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Music Reviews

Posted 28 Nov 2016 @ 9:51am

Reviewed on Thursday November 24

 

Live, Bree Tranter’s vocals are just as bruised and woozy as on record. She exudes a beaten air, delicate but dense, with an often elusive whisper that blurs words at the edges. Soft, trawling guitar riffs or slow-moving keyboard chords are usually at the centre of her songs. In some places they are all there is, but then echoes open up...

Posted 28 Nov 2016 @ 9:33am

Reviewed on Friday November 25 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Somehow it feels like Crowded House have never gone away. Perhaps it’s the ubiquity of their songs, which have been the foundation of rock and adult contemporary radio in this country for decades now. Perhaps it’s the fact Neil Finn has kept churning out verses and choruses like a one-man hitmaking machine since his most...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★★☆

 

When Zeahorse released their debut LP Pools in 2013, it showed them to be just as much of a jam band as they were meticulous with their songs.

 

Even at a lean 36 minutes, there was no ‘fat’ to trim, per se, but there was a very clear divide between the small handful of carefully constructed songs they had been playing live for years and those that were...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★☆

 

If you’re expecting the creators of an album called Reclaim Australia to hold anything back, you’re in for a wild ride.

 

Long-time friends and musicians Briggs (Album of the Year recipient at the National Indigenous Music Awards 2015) and Trials (ARIA-winning producer for Drapht, Seth Sentry, Illy and Hilltop Hoods) have teamed up as A.B. Original to put...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★★

 

Just as the title of this release suggests, Jess Kent’s debut EP is a confident introduction to the Aussie singer-songwriter’s infectious beats. 

 

Listening to her work is refreshing; it’s difficult to decide which musical element is the most skilled or distinctive, as her writing is really all about the whole package of production and vocals. These are fun...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:45pm

★★★★

 

Sixx:A.M. have returned with their fifth album, Vol 2 Prayers For The Blessed, and it’s a riot of guitars, heavy drums and yell-along choruses from ex-Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.

 

Sixx and co. prove they can produce a softer sound on album tracks ‘Maybe It’s Time’and their cover of the Badfinger hit ‘Without You’,which itself rose to fame after being...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:44pm

★★★☆

 

Since the end of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon has gone into the abyss of noise rock and drone further than her previous band could ever have fathomed.

 

As one half of Body/Head alongside guitarist Bill Nace, Gordon has spent the last few years going against the conventions of the electric guitar and creating music that’s dark, imposing and sprawling, resulting in...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:44pm

★★★☆

 

Five years on from his salient debut, Ex Tropical, Lost Animal continues to make outsider pop, fusing electronica with elements of popular music from the ’60s through the ’80s.

 

For his new album You Yang, Jarrod Quarrell has invited multi-instrumentalist Shags Chamberlain to the table, broadening the palette of sound.

 

‘Do The Jerk’ beats...

Posted 22 Nov 2016 @ 5:44pm

★★★★☆

 

For an EP from a group that claims it’s “not afraid to be unladylike”, this debut release by the feminist four-piece Glitoris sounds as sweet as anything.

 

The punk rock numbers on The Disgrace mesh the raw sound of classic punk with lovely thick Aussie accents and angry girl attitudes. And hey, if their name wasn’t enough to grab your attention, the four...

Posted 21 Nov 2016 @ 10:53am

Reviewed on Monday November 14

 

When Sixto Rodriguez stepped out from behind the curtain, the cheer that greeted him was incredible – here was a man that some folks had been waiting 40 years to finally see in the flesh. What was surprising, however, were his chaperones. Rodriguez walked very stiffly, and seemed to rely on assistants to steer him towards the stool from which he...

Posted 21 Nov 2016 @ 10:02am

Reviewed on Tuesday November 15

 

On the same day a national tour has been announced for Vanilla Ice, Coolio and Color Me Badd, TLC are performing the first of three Sydney shows – the third of which will also feature Nelly, Blackstreet and 112. It's enough to remind one of the lesson imparted by True Detective's Rust Cohle: time is a flat circle, and everything that was will be...

Posted 18 Nov 2016 @ 5:37pm

Reviewed on Thursday November 17

 

The pews fill up early at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church on Macquarie Street tonight. While the average passer-by would never think of this unassuming church as a concert venue – and there’s a significant irony in a show taking place directly across from the State Parliament – Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen’s performance is no artificial scenario....

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

★★★★

 

Client Liaison’s debut full-length is a quirky, sexy, experimental offering.

 

Diplomatic Immunity is teeming with bright bursts of energy, sprinkled with colourful percussion, guitar licks and the infectious vocals of Monte Morgan.

 

You’ve only got to look at the business meeting-esque cover art to know there are political undertones bubbling...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

★★★

 

As far as the secret release of a concept album goes, perhaps it was a good thing the latest drop from Avenged Sevenfold was kept hush-hush – the lead-up hype if it were an ordinary release might have led to disappointment.

 

That being said, Avenged Sevenfold aren’t an ordinary band. They deserve credit for their consistent attempts at pushing boundaries: The...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

★★

 

Roaring out of Gothenburg since the early ’90s, credit where credit is due for HammerFall’s ceaseless energy and seemingly never-ending stream of releases – but unfortunately, Built To Last is a laughable addition to their discography. 

 

No, really. With tracks like ‘Dethrone And Defy’ and ‘Twilight Princess’ all centred around stereotypically Swedish metal...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

 

Folks, Ben Lee has something to say.

 

Apparently – and, may I take the opportunity to note how genuinely striking it is that nobody has ever discovered this before – human beings are unkind to each other. They are this way for a number of reasons, Ben Lee posits: sometimes because they are chasing money and sometimes because they’re chasing fame.

 

...
Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:09pm

★★

 

As with so many bands from Bon Jovi’s era that are still releasing new material, time has ravaged them – and it shows.

 

Gone is the rasping range and tone of Jon Bon Jovi’s voice, gone are the screeching guitar solos, gone are the imaginative thematic anthems we still rock out to today.

 

Instead, in This House Is Not For Sale, we’re treated to a...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:09pm

★★★★

 

The second release from one-man music machine I Built The Sky (AKA Rohan ‘Ro’ Stevenson) is nothing short of a powerful production.

 

The Sky Is Not The Limit, with its tracks named after cloud formations, immerses the listener into everything from metal to intricate punk.

 

This album has it all: experimental guitar runs, synthesizers, crashing...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:09pm

★★★★

 

The story of Shirley Collins has been one of 2016’s most unexpected tales – one of a celebrated folk hero from the ’50s and ’60s, long consigned to cult status due to not singing for nearly 40 years.

 

At 81, Collins has finally returned to the world of music – and if Lodestar is anything to go by, said world will embrace her once again with open arms. 

...
Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 11:18am

Reviewed on Sunday November 13

 

The hype was real as the sweaty masses gathered for a night of hypnotic rock, ready to get well and truly down with the sickness as American heavy metalheads Disturbed hit town on their highly anticipated return.

 

Twelve Foot Ninja are one of those bands who you may have heard about but never really caught on to – you could call...

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 10:57am

Reviewed on Sunday November 13

 

As always, Newtown Festival proved why the suburb is still the breeding ground of Sydney’s emerging music scene. It is one of the few festivals that boasts a vibe that is both deeply cool and family-friendly.

 

The atmosphere this year, as you might expect, was a little politically charged. Most people walked through a Trump protest...

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 10:42am

Reviewed on Saturday November 12

 

Deftones are an anomaly. Having weathered trends for close to 30 years, the band has sailed through waves of skate punk, nu metal, emo and now even prog rock, coming out the other end unscathed and still relevant. It’s hard for a band to simultaneously act as godfathers to a scene while still being at the forefront of it, yet somehow this brand...

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 10:28am

Reviewed on Friday November 11 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

The second week of November 2016 has gone down as a big one for the history books. Whether it was the most contentious presidential election in history or the death of a musical legend that consumed your interest, Dope Lemon’s debut Sydney performance was the right slice of escape from the mad world outside. With Angus Stone...

Posted 11 Nov 2016 @ 5:56pm

Reviewed on Thursday November 10

 

Death Bells present a maximal front – three guitarists, two keyboardists, three vocalists – yet execute relatively minimal arrangements of their hazy, sneaker-staring tracks. Taking equal cues from initial waves of post-punk and the icy gloom of ’90s noise rock, the septet are more about gradual builds from the depths of their cavernous ambience...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:47pm

★★★★☆

 

Shining with the all-encompassing love that resonates through all of Archie Roach’s work, his tenth studio album Let Love Rule harbours 11 tracks filled with pure human essence and warm musicianship.

 

On the second release to come after a string of personal setbacks, Roach has managed to follow up superbly by delving into elements of country, soft rock and...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★☆

 

Though the end is nigh, The Dillinger Escape Plan sure as hell aren’t going quietly.

 

The prog metal juggernauts have chucked us this beast of an album to ensure that even long after they disband, people will still talk about the savagery they brought. 

 

Hate Monday mornings? Try setting opening track ‘Limerent Death’ as your alarm clock...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★

 

The second full-length release from Sydney indie rockers The Griswolds is a fun exploration into a new sonic direction for the band.

 

There’s a lot happening across this album. The production, bass, synth, drums and Chris Whitehall’s vocals combine to redefine The Griswolds’ sound – but there still isn’t a clear definition of what exactly that is. While some...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★☆

 

Winter Wheat sits in an interesting crossroads for the Winnipeg-born singer-songwriter John K. Samson.

 

His first solo record in four years comes after the announcement that The Weakerthans are officially no more, yet the album still features the very same rhythm section.

 

Samson’s songwriting has lost none of its charm. His skill as a...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★

 

The latest release from Swedish artist Tove Lo is stale at best.

 

In a repetitive attempt at proving herself to be an edgy and defiant woman, Lo’s self-portrayal as a feminist is juxtaposed with unimaginative lyrics, concealing what would otherwise be an excellent set of beats and catchy harmonies.

 

Generally focused around partying, sex, drink...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★

 

Friends, Aussies, countrymen, lend me your ears.

 

Actually, lend your ears to the new Birds Of Tokyo release, as they go back to basics with Brace – an interesting hybrid of classic tones meets ’80s electronica with sneaky little political messages stitched throughout, all neatly moulded around a series of visual influences that mean the tracks are meant for...

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