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Music Reviews

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 10:55am

Reviewed on Friday December 9

 

Less than five years ago, Flume was a music industry outsider. Half a decade on, the Sydney producer was playing to over 18,000 fans at Qudos Bank Arena, the culmination of his influence and career on display in this spectacular hometown show.

 

Much like Flume, Sophie has come to define a subgenre of electronica: PC Music. The UK...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 10:30am

Reviewed on Friday December 9 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

In perhaps the queerest and most female-empowering set to ever grace the Metro stage, electronic debauchery was in full swing on Friday as Peaches utterly destroyed the joint.

 

Habits began the night with their signature “sad goth party jams”, but the party was in short supply. Their combo of pulsing bass and...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 10:19am

Reviewed on Friday December 9 – Saturday December 10 (photo by Benjamin Hunt)

 

Ah, FOTSUN. Port Macquarie’s beloved BYO music festival where you’re urged to “pop a tit or nut” as you pass campers, and where rules and shoes are hard to come by (costumes are not). Spirits are always high, and there’s a decent selection across two days of local bands and artists generally kicking...

Posted 8 Dec 2016 @ 1:00pm

Reviewed on Tuesday December 6

 

If you ever want to see a fully mesmerised, perfectly quiet audience, go to an Angel Olsen show. Touring in support of her recently released record My Woman, the Missouri singer-songwriter treated a packed-out Factory Theatre to her markedly refined alt-country dissertations, topped by her appropriately heavenly, lilting vocals.

 

...

Posted 8 Dec 2016 @ 12:52pm

Reviewed on Tuesday December 6

 

I’m ever so slightly ashamed to admit this was my first Newtown Social gig. But then, who better to experience in its unassuming confines than the man venerated by many as a saving grace on the songwriter landscape, Cass McCombs?

 

Casting a singular figure against a backdrop of hardware, Ela Stiles was on hand for support,...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★★

 

‘Tocka’ is a Russian word for which there is no direct equivalent in English, designed to describe the strange feeling you get when you start missing something you never actually had – that odd kind of confused absence that nothing seems able to satisfy.

 

Anatomy Class’ Tell Me What You See is the melodic translation of that phrase, a record defined by a...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★☆

 

Metallica have been around for so long they’re forever doomed to fall into the trap of having their new material being compared to their back catalogue.

 

This means any decent new album like Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is always going to be assessed next to a masterpiece like the ‘Black Album’.

 

Hardwired is exactly what you’d expect; a...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★★

 

Drawing influence from pop, soul, jazz and lo-fi sounds, Owen Rabbit masterfully draws listeners in with his hauntingly heartfelt lyrics, pairing them with some truly cinematic production work.

 

Experimental sound effects are plentiful across this release, alongside Rabbit’s signature use of miscellaneous objects to make his music.

 

‘Oh My God...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★☆

 

Lewis Cancut’s new release Indoor Rainforest is a set of pristine, tropical house music that sounds like a rave taking place inside a video game.

 

The influence of Japanese and anime culture is strong throughout the six-track EP – the cover art is perfect – and the bouncing synths, treated Japanese woodwind sounds and kicking percussion only compound the...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★☆

 

Raf Rundell is known as one half of The 2 Bears, alongside Joe Goddard of Hot Chip fame, but his first solo release – The Adventures Of Selfie Boy Pt. 1 – is an interesting mishmash of new sounds which only grows on the listener. 

 

The EP starts off a little jarring, creating uncomfortable feelings upfront. However, as you move through the six songs, they...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:16pm

★★★★

 

Short, sweet and scruffy, Hi!, the debut EP from Bleach Girls, embodies all the popped-collar, bubblegum-snapping ’tude of your 16-year-old self, when all you wanted to do was skip school, hit the beach and jam in your parents’ garage.

 

For Byron Bay musicians Fi Fi and Mickey Bleach, that dream became reality. The brother-sister duo wrote more than 20 songs...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 11:27am

Reviewed on Friday December 2 – Saturday December 3 (photo by Brianna Elton)

 

Too often the phrase ‘family-friendly music festival’ feels like a negation in terms, proving about as appealing as decaf coffee or sugar-free Coke. After all, the drawcards that appeal to baby boomers are completely different to those that entice the 20-something crowd, and by mediating between...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 11:00am

Reviewed on Tuesday December 6

 

Ryan Adams had only just finished introducing his band, the assortment of ultra-stylish musos recruited to record his new album Prisoner, when one of the night’s many hecklers called out. “Who are you?” they bellowed drunkenly. Everyone’s a comedian at an Adams show – including the musician himself – so the heckler was undoubtedly trying to be...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Monday December 5 (photo by Prudence Upton)

 

Acoustically speaking, no Australian venue like the Sydney Opera House gives an artist so much in return for their effort. The wide-open space fills with music quickly, there’s a special feeling surrounding the place, and there’s an elevated air to everything that takes flight in the building. Monday evening was no...

Posted 5 Dec 2016 @ 11:29am

Reviewed on Saturday December 3

 

Dallas Frasca are a band with a sound like no other – captivating, raspy female vocals, unfiltered old-school guitars, and classic rock-inspired songs with a 21st century twist, all sparking the urge for swigging on Jack and Coke at their shows. It’s just that kind of vibe.

 

And yet, it was an utter shame the atmosphere was so...

Posted 5 Dec 2016 @ 11:11am

Reviewed on Friday December 2

 

Uniting like it was 2003 all over again, scene kids of days gone by descended en masse on the Enmore Theatre, ready to unleash their inner emos.

 

Storm The Sky may have seemed an odd choice to support The Used, given their contrasting sounds, but despite their name they were the calm before the hurricane. Performing a gentler setlist...

Posted 5 Dec 2016 @ 10:47am

Reviewed on Friday December 2 (photo by Benjamin Potter)

 

Majestic Casual has had a massive couple of years. Going from a YouTube channel with obscure remixes and original music from artists that were almost unheard of at the time to selling out events all around the world is a highly respectable feat. While also considering that the label has been responsible for the...

Posted 5 Dec 2016 @ 10:29am

Reviewed on Sunday December 4 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Where to begin with Confidence Man, the semi-anonymous electro-dance collective that kick things off at a scarcely populated Metro this evening? Sonically, the quartet throw back to artists you didn't even know you missed – CSS, New Young Pony Club, Fischerspooner and The Phenomenal Handclap Band all come to mind across their...

Posted 5 Dec 2016 @ 10:19am

Reviewed on Tuesday November 29 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

It began as a humble invitational by the Melbourne band recently deemed to have released the best hard rock/heavy metal album of 2016 by the ARIA voting panel. Now, the second annual Gizzfest has expanded into a massive school night party with a unique carnival vibe, thanks in no small part to our immediate surroundings, one...

Posted 2 Dec 2016 @ 3:10pm

Reviewed on Thursday December 1

 

It’s a strange experience when you encounter a somewhat stagnant audience at any Aussie gig, especially when the performance doesn’t call for it. We do, after all, hold a reputation for boasting some of the world’s most receptive audiences. Maybe it was the early-ish set time but, to start, the response to Hein Cooper was a little awkward despite...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:26pm

★★★★☆

 

Glory be to the gods of metal: it would appear that New Zealanders know how to rock it.

 

Underground metallers Devilskin capture everything great about the genre in their second studio release – sultry vocals, bittersweet lyrics of the dark variety, and everything else you’d expect from a band of this ilk.

 

Only there’s something different...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★★☆

 

Illy certainly seems to have a firm grip on the steering wheel of a successful pop career.

 

You may even be reminded of the Katy Perrys and Justin Biebers of the world with the likes of ‘Oh My’ or ‘You Say When’ on his new album Two Degrees – and if he can emulate even a fraction of their success, he’ll have the music biz under his thumb.

 

...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

In a Tokyo rock’n’roll bar recently, a middle-aged, tattooed German punk rocker told me about a mod revival happening in Indonesia.

 

The image of Indonesian youths wearing heavy green parkas decorated with Union Jacks and riding Vespas on the smog- and humidity-laden streets of Denpasar was too fascinating to ignore. Surely this is globalisation in its ideal...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

Napier describe themselves as a “raunchy rock’n’roll” band and they certainly do rock the roll, channelling some old-school vibes with each guitar-driven track they have to offer.

 

And they’re getting some pretty great reviews for their live shows as well.

 

I don’t know if it’s due to the title of their EP, Sundance Romance, or my first...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

In a world where paint-by-numbers electropop dominates the charts, it’s easy to lose sight of the pioneering electronic acts of decades past, and just how much more this broad genre has to offer beyond soaring choruses and club-friendly beats.

 

Looking back at the previous decade, French duo Justice come to mind among the cream of the crop of the indie dance...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★★

 

With incendiary US all-girl punk combo Babes In Toyland kicking out the jams live and loud again, it seems only fitting that this wall-shaking compilation of deeply satisfying, rough-hewn gems from 1990-95 should be blasting from your stereo.

 

Kat Bjelland’s wonderfully unhinged and disorientating vocals whip up an authentic emotional maelstrom on searing...

Posted 1 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

★★★★☆

 

Lower Plenty make a statement right from the opener of their new album, Sister Sister. ‘Bondi’s Dead’ sees Al Montfort contribute an effortlessly ebullient number – the music is so approachable that the lyrics shine, and as oblique as they are, they tend to linger long after they’re uttered.

 

Guitarist/vocalist Jensen Tjhung deals in heavy romanticism – ‘...

Posted 28 Nov 2016 @ 6:17pm

Reviewed on Monday November 21

 

Filing into the dimly lit Newtown Social Club is always a pleasure. The place is easily one of the best venues in Sydney, and provides an intimacy that is hard to match at any of the bigger rooms. Young singer-songwriter Elizabeth Hughes set the tone immediately, opting for an amplified clean guitar mix that seems to be quite popular lately. She...

Posted 28 Nov 2016 @ 10:16am

Reviewed on Sunday November 27

 

Band Of Skulls are one of those ubiquitous acts who have managed to earn a deeply loyal following. At their Oxford Art Factory gig to support new album By Default, their crowd of super fans was jumping, singing and clambering towards the stage.

 

Flowertruck, hailing from Sydney’s Inner West, kicked things off nicely. Their brand of...

Posted 28 Nov 2016 @ 10:03am

Reviewed on Friday November 25 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

I still remember the summer of ’89, sitting in my short shorts in front of the TV and grooving on the bad boy vibes as the ‘Fire Woman’ video from The Cult’s arena-troubling Sonic Temple LP blazed neon and leather across the screen. “Twisting like a cat on a hot tin shack!” I yelled gleefully as I practised jumping off the...

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