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Music Reviews

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...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★★★

 

If you’re a fan of pop-punk, then chances are As It Is’ new album Okay will hit the spot.

 

It’s the UK five-piece’s second full-length record after their debut in 2015 and they’ve pulled no punches when it comes to opening up in their lyrics this time around. 

 

To the inattentive ear, it may seem like just another generic pop-punk record, but...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★★☆

 

It’s pretty telling that Cherry Glazerr are carefully rising from the depths of the LA underground garage punk scene to float somewhere more around the belly of the beast.

 

With Apocalipstick, you can tell the band is trying to show a little more development in sound and production – only it’s probably best to ignore the lyrics and just appreciate the music...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★☆

 

The swagger breaks free as Black Star Riders present a blissfully classic vibe on their new album, Heavy Fire.

 

The album’s title track groans with the promise of feel-good rock and flashy guitar licks, while ‘Dancing With The Wrong Girl’ epitomises that roof-down-drive-at-sunset feeling – think a reincarnation of the Eagles. 

 

Then all is lost...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:11pm

★★★★

 

Some albums demand your attention.

 

Reflection quietly requests it, drawing you into a fully realised aural world with no physical counterpart.

 

Brian Eno’s focus here isn’t on world-building, but augmenting reality, crafting a hypnotic, dreamlike soundtrack to an unseen film where the listener is director. The music comprises a single 54-...

Posted 30 Jan 2017 @ 10:36am

Reviewed on Wednesday January 25 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

It may not have been open for long, but the International Convention Centre’s Darling Harbour Theatre has now hosted the strangest gig it may ever witness.

 

Puscifer, the side project of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, are an outside bet at the best of times, but sirens must have gone off for organisers...

Posted 30 Jan 2017 @ 10:09am

Reviewed on Friday January 27 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

You've got to hand it to Tigertown – they're pretty heckin' adorable. They play happy-go-lucky electropop with the bombast of your Grouploves or even your St. Lucias, with all the sugar rush of playing M83's ‘Midnight City’ at full volume on repeat. The already packed crowd goes with their every movement, from dutifully...

Posted 30 Jan 2017 @ 9:46am

Reviewed on Sunday January 29

 

“This is serious!” smirked the chief songwriter for The Bats, Robert Scott, early into the band’s Sydney Festival set. It was a telling moment: a declaration of sincerity delivered in the most insincere way possible has long been the modus operandi for these Flying Nun legends, and a rubbery, artfully odd sense of the heartfelt has remained the key...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 2:17pm

The triple j Hottest 100 of 2016 was a highpoint for Australian artists, and a barometer for what Aussie music lovers listened to throughout the year. 

 

But which of the songs will go down in history, and which will be forgotten the moment Flume releases his next remix?

 

We've reviewed every single song from the 2016 countdown in one sentence (OK, some of them are...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★★★

 

Brooklyn-based songwriter Gabriel Garzón-Montano has created an album that is truly weird, often dark and very, very affecting.

 

There’s a sense of absolute conviction within its surgical editing: there are no uncertain musical choices or production ambivalence. Garzón-Montano has given himself no quarter to hide. Each note is absolute and the composition...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★★

 

Bonobo’s sixth studio album is more or less exactly what you’d expect from the veteran British producer: an evocative, easy listening record that’s a pleasant journey from start to finish. 

 

Across most of its tracks, Migration builds on Simon Green’s fifth release The North Borders.In his typical downtempo style, he develops peaceful soundscapes, as heard...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★

 

Two-and-a-half years ago, Cloud Nothings released their peak achievement. It was called Here And Nowhere Else, and it was scrubbed, and it was scratchy, and it was near-perfect – a lean, melodic serving of everything they’d been trying to do for almost half a decade. 

 

But such success has evidently left the group in a tricky place. Understandably, too – it’s...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★☆

 

The follow-up to 2014’s I Am King and Code Orange’s first LP on metal label Roadrunner Records, Forever is a culmination of nine years of savagery.

 

The method remains the same – ruthless metal-infused hardcore, laced with end-of-the-world electronic samples and, you bet, breakdowns for days. 

 

Previous efforts, Love Is Love/Return To Dust and...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

 

Cover records are, by their very nature, bizarre beasts.

 

When too organised or extensive, they have a habit of feeling pointless – save an oddity like Ryan Adams’ 1989 project, there’s not always much reason one would listen to a song-by-song reworking of an album over the original – but without structure, they run the risk of appearing like a lazy,...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★

 

Night People is like a book with a great beginning and a great end – it’s just such an epic shame that the chapters in between are just ordinary filler blighting what could otherwise have been a powerful volume for You Me At Six.

 

The opener and title track comes grumbling in with a catchy-ass riff and the appealingly dull and husky soar in vocals that we’ve...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

★★★★

 

Opening with a triumphant fanfare of horns and a bassline fit for the bedroom, this is not The xx you remember.

 

“You’ve had faith in me / So I won’t shy away” croon Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim on the danceworthy ‘Dangerous’, indicating their newfound confidence in a record that reiterates their turned leaf as often as possible. Just check the tracklist...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Wednesday January 25

 

Sydney locals Polographia kicked things off for the night with their blend of ’90s nostalgia and synth. If you haven’t heard of them yet this summer, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. Seeing ‘Feels Alright’ alone was worth the price of entry. They had no problem mesmerising an almost-full Enmore Theatre, and no doubt they’ll be back as...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:55pm

Reviewed on Tuesday January 24

 

A solo piano performance in the relative intimacy of Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall is always going to be a source of some excitement, especially when it’s that of French composer and musician Yann Tiersen. 20-odd years into a storied career, his most recent solo album Eusa presented fragile piano compositions thematically and musically...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:10am

Reviewed on Saturday January 21 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

“Music has to be a place of hope,” announced Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén, proud and articulate in one of the night's many abstracted political speeches. Being the night of Trump's inauguration, the room seethed with anger, but so many more emotions beneath the tattooed skin – solidarity, kinship, passion and that one...

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