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Music Reviews

Posted 22 Feb 2017 @ 4:27pm

★★★★

 

You can judge this one by its cover. That garish pink eyesore, with that awkward, atonal band photo slap bang in the middle?

 

Yeah, that about sums up the hobbled horror that is Pissed Jean’s new outing, a kitsch, brutal exercise in upsetting snotty-nosed critics and punk purists alike.

 

In their quest to offer up the most unpleasant tones...

Posted 22 Feb 2017 @ 4:26pm

★★☆

 

Dirty Projectors founding member David Longstreth has done well to hold the group together for the last decade, what with the ever-changing roster of members and subsequent updates to their style of music – but lately he’s needed to do so with greater urgency, following the departure of vocalist Amber Coffman.

 

Coffman’s absence has somewhat tarnished the...

Posted 22 Feb 2017 @ 8:00am

★★★★

 

Take one part Vampire Weekend, one part Circa Waves, sprinkle in some pluck, prep and pep and you’ll have something akin to the sunny jams served up in Landmark, the debut album from Minnesotan millennials Hippo Campus.

 


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Posted 22 Feb 2017 @ 12:00am

★★☆

 

Being one of the most prolific bands out there, it’s hardly career-ending for King Gizz to (finally) release something a little undercooked.

 

Flying Microtonal Banana’s opener is a low point, lacking the energy and rhythmic play of last year’s spectacular Nonagon Infinity, settling instead for repetition. After eight minutes, two things will be clear: you’ll...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 10:30am

Reviewed on Sunday February 19

 

The second episode of this year’s Summer Dance series took place in the sandstone comforts of Darlinghurst’s National Art School over the weekend. Refreshingly compact in its size and stage design, it’s fast become Sydney’s yearly signature Sunday session.

 

With the Summer Dance event now into its third season, Astral People have...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 9:40am

Reviewed on Wednesday February 15 (photo by Dan Boud)

 

Truth be told, I find it difficult to review classical music at the best of times – and let's be clear, catching Ludovico Einaudi at a packed-to-the-sails Opera House was just such an occasion – since my knowledge of composition and context is a touch uneven. What exactly is the canon here? Is this man taking his cues from...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 9:30am

Reviewed on Sunday February 19

 

It's been a hot minute since sugar-and-spice pop-punk delights Bloods were playing shows with any regularity. Still, if there's one way to make a comeback, it's on the grand stage of Taronga Zoo, playing to a largely unfamiliar audience and scoring new fans along the way. Now with a second guitarist filling out their sound, the Sydney band pulls...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 9:16am

Reviewed on Friday February 17

 

Uncertainty is in the air ahead of our headliners' first Sydney show for over a decade – Taronga has been rained out for most of the afternoon, and intermittent showers still loom as the crowd snakes its way through the elaborate maze that leads to the gardens. After that ordeal, it's nice to have Jack Carty serve as a calming presence, treating...

Posted 17 Feb 2017 @ 4:19pm

Reviewed on Thursday February 16

 

Don’t judge a book by its cover, the saying goes. By judging Mike Savino, AKA Tall Tall Trees, purely on surface value before a note is played – hirsute, well-dressed, wielding a banjo – one might expect an apple that doesn't fall far from the Mumford family tree. The book we're presented with, however, tells a very different story.

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Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:53pm

★★★★

 

Electric Guest are back with a stimulating follow-up to their 2012 debut, Mondo.

 

Their new record, Plural, has everything from breezy vibes to ’80s pop tones, a little reggae and a little rap, and really it’s quite astounding. It flirts with going too far over the top, but it still keeps everything fresh.

 

As a collection of individual songs...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:50pm

★★★★

 

Melodic and melancholic, Oslow’s pensive full-length debut proves why they are Sydney’s best-kept secret.

 

Vocalist and bassist Dylan Farrugia has said, “The songs themselves seek to express our personal experiences as young people in Australia and what that means at this juncture in history.” And that resonates: Oslow is a snapshot, a time capsule of the...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 10:48am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 14

 

A myriad of adjectives come to mind when one thinks of James Taylor – singer, songwriter, guitarist, occasional actor and American folk icon. Perhaps the most fitting one, however, would be ‘beloved’. It takes all of a stroll out onto centre stage and a tip of his cap to elicit a huge round of applause – some even take the initiative even further...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 11:44am

Reviewed on Friday February 10

 

“Not in this lifetime,” Guns N’ Roses told the world. And yet here they were in Sydney for a fantastically well-received stadium performance with their classic lineup, minus Izzy Stradlin.

 

ANZ Stadium turned into one giant dive bar with enough smoke and sweat to account for the thousands of venues Guns N’ Roses have filled over the...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 11:29am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 7

 

There are certain things in life that might never have quite found their way onto your personal bucket list, yet when they roll around there’s an unexpected frisson there regardless. Catching The Beach Boys (well, most of ’em) perform was a pretty grand experience, but the real memory of the night belongs to the opener, The Temptations. While only...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 3:10pm

★★★★☆

 

There’s a captivating whimsy present across the new release from Elbow.

 

The British alt-rockers have been hard at work producing their seventh album Little Fictions –their first without long-time drummer Richard Jupp – and the results embrace a more minimal aesthetic, yet still retain Guy Garvey’s songwriting mastery. It’s an addition to their discography...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 2:41pm

★★★☆

 

It’s ironic that on his official Facebook page, Ahmed Gallab (AKA Sinkane) pegs his unique amalgamation of sounds as “fake jazz”.

 

‘Fake’ definitely doesn’t describe the soul-infused scope of this London-born, Brooklyn-based musician, nor his sixth album Life & Livin’ It. 

 

With a distinctive funk undertone that runs through its nine...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:06pm

Reviewed on Tuesday February 7

 

“That’s a long way, man!” says an unusually hesitant Bruce Springsteen. He’s peering down at the crowd from atop his runway at the middle of the arena floor, a sea of hands beckoning him for a lift back to stage. The 67-year-old performer chuckles, closes his eyes and leans into the throng.

 

Springsteen has always known how to throw...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 12:45pm

★★★☆

 

Coventry Cathedral, a half-bombed-out monolith in the north of England, is a haunted building. After being ravaged by Nazi air raids during World War II, the structure was only partially rebuilt, and stands now as part wreck, part modern structural miracle. It’s incomplete even in the ways it is complete; distinctly eerie in its Janus-like mix of old pain and new devotion...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 12:38pm

★★★☆

 

We’re only a few weeks into 2017, but already it’s been a year of women standing up, making noise and sticking it to the man. 

 

It’s entirely fitting, then, that Holly Throsby – musician, author, and total boss lady – is releasing her fifth studio album, After A Time.

 

Even though After A Time has much more of a full-band energy than Throsby’s...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 12:00am

★★☆

 

 

There’s a new type of ballad in town, and gone are the big chords, big voices and bigger hair. These tunes of communal catharsis are roomy and gloomy affairs; vocals wafting over fudgy chords, thrumming basslines speckled with electronics.

 

Such is the case in Melancholia, the first EP from Melbourne singer-songwriter Bel, which – as the ominous...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 7:47pm

Reviewed on Friday February 3

 

12 months on from the death of one of the few people who can genuinely claim the mantle of ‘the Fifth Beatle’, producer George Martin, and in a year when we’re sure to hear a lot of the phrase “It was 50 years ago today…”, now seems like as good a time as any to celebrate the Fab Four’s unbeatable catalogue.

 

Beatles tribute shows...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 4:04pm

Reviewed on Saturday February 4 (photo by Jess Hayhow)

 

The glorious backdrop of the city at sunset framed the surprisingly intimate venue that was Taronga Zoo’s concert lawn as Killing Heidi returned to Sydney. You couldn’t have asked for a better setting for an evening of music and reminiscing with friends – the wine and cheese crowd ambled on down, clutching picnic blankets...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 1:02pm

Reviewed by David Molloy and Ben Potter (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

The sweltering heat could not keep revelers from descending on the Sydney College of the Arts for one of the last bastions for festivalgoers in the city, and by noon, the threatening clouds had parted and left behind a perfect day.

 

First to the stages was triple j Unearthed rapper Genesis Owusu,...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 11:02am

Reviewed on Friday February 3

 

The gigs at which you truly lose yourself are few and far between, but Friday night at the Factory was one of those nights. Opening their Colourblind Tour, Hands Like Houses performed with nothing but passion and pride, enriching souls and uplifting hearts with a set full of relatable lyrics and mind-melting melodies.

 

There was a...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 9:53am

Reviewed on Thursday February 2 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

It’s been just over a year since The Rubens took out the coveted triple j Hottest 100 title with ‘Hoops’. It would have been easy for them to fade out in that time, especially given how meteoric their rise in Australian music seemed (they formed in 2011, just three brothers and a childhood friend). Lead singer Sam Margin...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 9:38am

Reviewed on Thursday February 2 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Canada’s punk rock/riot grrrl power band White Lung graced St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival over the weekend after a sideshow at Newtown Social Club. A separate focus for the evening, though, was that many punters knew this would be their last at NSC, following the venue’s announcement that it will close in April.

 ...

Posted 3 Feb 2017 @ 2:38pm

★★★★

 

Over 20 years ago, a band named Chavez wrote and released two all-time great records, toured with bands like Guided By Voices, Sonic Youth and Pavement, and then disappeared. 

 

The brainchild of multi-disciplinary master Matt Sweeney, the group might not have officially ever broken up, but they sure shut up, releasing no new material since 1996’s Ride The...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★★★★☆

 

Gathering his serpent minions to his court, Frank Carter – the former frontman of English groups Gallows and Pure Love – has drawn upon his alternative rock and hardcore history to bring us a scalding record of character-defining musicianship that makes no apology for its politically powerful core – and nor should it.

 

Though there’s some uncertainty in...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★★☆

 

Never a band for going easy on the theatrics, AFI have pretty much made a name for themselves with their flamboyance and drama, both in appearance and in their music.

 

They’ve twisted and reformed rock’n’roll for over two decades now, and ‘The Blood Album’ sees the former emo punks throwing themselves way back in time to channel some heavy New Romantic...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★★★☆

 

Lzzy Hale is Pennsylvania’s answer to Janis Joplin.

 

The Halestorm singer’s voice has a power like you’ve never heard; raspy, crooning and mighty. She belts out music in such a compelling way that her sound can make you quiver. Make no mistake, this is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

 

Her presence on the band’s latest release is all the evidence...

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