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Music Reviews

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...

Posted 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:00am

★★

 

*Knock, knock*. Who's there? It's 2017 and it's time to wake up, you lazy cretins. Hammering on the door of chez Green Buzzard with such platitudes would likely bring about at least two reactions. One: scrambling to hit the ‘off’ switch on The Charlatans' Greatest Hits playing on the CD player; and two: fear on such an unprecedented level that their already significant...

Posted 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:00am

★★☆

 

Temples are back with a mix of quirky psych-pop tunes for their second release, but there’s an underlying sense that we’ve heard it all before.

 

It’s hard to imagine what innovation can still be brought to the psych-pop genre, and Temples’ new release is no exception. On Volcano, the band’s sound seems like a strange mix between Tame Impala and The Beach Boys...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 12:46pm

Reviewed on Friday February 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

“This one's from 1989,” says Nursery Crimes vocalist Phil Rose, pacing around a stage he and his bandmates could have only ever dreamed of back in the day, as the band prepares to strike up ‘All Torn Up Inside’. Another wisecrack – “Taylor Swift was conceived to this one” – and they're off again, sharing their melodic punk...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 11:54am

Reviewed on Saturday February 24 (photo by George Gittany)

 

The residents, businesses and musicians of Parramatta came together on Saturday for a fantastic community event with the purpose of proving to the higher political powers – and indeed Sydney residents at large – that live music will never wilt in the face of the lockout laws. Live And Local Parramatta set out to...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Sunday February 26

 

When asked if they would be attending Animals As Leaders’ gig at the Metro Theatre, a fellow music journalist replied, “No, I don’t go to AIM” (the Australian Institute of Music). Ultimately, it’s their loss – while the barb was tongue-in-cheek, it overlooks the distinctive emotional space that this kind of progressive metal can create.

 ...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 9:49am

Reviewed on Saturday February 25 (photo by Daniel Boud)

 

Hit YouTube and search for Warpaint’s ‘Disco//Very’. The four-minute clip will instantly reveal a lot of what you need to know about the LA four-piece: they’re full of attitude, cool AF and were obviously far from the back of the queue when good looks were being dished out. Musically, they make sassy, electro-tinged indie...

Posted 24 Feb 2017 @ 10:59am

Reviewed on Thursday February 23 (photo by Prudence Upton)

 

It’s been a long time coming. From Manning Bar to the Enmore, and now the big leagues: Explosions In The Sky at the Sydney Opera House.

 

It’s a fitting venue; stately, ceremonial and jutting into the sky as its sails simultaneously shimmer across the harbour. As such, there seems to be something...

Posted 22 Feb 2017 @ 5:36pm

★★★☆

 

Amela Duheric’s eight-track debut record is a work completely influenced by love. But atop some charming indie musicality, this album could prove to be a point of contrast for some who are tired with the concept.

 

Opening with lead single ‘Push & Pull’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this album feels a little ’90s girl rock at first. But enter ‘...

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.

 ...

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...

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