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Music Features

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:02pm

There’s nothing quite like a band that really strips back a new release to prove it hasn’t forgotten the roots of its original sound.

 

Brace sees Australian rock stalwarts Birds Of Tokyo do just that. The dark and dystopian record embraces a more heavy and urgent attitude, focused around the history of sounds that made Birds Of Tokyo one of the country’s most popular...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 10:53am

Over the last five years, The Rubens have proven themselves a living embodiment of that classic Kelly/Carmody lyric, “From little things, big things grow”.

 

They’re the little acorn that fell from the tree, rolling out and away from their humble country town beginnings to plant their roots and blossom into a mighty oak of musical achievement.

 

Last year alone saw...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 10:30am

The much-loved Newtown Festival has had a facelift after 38 years.

 

Event director Gill Minervini is part of the new team charged with delivering its new look. Formerly creative director of City of Sydney Events, she’s also had a hand in Winter Feast for Dark Mofo and Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. For her, Newtown Festival offered more than just a convenient geographical...

Posted 4 Nov 2016 @ 12:36pm

There is perhaps nothing less rock’n’roll than being nominated for a major music award. 

 

After all, the idea of receiving an accolade from the very system bands often find themselves directly opposed to seems almost oxymoronic: “Here’s your prize for not caring about things like prizes!” is what a MTV statuette or honorary induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seems to...

Posted 4 Nov 2016 @ 9:00am

The Dillinger Escape Plan have released their last album before an indefinite hiatus, to sighs of relief echoing from venue owners across the globe.

 

OK, that might be an exaggeration, but singer Greg Puciato remains proud of his band’s longevity.

 

“If you were to ask me 13 years ago if in 2016 The Dillinger Escape Plan would be a band that people care about, I’d...

Posted 3 Nov 2016 @ 11:00am

After 25 years, the era of crazy-sexy-cool is drawing to a close.

 

TLC – one of the most celebrated pop acts of the ’90s and among the highest-selling all-female groups of all time – have announced that a fifth and final studio album will arrive in 2017. Even with the impending conclusion of TLC as we know it, the group’s surviving members – Tionne Watkins (AKA T-Boz) and...

Posted 3 Nov 2016 @ 10:00am

Joel Sena was 11 years old when he met the love of his life.

 

But the story of his prepubescent romance is less Romeo And Juliet and more The Taming Of The Shrew, and it wasn’t exactly a case of instant mutual appreciation. Indeed, the subject of Sena’s adoration was forced upon him by his parents, and he initially struggled with his chosen partner. 

 

“I started...

Posted 3 Nov 2016 @ 10:00am

Australia’s progressive music scene is in the best shape it’s been for years.

 

The early 2000s saw the first massive rise of Australian prog, with the charge led by the likes of Karnivool and Cog. But by the turn of the decade, the seemingly indestructible bubble of prog and alternative rock had burst, leaving venues absent of 6/8 time signatures and pedal boards the size of...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 11:51am

See One More Time With Feeling, the documentary about the making of Skeleton Tree, at Event Cinemas this Thursday December 1 - Sunday December 4.

 

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Towards the centre of Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor, a hunted man takes a phone call from a Mexican Jefe to talk...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 10:38am

Creative collaboration is a pain in the arse. 

 

With so many egos tied up in one project, it’s almost impossible not to hurt someone’s feelings, or to tarnish the product by allowing far too many cooks to spoil the broth. Indeed, for that reason, The Laurels’ Sonicology is not just a musical triumph, it’s a goddamn celebration of diplomacy – proof that a band can get together...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 10:17am

After roaring out of Canada in the early 2000s, it didn’t take long for Alexisonfire to reach legendary status.

 

15 years, four studio albums and countless tours later, the band has become a staple in many a record collection. Ahead of the North Americans’ 2017 tour Down Under, we have a chat with vocalist, founding member and all-round good bloke, George Pettit. 

 

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Posted 28 Oct 2016 @ 9:00am

Born out of the break-up of Smith Westerns in 2014, Whitney are a Chicago collective led by best friends Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich.

 

Their modus operandi is to make music that is timeless and heartfelt, with hints of nostalgia and moments of serenity that draw listeners in from the very first listen. 

 

Despite their established musical relationship, the new...

Posted 27 Oct 2016 @ 1:05pm

Shirley Collins is 81 years old and her music career has been inactive for the better part of four decades.

 

And yet her forthcoming album Lodestar is the subject of rife intrigue and anticipation. 

 

In the years since her last release, the English folk singer has become something of an icon. Her recordings made between the late 1950s and late 1970s have...

Posted 27 Oct 2016 @ 11:00am

When Josh Pyke’s parents were recently moving house, they stumbled upon an unexpected memento they’d framed from the early days of Pyke’s career – a poster from the collaborative tour he and Bob Evans (AKA Kevin Mitchell) played together ten years ago.

 

When asked if he wanted it back, Pyke was gobsmacked.

 

“I was like, ‘Wow, that was 2006,’ and I realised it was...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 4:26pm

Imagine it: you’ve got together with some great friends, amazing musicians you know you can achieve great things with.

 

You work on writing and recording new material with fine prospects ahead of you. Then out of nowhere, your frontman gets sick: it’s cancer and it’s incurable. 

 

Melbourne group Big Smoke have faced incredible musical and personal hardship over...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 3:51pm

The usefulness of music conferences really can’t be overstated.

 

You hear the word ‘conference’, and sure, it doesn’t exactly sound glamorous – truth be told, it kind of sounds like a chore. But music conferences are a different kettle of fish, as the folks at Australian Music Week are keenly aware. 

 

...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:03pm

Empire Of The Sun, AKA Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore, had the world walking on a dream in 2008 and feeling alive with their second album, 2013’s Ice On The Dune.

 

After selling more than three million copies across their first two records and earning eight ARIA Awards, however, the rising stars entered a period of relative silence.

 

Three years later, the...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 11:55am

They’ve been off the radar for quite some time, hidden away working on pastry-making, kickboxing and other personal ventures, but now Cloud Control are getting ready to return with a fresh new album and a host of shows. 

 

“We’re in the final process of finishing our record, with the premixing and mixing saved,” reveals vocalist and percussionist Heidi Lenffer. “It sounds great...

Posted 21 Oct 2016 @ 2:37pm

It’s perhaps an understatement to suggest Superheist founding member DW Norton is having a bad day.

 

“It’s been hell,” Norton says. “I’ve been stuck in traffic all day … I’m driving down to the Mornington Peninsula from Melbourne at the moment. I live down in the Peninsula … but, you know, traffic sucks.”

 

He’s certainly got a point. But although it might not be...

Posted 21 Oct 2016 @ 2:20pm

Psychedelic rock music has been in vogue for much of this decade, but not too long ago it was a niche interest.

 

In 2004, for instance, psych rock wasn’t even close to trendy. That was the height of the indie rock resurgence – The Strokes and The Killers were headlining festivals, Franz Ferdinand and Yeah Yeah Yeahs were shipping loads of records and Arctic Monkeys were waiting...

Posted 21 Oct 2016 @ 10:42am

Who said selling records means selling out your sound?

 

If there is one singer who definitively proved the pop world could be injected with both heartbreak and true creativity, it was Amy Winehouse, a musician who understood that mainstream audiences don't need to be sung down to. Winehouse's tunes are uncompromising in their ferocity - unequivocally designed to batter the...

Posted 20 Oct 2016 @ 3:21pm

Let it never be said that Marcia Hines is any kind of slouch when it comes to work ethic.

 

After nearly 50 years of performing, the acclaimed showstopper has no intention of slowing down. Even when presented with some sort of downtime – as she has right now, between seasons of the acclaimed jukebox musical/circus extravaganza Velvet – Hines is hard at work on yet another show....

Posted 20 Oct 2016 @ 3:10pm

The duality of being in both The Bronx – one of the most wildly energetic, exciting bands in modern punk – as well as Mariachi El Bronx (that same band partaking in traditional Mexican folk music) is not exactly like being both Superman and Clark Kent.

 

Think of it more as being both Superman andBatman – each a hero to their part of the world, each an immeasurable arse-kicker,...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 7:11pm

When you’ve been a band for as long as Jimmy Eat World have – that’s 23 years and counting, by the way – you tend to spend an equal amount of time looking forward as you do looking back.

 

Consider, for instance, the duality of touring extensively in support of their eighth album, Damage, followed immediately by an anniversary tour celebrating a decade since the release of 2004’s...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 7:05pm

Kinky Friedman is an outspoken man and very much a straight talker.

 

Our interview is peppered with lines like, “I’m the only white man in America that uses the word ‘n***er’ in a song,” or “Our shit’s fucked up, that is the best description of the world right now.” He speaks candidly about his controversial opinions like Obama sucking (“the Forrest Gump of all Presidents”) or...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:36pm

It doesn’t matter how famous or successful you are: nobody escapes the long arm of the Australian Taxation Office.

 

Davey Lane may have spent almost two decades as the guitarist of seminal Oz rock group You Am I, winning countless accolades and plaudits in the process, but even he has to sit down and nut through his tax returns every once in a while. “I’ve just been sorting...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 11:31am

Given the emotionally-wrought and striking honesty of her music, it’s easy to forget Julien Baker is still all of 21 years old.

 

The sombre, sparse tone of her songs belies not only Baker’s age, but her mannerisms away from the work. She’s excitable and talkative, peppering the conversation with exasperations like “gosh” and “gee” while she hops from story to story. 

 ...

Posted 15 Oct 2016 @ 10:00am

After an exhausting stint of international touring, the Sticky Fingers lads have returned to Oz for the release of their new album Westway (The Glitter & The Slums), and to pull themselves back together before pissing off to the states.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, vocalist Paddy Cornwall is feeling cheeky and cheerful when talking to the BRAG, excited to discover that the...

Posted 14 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

Fergus Miller, the 26-year-old Melbourne musician who passed away this week, possessed that rare quality: he could swear beautifully. 

 

I mean, really swear. The songs he recorded under the Bored Nothing moniker are peppered with expletives, rounded out with curses that would be shocking if they weren’t sung with so much care. He dropped the F-bomb as though he were passing...

Posted 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:30am

It’s been two years since the release of Hey Daydreamer, the second solo studio album from Melbourne-via-Los Angeles singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist Sally Seltmann.

 

It should be stressed, however, that Seltmann has been far from dormant in that window of time: among a myriad of other projects, she has released a new single entitled ‘Dancing In The...

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