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Music Reviews

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Saturday January 21 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Amanda Palmer is one of those artists who inspires a devout and colourful following, and onstage at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, stripped back to nothing but piano, uke and voice (and a giant glittering clitoris sculpture, the Glitoris), she delivered what was frankly one of the best gigs I’ve seen in some time....

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:23am

Reviewed on Saturday January 21

 

A celebration of joie de vivre – the exuberant enjoyment of life – is not precisely how I would describe most music festivals. Often the experience is somewhere between an hour-long wait outside a muddy portaloo flooded with (at best) unidentifiable liquids and having your feet repeatedly stomped by what appears to be an eight-foot goth wrestler...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:57am

Reviewed on Sunday January 22

 

The draconian lockout laws and awful government rules have been a blight on Sydney’s cultural growth. But every cloud has a silver lining, and the party scene that has erupted as a result of these laws has been nothing short of fantastic. Warehouse parties and a defiant club culture have developed around the periphery of the lockout zone, but we’ve...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:43am

Reviewed on Sunday January 22 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

12 hours before PJ Harvey took to the stage in Sydney, neo-Nazi and so-called “Karl Marx of the right” Richard Spencer was being punched in the head. The incident caused an almost immediate outburst of hand-wringing from the left, and the relative merit of beating up fascists was quickly disseminated and discussed online....

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:24am

Reviewed on Friday January 20 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ new album Skeleton Tree is a sad study in what happens when tragedy comes knocking at the door of a tortured artist. In the accompanying film One More Time With Feeling, we experience this tragedy and this music intimately, sitting by Cave’s side as he works through the stages of grief following...

Posted 19 Jan 2017 @ 5:12pm

Reviewed on Tuesday January 17 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

“This next one’s a more upbeat song about heroin,” announced Quan Yeoman, leading into ‘Run Run Run’ and capturing the vibe of a surreal evening in Sydney Festival’s Spiegeltent.

 

Pub favourites and national treasures Regurgitator used the slot to revisit a one-off performance at the National Gallery of...

Posted 16 Jan 2017 @ 9:55am

Reviewed on Saturday January 7

 

Grease monkeys from all over the country descended on the dusty plains of Canberra's Exhibition Park to demonstrate their automotive prowess and bask in the adoration of car fans at this year's Summernats, a staple in the annual Aussie summer madness.

 

There was no shortage of revved-up beasts showcasing custom creations with top-...

Posted 16 Jan 2017 @ 9:38am

Reviewed Tuesday December 27 - Sunday January 1

 

And so ended my… (seventh? eighth?) Woodford Folk Festival. It’s hard to keep track when each Boxing Day rolls around and the strange cavalcade starts to build steam once again. It’s been long enough now to have witnessed the festival soldier on through scorching sun and mighty rains that flooded Brisbane itself and came close to...

Posted 13 Jan 2017 @ 4:07pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 11

 

It was a hot and heavy atmosphere at the Factory Theatre on Wednesday, and the rising temperatures had nothing to do with the insane summer weather. Instead, thunderous clouds of rock formed over the venue as two equally sensational bands, fronted by two equally phenomenal vocalists, took to the stage for a night of inspirational female-driven...

Posted 13 Jan 2017 @ 3:27pm

Reviewed on Tuesday January 10

 

Sydney hard rockers Bare Bones have opened for tonight's headliners in the past. Truth be told, they'll probably do it again. It's an obvious pairing, given the stylistic parallels, but the two years since their last team-up has seen Bare Bones grow even tighter and more confident in their approach to big-wheeling, tough-as-nails riffs and fist-...

Posted 13 Jan 2017 @ 3:03pm

Reviewed on Thursday January 5

 

Grandmaster Flash is at a point where he has absolutely nothing to prove. It's safe to say he's been in this position for quite some time, having cemented a legacy thanks to an influential run in the ’80s alongside The Furious Five. These days, the man born Joseph Saddler is just along for the ride, frequently travelling around the world and...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 5:03pm

Reviewed Saturday December 31 – Monday January 2

 

Facing extreme heat – with a relentless downpour to come on its final night – Falls Festival at Byron Bay launched into festivities on New Year’s Eve by saying sayonara to the annus horriblius that was 2016 (at least in music, right?) with one of the best Boogie Nights lineups it’s seen since its inception. The heat was nothing...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 3:25pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 4

 

A quick survey at the Enmore Theatre suggested there were far more Aussie natives in attendance than for Jamie T’s Metro show two years ago, presumably thanks to solid radio rotation for his latest LP Trick. And it seems that his tales from ‘Tescoland’ – old and new – translate surprisingly well for suburban Sydney kids. A confident, snarling...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 1:40pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 4

 

Parquet Courts are in the process of weaning out the unwelcome contingents of their fan base. In an automated, tongue-in-cheek pre-show PSA (voice set to 'stereotypical Aussie male'), we are told in among general band and individual member hype that the New Yorkers “are not likely to stray from the setlist, so your attempts to shout out songs are...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 1:31pm

Reviewed on Friday January 6

 

Almost two years since Catfish And The Bottlemen cancelled what would have been their first Australian tour, hundreds of fans packed into a sold-out Enmore Theatre, eagerly anticipating the band’s Sydney debut. And as if to make up for lost time, Catfish turned it up loud.

 

Melbourne punk rockers Fan Girl warmed up the crowd with an...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 1:25pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 4 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Local Sydney singer-songwriter Dave Drayton opened up proceedings for the evening. Though he’s usually billed under the alias of Zzzounds, Drayton delivered his unusual form of emo-folk with aplomb, letting the crowd slowly turn in his favour. In between songs, his banter was casual – more akin to playing in front of his...

Posted 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:17pm

Reviewed on Saturday December 17

 

It was a week before Christmas, and the milestone wasn’t lost on Polish Club, who served up a rendition of festive queen Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ in their punchy, strident style during the last show on their first headline tour. While the room was busy belting out Carey’s track with smirks galore, Ginuwine’s ‘My Pony’...

Posted 19 Dec 2016 @ 9:53am

Reviewed on Thursday December 15 

 

Few can say they’ve had as much of a whirlwind year as B Wise. Having been given a healthy boost onto the Australian hip hop stage in 2016 under the extended wing of Elefant Traks, he’s gone from strength to strength, including the official release of his debut EP Semi Pro, supporting the likes of ScHoolboy Q, and now headlining his own show in...

Posted 16 Dec 2016 @ 12:07pm

Reviewed on Thursday December 15

 

Generally, the idea of seeing a version of a vintage band that only contains a couple of members of the classic lineup should be approached with extreme caution. The Monkees, however, have never been your average band.

 

Only Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork remain from the Pre-Fab Four that debuted on American TV in late 1966; Davy...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 4:44pm

Reviewed on Tuesday December 13

 

Science dictates that time goes only one way; that the past is a foreign country, inaccessible and remote. But who gives a rat’s about science? If Japandroids’ sweaty, deliciously slobby gig at The Red Rattler on Tuesday proved anything, it’s that a beloved band can return to its roots with ease, somehow stepping back to its beginnings without...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 11:52am

Reviewed on Tuesday December 13 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Money might not buy love, but a vast production budget can fill 51,000 hearts with joy. Love or loathe their music, there is no resisting a Coldplay show – or any show – as spectacular and warm as this.

 

With an opening quote from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, we were promised a wonderful adventure and...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:03am

★★★★☆

 

Graciously sharing this tasting plate of tracks that were written around the same time as those that made it onto Skin, Flume keeps fans’ hunger for new music satisfied with an aural smorgasbord of decadent and cerebral ear candy.

 

On opener ‘Trust’, there’s a dreamlike nostalgia and memories of childhood conveyed by the Kalimba sample that weaves its way...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:01am

★★★★

 

Sydney four-piece Den wield a significant sonic clout on their self-titled debut EP – a pummelling barrage of modulated guitars and sinister synth replete with melody that brings nuance to the bruising assault.

 

‘Life In Chains’ opens with a militant drum beat and from sparse beginnings builds to grandiosity, with haunting keys and swirling synth surrounding...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:01am

★★★

 

Lurking somewhere in the shadowy, liminal space between Portishead and Chvrches are New York duo Phantogram, dipping deep in their own darkness while continuing to pump out pop you can really feel.

 

As soon as the glitchy synth bass of ‘Funeral Pyre’ kicks in, vocalist Sarah Barthel stretches to the height of her range as she eulogises herself. Guitarist Josh...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★★☆

 

Why is the renown of Darkc3ll not greater?

 

Well, for one thing, the Queenslanders’ self-proclamation of being “not a product of the mainstream” keeps them undercover. Plus, once you hear Haunted Reality, you might just realise the world isn’t ready for such awesomeness as this.

 

The great gloom of Darkc3ll recently swept through town as part...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★☆

 

It’s fitting that Redspencer’s debut album Perks arrives right on the cusp of summer, evoking the warmth and haziness of the season in effortless fashion.

 

Beyond their shimmering guitar pop is an exploration of existential themes that come together to create an album of great depth.

 

On opener ‘G-Talk’, Dave McMillan’s laconic vocals sing of...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★☆

 

The strange new offering from Gone Is Gone tenderly twists itself onto your ears with an unusual slew of musical narratives.

 

But though this is a bizarre record, it’s far from unenjoyable. As each track is almost a saga in itself, most hitting the six-minute mark, you’ll forgive Echolocation its sometimes repetitive nature for the wonders which Gone Is Gone...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 7:00am

★★★☆

 

“I used to do a lot of blow,” coos Martha Wainwright in ‘Around The Bend’, the lush opening number of her new solo album, amid quaint acoustic arpeggios and a gentle shuffle of jazz brushes.

 

It pierces through in a way that reminds you why you fell for Wainwright originally, when she was a firebrand 20-something who not only turned “bloody motherfucking...

Posted 13 Dec 2016 @ 2:16pm

Reviewed on Monday December 12 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

For a band that only has two studio albums to its name – the last of those coming more than two decades ago – The Stone Roses stir a religious fervour in their fans to rival any of their contemporaries.

 

Even on a Monday night, half the world away from Manchester, the band’s first show of three at the Sydney...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 3:38pm

Reviewed on Sunday December 11 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

An open letter to Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice on the occasion of its fourth birthday.

 

Ah, Frankie’s. For the last four years you've not only provided the best selection of beers and spirits alongside the greasiest yet most delicious pizza, you've provided a playground for rock stars visiting our fair city, a...

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