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Album Reviews

Posted 20 Jul 2016 @ 8:47am

★★★

 

Let’s put on the Captain Obvious cape for a second and confirm that, yes, the hallmarks of Cane Hill’s sound are an awful lot like those of Iowa’s masked maniacs Slipknot.

 

The similarity has been noted in almost every piece of media and probably dogs this quartet like door-to-door sermons on a Sunday morning.

 

However, if you not only love a...

Posted 20 Jul 2016 @ 8:35am

★★★★

 

Former Bamboos buddies Graham Pogson (G) and Ella Thompson (L) are a band on a mission.

 

The sound of their debut album lies somewhere in the realm of electro/funk/soul/R&B/pop, and while caring about fitting into an easily defined category is nowhere near the agenda, the duo’s obvious goal appears to be getting people dancing. 

 

This...

Posted 20 Jul 2016 @ 8:30am

★★★★

 

Trust Punks hail from New Zealand, though their sound has more in common with the post-punk sounds from Britain in the late ’70s than the ‘Dunedin Sound’ that Kiwi bands are inevitably always compared to. 

 

Double Bind is the group’s second album, steeped in jarring, angular tones, dissonant vocal melodies and plenty of grit. If not for the metallic sheen...

Posted 19 Jul 2016 @ 5:52pm

★★★★

 

The past is a good topic to write about. For most artists it can be a form of therapy, reliving the experience outside yourself.

 

On Supercry, Brisbane’s Emma Louise is crying out for the past; those times when she was younger, freer or in love as in ‘West End Kids’, ‘Talk Baby Talk’ and ‘Underflow’. 

 

Louise’s exploration of the past makes...

Posted 19 Jul 2016 @ 5:51pm

★★★★

 

Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist and banjoist Alesa Lajana has delved into Australia’s history post-colonisation to create this diligently researched and heartfelt collection. 

 

The CD is packaged in an insightful and aesthetically pleasing hardback booklet that places the tracks into context and provides a thought-provoking and often sobering glimpse...

Posted 19 Jul 2016 @ 5:50pm

★★★☆

 

Above & Beyond’s Acoustic II is a bit of a paradox.

 

While the album features some of the trance legends’ most well-known tunes, these acoustic reimaginings would be more at home in a speakeasy, orchestra hall, or a hole-in-the-wall gin joint. With a collection of soulful jazz and sweeping orchestral moods not dissimilar to the soundtrack of a Bond movie...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:14pm

★★★★

 

Following the success of their debut Barbed Wire Metal in 2011 and the Heart Racer EP in 2015 ,Elm Street are firing up the metal scene with their new album Knock ’Em Out… With A Metal Fist.

 

It’s an adrenaline-booster, with an explosion of twin guitar riffs and drums that instantly make you want to headbang. 

 

The record starts off with ‘Face...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:06pm

★★★★

 

Ten years ago, Witch Hats held court in the smoke, piss and vomit-stained environs of Melbourne’s Pony club, banging out bruising gothic punk melodies and spitting invective against the office-bearers of the Alphington Junior Football Club.

 

At the time, the prospect of them writing a song that sounded like The Go-Betweens would have been as incongruous as...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:58am

★★★★

 

From the lo-fi fuzz of opening track ‘Little Arrow’, Big Thief’s debut clearly marks the descent into its sweetly perturbed depths.

 

The world of Masterpiece is emotionally charged and deceptively complex for indie rock these days, but never melodramatic. It’s an honest and disarming account of the pain that comes with the gradual erosion of innocence and...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:55am

★★★★

 

It’s strange to be attracted to unintrusiveness as a musical quality, but DJ Shadow has consistently made it a hypnotic prospect.

 

His albums all feel so welcoming; they ease into your mind, ignite your curiosity and slowly entice you into his surreal vibes. Even his most energetic soundscapes don’t require any effort, and by the time you’ve realised how...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:54am

★★☆

 

Concept albums are contemporary music’s perennially uncool uncle – antiquated, lumbering things, forever accidentally embarrassing themselves at the family dinner table.

 

For every The Suburbs there’s an American Idiot, and even bands creating singularly minded albums like King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s Nonagon Infinity avoid invoking the dreaded ‘...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:53am

★★★☆

 

Featuring members of The Ocean Party and Ciggie Witch, Cool Sounds are a wonderful hybrid of their other projects, with a clear line of difference.

 

Describing themselves as ‘jazz-gaze’, they utilise synths and even the odd saxophone to create a sound that is vibrant and buoyant.

 

With track names that are as straight to the point as the songs...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:45am

★★★★

 

One of the earliest examples of anthropodermic bibliopegy – the art of binding books in human skin – is a French copy of the Bible that dates back to the 13th century.

 

Upon first glance it’s an ugly thing: a crumbling volume crafted from a very ancient pain. But spend enough time staring at its yellowed pages and the book begins to work its magic. It’s...

Posted 6 Jul 2016 @ 9:00am

★★★★★

 

It’s been 16 years.

 

16 long and painful years for fans of the geniuses who gave us Since I Left You, which ironically allowed The Avalanches to fall off the face of the Earth. No shows, no announcements – nothing. Until now.

 

Wildflower is an album that gives a spirit to the hopeless, an outlet for the weird and the wonderful to get lost in...

Posted 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:55am

★★★★

 

Oh, isn’t it great when you discover an album that delivers on all fronts – lyrically, melodically and with originality?

 

When your ears get the opportunity to experience an album that features toe-tapping, whistling, hum-along tracks right up until the very end? Oh yes it is, and the latest release from Oh Pep! is just this.

 

Here we have an...

Posted 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:54am

★★★★

 

After playing musical chairs with record companies for a number of years, American soul shaker Eli Paperboy Reed has finally found a home with Yep Roc.

 

It’s that age-old story of a major label promising the world and not only not delivering but dropping the wannabe superstar. So back to basics it is. And taking this spiritual homecoming to heart, Reed’s...

Posted 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:52am

★★★

 

Cat’s Eyes create music shrouded in darkness, largely due to the solemn voices of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and soprano Rachel Zeffira.

 

Treasure House follows the duo’s self-titled debut from 2011, and stylistically not much has changed. Cat’s Eyes’ signature chamber pop remains intact, with the sound still managing to be both dramatic and spellbinding....

Posted 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:45am

★★★☆

 

Sydney locals Jenny Broke The Window’s second EP Feels Good contains three brand new tunes in addition to earlier singles ‘Black Skeleton’, ‘Skinny Dip’ and ‘Airport Love’.

 

The indie-pop collective definitely have a Last Dinosaurs vibe going on with the interplay between echoey, layered vocals and often independently moving basslines. This is especially the...

Posted 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:40am

★★★★

 

Like a recidivist grave robber, Mick Harvey returns for a third time to pillage the rather substantial body of work left by Serge Gainsbourg.

 

This is a mausoleum that keeps drawing Harvey, and he shows no sign of abating in his desire to re-enliven the work of the famous Frenchman.

 

In his time, Gainsbourg managed to straddle the divide...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 9:00am

★★★★

 

The New Zealand-born duo Broods keep going from strength to strength, with only two years passing since their first studio album, Evergreen.

 

Their new effort, Conscious, is a big step forward, boasting the upbeat emotion of their signature synth beats and melodic vocals from Georgia Nott.

 

We hit the ground running with ‘Free’, an incredibly...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:45am

★★★

 

Like M&M’s through popcorn or fries dipped in ice-cream, electronic musician Brightly’s latest LP One For Sorrow, Two For Joy is a peculiar clashing of musical flavours that will either charm or alarm you.

 

Perhaps both. Reverberating with dewy chords, blustery synths and dreamy delay, it’s unsurprising to learn that this third crowd-funded release from...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:35am

★★★★

 

There can’t be many songs about the identity crisis of a small horse.

 

“Look at my hair, see how I run,” sings guest vocalist and former Nouvelle Vague singer Mélanie Pain on the second track of Coda’s new album. “Am I a pony? Or a baby giraffe?”

 

Whatever creature Pain really is, there’s no doubt that Golden Times is a strange animal. It is...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:30am

★★★★

 

It’s easy to write off a covers album, but Diesel has proven many times during his career that he has an incredible ability to pull off the impossible and make any song his own.

 

Americana shows respect for the original versions while cleverly Diesel-fying them.

 

It takes a brave musician to tackle Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’, for instance,...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:20am

★★☆

 

Towards the beginning of John Berger’s seminal work of criticism Ways Of Seeing, the writer presents a comparatively subtle Van Gogh painting of a crow standing in a field.

 

Turn over the page, and there’s Berger’s shocking addendum – it was the last artwork Van Gogh painted before he killed himself. 

 

Context affects art. You can’t see Van...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:15am

★★★☆

 

You could easily liken the energy and potty humour of Blink-182’s new album California with their 1999 release Enema Of The State.

 

This comeback record’s anthemic pop-punk attitude is rife with reminiscent lyrics, catchy melodies and downright silliness.

 

The addition of Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba to the band (in the absence of Tom DeLonge)...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:00am

★★★☆

 

Band Of Horses’ music has always been in the right place at the wrong time.

 

The place: cruising highways, staring down sunsets, dreaming of California. The time: here and now. 

 

If Ben Bridwell and co. were writing songs like ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’, ‘The Funeral’ and even ‘Knock Knock’ (from the maligned Mirage Rock) a few decades ago,...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 9:00am

★★★★

 

“I think we should make a record together.” This email from k.d. lang to Neko Case and Laura Veirs was the single spark that lit the flame of case/lang/veirs.

 

And yet, these three perform together on this debut effort as if they have been doing so for years. 

 

By triangulating the sheer force and resonance of their individual voices, the...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:57am

★★★★

 

They might hark back to early developments of both pub rock and punk in Australia from a musical standpoint, but Melbourne-via-Canberra’s Hoodlum Shouts are more pertinent to the here and now than practically any other band. 

 

Their 2012 debut, Young Man Old Man, was an eloquent indictment of both the political and personal – particularly focusing on their...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:55am

★★★★

 

After a relatively long hiatus, The Strokes are back with their latest creation – a bold and punchy four-track EP.

 

Regardless of whether this a mere teaser of what’s to come, or the only thing we’re going to get, Future Present Past invites you on board a time machine deftly operated by the band’s frontman, Julian Casablancas.

 

The EP...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:50am

★★★☆

 

Years after she switched off her synthesizer and found full-time comfort in the arms of a six-string, it’s a unique phenomenon for one to find Beth Orton’s voice in its original habitat following so long in the proverbial wilderness. 

 

Long before she was a folksy troubadour type, Orton made her name by working with the likes of William Orbit and The...

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