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Music Reviews

Posted 27 Mar 2017 @ 10:17am

Reviewed on Thursday March 23 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Mike Noga has the devil in him. The one-time drummer for The Drones has emerged from the shadows and become a verifiable onstage horror, bolstered in no small part by the release of his excellent new upcoming record King.

 

Indeed, taking to the Metro Theatre stage on Thursday, the man drank up the spotlight as...

Posted 27 Mar 2017 @ 10:02am

Reviewed on Friday March 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

When it comes to explaining post-rock to people, it’s usually easiest to say something like, “Think adventurous alternative rock without the lyrics.” The support at the anticipated Sleepmakeswaves Sydney show were a good example. Caligula’s Horse are a solid – if not always thrilling – outfit that represent the metal side of the...

Posted 24 Mar 2017 @ 11:16am

It’s no wonder Parramatta is being heralded as Australia’s next major city.

 

From vast proposals for urban renewal, to new initiatives for live music, and the opening of trendy cafes and restaurants en masse throughout Western Sydney, the attraction to this new cultural capital is plain to see. 

 

With Sydney’s most culturally diverse population residing in the...

Posted 21 Mar 2017 @ 12:38pm

Reviewed on Saturday March 18

 

Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly, socks and shoes, Wayne and Garth, and most importantly, wine and music. How could that not be a winning combination? The man behind Hot Dub Time Machine, Tom Loud, sure thought so. After the success of his aptly named Hot Dub Wine Machine event in McLaren Vale in 2016, Loud decided to bring his...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 12:51pm

Reviewed on Saturday March 18 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Amid a sea of nostalgia-baiting anniversary tours, there are a few notable standouts. The best of them show that the passing of time has taken none of the fire out of the music, nor the band itself.

 

For tonight’s openers Screamfeeder, a stalwart of Australia’s grunge/garage scene, nostalgia was far from the...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 12:50pm

Reviewed on Friday March 17 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

In 2012, Endless Heights first played the Enmore supporting Refused. Back then, the youthful hardcore outfit were visibly terrified of playing such a room – a far cry from the PCYCs and halls they were used to. Smash cut to this evening and it's as if they're a completely different band. Now as forthright and confident as they'...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 10:55am

Reviewed on Sunday March 19

 

Sydney jangle-pop merchants Body Type are not exactly the loudest or most raucous band on the scene. Still, juxtaposed with tonight's headliner it's essentially an equal level of disparity as a two-act bill comprised of Nick Drake and… well, Drake. But hey, more life to Body Type – after all, they're quickly becoming one of the most exciting bands to...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 9:31am

Reviewed on Friday March 17

 

The Friday night atmosphere at Oxford Art Factory felt a world away from its pre-midnight, dull and rain-soaked Sydney setting. It started with a mellow and bubbly crowd filling out while Sampology live-sampled and built a groove for the headliner to launch from. The room was eager, best represented by a sole crowd member sashaying with flair,...

Posted 17 Mar 2017 @ 2:54pm

Reviewed on Wednesday March 15 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

During the first three songs of his Sydney show, (‘Mark My Words’, ‘Get Used To It’ and 'Where Are Ü Now'), Justin Bieber spent a substantial amount of time performing inside boxes and cages. It could easily be assumed the cages were a thinly veiled metaphor for how trapped he feels by the rock’n’roll lifestyle. The...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:52pm

★★★★

 

Melbourne-based producer Roland Tings’ latest release Each Moment A Diamond is a phenomenal piece of art; a six-track, 30-minute reprieve from the daily grind.

 

Once inside Tings’ aural landscape it’s near-impossible not to feel utter and complete bliss. The tools of his trade are much the same as those of other producers: 707 claps, Juno basslines and keys...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:52pm

★★★★

 

Spoon have made a career out of changing the questions right when listeners think they have all the answers.

 

In particular, the band’s 2000s output saw the songs that toyed the most with genre semantics become their best-known tracks – the piano pop of ‘The Way We Get By’, the disco/glam shuffle of ‘I Turn My Camera On’ and the mariachi-flavoured triumph...

Posted 13 Mar 2017 @ 11:53am

Reviewed on Sunday March 12 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

There are only two kinds of heavy music in the world – Meshuggah, and those cowering in Meshuggah’s blood-soaked wake.

 

But, as often is the case in this genre, the gods were kind and saw fit to take in Blacktown belligerents Thy Art Is Murder as they ransacked the nation. With the impressively consistent return...

Posted 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:48am

Reviewed on Friday March 10

 

The last time tonight's headliners performed in Sydney, a fiery up-and-coming band by the name of Gang Of Youths were opening. Since then, they have gone on to become one of the country's most in-demand and celebrated acts – not entirely on account of their Frightened Rabbit slot, of course, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.

 

In the...

Posted 10 Mar 2017 @ 4:05pm

Reviewed on Thursday March 9

 

Synthesisers have been all the rage the last few years in live music. However, having a synth player who practises, has a creative output, and is willing not to look so bored that they might just fall asleep in front of an audience is apparently getting tougher to find. Cue tonight’s opening act Skull And Dagger, who proved that drowning your...

Posted 10 Mar 2017 @ 10:47am

Reviewed on Thursday March 9

 

It's a cross-generational affair tonight at the Enmore, with a diverse demographic comfortably filling out the room. Whatever age, whatever background and wherever they are in the venue, the 2,500-strong crowd are united in one thing: singing, dancing and celebrating their love of the band that has, in one way or another, kept ska alive for nearly...

Posted 10 Mar 2017 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Wednesday March 8

 

Looking around the half-empty Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with only 15 minutes to go until showtime, you can’t help but be struck by how odd a venue this is for a band like Kasabian.

 

With seating all the way down to the stage, no support band, and only two drinks allowed per visit to the bar, the experience is already unlike...

Posted 9 Mar 2017 @ 9:59am

Reviewed on Tuesday March 7

 

Pixies’ latest Sydney show was, without a shadow of a doubt, a wonderful testament to their body of work.

 

It’s a catalogue that draws influences from a wide range of places; so much so that David Bowie, a public admirer of the group, once paraphrased the famous Sex Pistols myth – that anyone who attended Pixies’ early gigs had then...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 5:37pm

★★★☆

 

Laura Marling’s latest beautiful collection of folk musings is perfect for rainy day listening, but don’t be fooled by the floaty nature of her tunes – the songs are layered with meaning.

 

The title, Semper Femina, means ‘always a woman’, and thus Marling’s songs explore feminine identity through relationships, youth, failure and seeking freedom.

 ...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 2:23pm

★★★★

 

If you expected Kingswood to return with an album reminiscent of their 2014 debut, Microscopic Wars, then you may be initially disappointed by what you’ll find on its follow-up.

 

However, fear not: After Hours, Close To Dawn forges a completely new road for the band, and despite being an eclectic mix of genres, instruments and styles, it works. Beautifully...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 2:23pm

★★★★

 

The Waifs’ latest release is perhaps their best yet.

 

In an album written as a ‘thank you’ to fans, Ironbark celebrates the band’s 25-year career with a collection of songs that aim to make you feel more Zen than you ever have before. Each track on this bumper release pulses with crisp beats and vocal harmonies that harness all the beauty of a lullaby.

...
Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 2:10pm

Reviewed on Tuesday March 7

 

It’s been said before that ‘everything old is new again’; an adage that was made quite clear at the Enmore Theatre when C.W. Stoneking fused his take on Mississippi Delta blues to Nathaniel Rateliff’s alt-gospel country rock, to wondrous effect. As bands and musicians continue pushing into new sounds, these two and their accompanying bands strip it...

Posted 6 Mar 2017 @ 1:09pm

On my nearly two hour trip from Thirroul to Mosman, I was anxiously preparing for news that the Kurt Vile show I was on my way to might be washed away in torrential rainfall, making me the idiot who dragged his plus one to Sydney for no reason whatsoever. 

 

Thankfully we received no such news and found a soggy spot on the hill just as Mick Turner was getting started. He proved...

Posted 6 Mar 2017 @ 10:41am

As the city readied itself for a rowdy weekend of Mardi Gras partying, us alt-rock tragics retreated to the Factory theatre for an unexpectedly quiet Friday night affair. 

 

Ben Britton of opening act Strangers clearly felt out of place on an acoustic tour. “We’re used to being quite loud,” he opined, as the band slid into another familiar and tightly composed track. Being seated...

Posted 6 Mar 2017 @ 10:30am

"Let's give thanks to the weather gods for making the rain stop," cracked The Living End’s frontman Chris Cheney partway through his Taronga Zoo set. 

 

Indeed, an outdoors show in the middle of one the wettest weeks of the young year was never going to be the live experience the band’s fans are used to.

 

But it wasn’t just the weather that was altered: everything...

Posted 2 Mar 2017 @ 1:13pm

Reviewed on Wednesday March 1

 

Big Thief’s music is the music of eruption. Choruses break underfoot like bracken, silence is carefully weighted and measured out, and lyrical surprises appear out of nowhere, like a silver filling flashing in someone’s mouth as they laugh. And so it was at their Newtown Social Club show, a gig defined by left turns and surprises carefully and...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 3:21pm

★★★★★

 

In 2004, Youth Group released Skeleton Jar, an album that reflects its environment and its immediate landscape. It's an album that can be classified as uniquely – and, in parts, unmistakably – Sydney. 

 

For frontman Toby Martin's second solo album, one could easily reach for the same category. Rather than Petersham rooftops and city-bound buses, however,...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 1:03pm

★★★★★

 

Everything changed for Timothy Showalter when he released Heal, the hefty breakthrough album that took his project Strand Of Oaks around the world.

 

Hard Love expands on Heal’s autobiographical nature, as Showalter battles the wild excesses of his dream and the reality of his decisions. It’s an overall deeper reflective mood, but by no means is he wallowing...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 1:03pm

★★★★☆

 

Bringing those good ol’ country feels right into the city, Sydney’s own The Morrisons harness a wickedly fun and cheeky spirit in their self-titled album, an all-out assault of banjo, harmonica, fiddle and washboard.

 

Effortlessly sliding between fast-picking numbers like ‘Whiskey On The Brain’ and ‘Sugarcane’ – featuring some furious puffing on a harmonica...

Posted 28 Feb 2017 @ 1:35pm

★★

 

Though far from a perfect release, Dune Rats' debut album was the embodiment of brilliant, dumb fun.

 

Tracks like 'ET', 'Funny Guy' and 'Superman' easily hold up as some of their best songs. The album's breakout track, however – stoner anthem 'Dalai Llama Big Banana Marijuana' – does not.

 

The Kids Will Know It's Bullshit is more than a response...

Posted 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:45pm

Reviewed Friday February 17 - Monday February 20 (photo by Leah Hattendorff)

 

Having experienced the weird wonders of accompanying David Hasselhoff on an EDM cruise last November (and yes, that was really a thing), there seemed no finer opportunity to put...

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