthemic bangers crafted for you, the person who just read the phrase ‘anthemic bangers’ and involuntarily flinched away.

 

‘Innocence’ is the operative word. As ever, Of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes sings with a wide-eyed vulnerability. To say his...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:02pm

★★★★☆

 

Bringing together facets of each member’s heritage, including Tanzania, Malaysia and Spain (to name but a few), the multicultural melting pot that is Lakuta’s Brothers & Sisters completely unifies all nationalities in musicality. 

 

Equal parts jazz, soul and funk, with dashes of ska, Latin and Caribbean tones, UK-based collective Lakuta have not only...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:02pm

★★☆

 

After a five-year hiatus, MSTRKRFT’s low-key return takes the duo back to its roots.

 

Operator is predictable, almost retro electro-punk, complete with traces of calculated madness. 

 

While Operator offers up a quick dose of nostalgia, the album is mostly nauseating,  repetitive in a way that resembles a broken dentist’s drill. 

 

...
Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:02pm

★★★★

 

Intricate storytelling and refined hip hop beats come to a head in Omar Musa’s latest EP, Dead Centre.

 

In between stints as a prized novelist and poet, Musa takes his lyrical ability to another realm as he cleverly weaves his words in this new body of work. Having taken a hiatus after his last musical release in 2012, Dead Centre offers an insight into the...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:01pm

★★★★☆

 

Long-term fans of Australian singer Kylie Auldist are unlikely to be surprised by her recent international chart-busting action.

 

‘This Girl’ by Kungs vs Cookin’ On 3 Burners – featuring Auldist’s eternally soulful vocals – may be alerting the wider public to her unique suite of talents, yet she has always produced gold standard performances both in the...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:01pm

★★★★☆

 

Given her dramatic rise, it’s easy to forget that aside from a handful of singles, Alex Lahey is yet to release a full body of work.

 

Lahey’s debut EP B-Grade University explores the existential crisis most 20-somethings face, documenting the highs and lows of adulthood.

 

Opener ‘Ivy League’ arrives via feedback and melodic guitars as Lahey...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:01pm

★★★★☆

 

The latest offering from Storm The Sky comes with a delectable array of multi genre treats to suggest there’s nothing on the scene right now that sounds quite like this.

 

The Melbourne-based ‘death-pop’ band’s new album is an intensely personal exploration of demon-wrestling and post-break-up resentment.

 

Opening with deep vocals and plenty...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:00pm

★★★

 

Afraid Of Heights is the fifth studio album from Canadian punk band Billy Talent, and the first album they’ve released in the absence of original drummer Aaron Solowoniuk, who has been forced to take a lengthy break from music due to health concerns.

 

That said, Alexisonfire’s Jordan Hastings is the one holding the sticks on this album, and he doesn’t miss a...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:13am

★★★★☆

 

Montaigne springs forth in this ambitious debut album with confidence and zest, and brings the pop world something it desperately needed: innovation.

 

While at times you can certainly hear the influence of artists like Megan Washington (see the playful keyboard riff in ‘Because I Love You’), and even traces of Regina Spektor (the percussive vocals in ‘Clip...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:12am

★★★★

 

Where My Heart Broke is the third release from honky-tonk aficionados The Bakersfield Glee Club, and while they stay close to their roots, they do travel some more Aussie-inflected country roads.

 

‘Sweet Bird Of Youth’, the raucous, Southern-rock-washed ‘Drinks Are On The House’ and the waltzy ‘Thank You’are all standout tracks.True to their hard country/...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:12am

★★★

 

On their second album, World Feels Wide, Riflebirds continue to showcase their impressive blend of genres and instrumental formations, helped by the fact they’ve got six talented musicians in the group.

 

Opening track ‘Last Train’ immediately puts your mind at ease with a sweeping country melody and vocals from Rowan Roebig, while the instrumental intro of ‘...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:12am

★★

 

Omar Rodríguez-López’s Sworn Virgins is less an album and more a garage sale.

 

It’s the first of 12 solo records Rodríguez-López is releasing this year. Yup, 12. The 40-year-old Puerto Rican of The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In fame has sifted through his personal works from 2008 to 2013 and laid them on the lawn.

 

If it wasn’t for the label...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:11am

★★★★

 

On the songwriting front, Whitechapel’s Mark Of The Blade is back to mid-tempo basics and brutal simplicity, anchored by Phil Bozeman’s low growl.

 

The album isn’t without its surprises, however, with much discussion already surrounding Bozeman’s decision to use clean vocals. ‘Bring Me Home’ sees the Tennessee rockers try their hand at the largely unexplored...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:11am

★★★★

 

It’s been a fabulous year for progressive death metal, with magnificent releases from Fallujah, Black Crown Initiate and now Aussies (and adopted Canadians) The Schoenberg Automaton.

 

Initial impressions are that of an absolutely brutal, visceral experience. The music relentlessly bludgeons the listener around the head with its intensity and the vocals howl...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 9:00am

★★★★☆

 

Nick Cave once remarked that sadness is a natural emotion, a psychological state that can only be defined by reference to pleasant times.

 

Theologians will note that God created light out of dark; one cannot exist without the other.

 

There is a mixture of dark and light on Cash Savage and The Last Drinks’ new album, One Of Us. The album opens...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 8:55am

★★★☆

 

Mike Kinsella may have achieved cult status off the back of a solitary LP – 1999’s eponymous effort from American Football – but under no circumstances has he rested on his laurels because of that.

 

In fact, his solo career – under the moniker Owen – has come close to eclipsing the legacy of his previous band several times, forging his way into a distinct...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 8:54am

★★★★

 

Sydney-based indie rock group Gang Of Youths are back with the same ethereal sounds, folksy beats and grand storytelling that earned them five ARIA Award nominations last year, and then some.

 

Let Me Be Clear goes beyond the ordinary methods of storytelling. You never quite know when a song will start or finish, as the EP samples unexpected sounds like the...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 8:48am

★★★

 

Sydney boy Alex Lloyd meanders between the despondent passion that marked his earlier work and a more mature calmness in this acoustic exploration of his greatest hits.

 

A bit of a mixed bag, Acoustica pays tribute to the 16-year evolution of Lloyd from underground favourite to ARIA Award-winner. The compilation opens with ‘Amazing’, arguably Lloyd’s best-...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 8:45am

★★★★

 

Now on the other side of the generation gap, Good Charlotte have offered up an aptly titled album that serves as a “back in my day” type of speech in an effort to show the kids how it’s done.

 

Youth Authority is a perfect mix of bangers à la ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous’ and soft crooners to ease the pop-punk lover that we all have inside us. The boys...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 8:40am

★★★★

 

Almost a quarter of a century into their fight, Dreadnaught are a true Aussie heavy music institution, and they deserve nothing but respect for the persistence and determination they have shown over the years.

 

To survive all this time against everything life and music has thrown at them is quite remarkable. Oh, and they continue to put out ridiculously...

Posted 26 Jul 2016 @ 5:42pm

★★★★

 

When you’ve made a name for yourself almost entirely on the back of your live reputation, how do you draw people into your music away from the stage?

 

This conundrum is perhaps – at least, in part – the key to explaining the half-decade and change it has taken for Sydney-via-Austinmer’s Totally Unicorn to put out their debut album. 

 

It’s...

Posted 20 Jul 2016 @ 9:00am

★★★★

 

OK, before I begin, let me say this: our very existence is on a knife-edge and everyone dies alone.

 

In a world of uncertainty, we have to grab hold of whatever takes the edge off the grim reality on the front pages. The country’s going to hell in a Hanson-shaped handcart, so the time for plunging worried fingernails into the small certainties that make life...

Pages