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Music Reviews

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

★★★★

 

Sincere is a short but sweet addition to the cruisy sounds of Melbourne duo Alta.

 

The EP is is exactly what it says on the tin: a sincere set of mellow grooves and hypnotic vibes that needs only a decrease in penetration from R&B drum machines to achieve must-have status as a chill addition to your summer soundtrack.

 

‘Unbelievable’ is...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:21am

Reviewed on Saturday November 5

 

Marrickville’s Addison Road Community Centre is an essential hub of multicultural celebration in Sydney, with the weekly Addison Road Markets and monthly Street Food Markets actively encouraging and supporting local stallholders and community groups.

 

Now entering its sixth year, West African Festival Inc. (WAF) is one such...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:06am

Reviewed on Friday November 4

 

Superheist are back. But don't call it a comeback: it's not a comeback. Either way, their nu-metal hit the Factory Theatre with a surprising explosion of impressive energy that didn't let up the entire show.

 

The set opened with ‘The Fight Back’ and the enthusiasm around me was immediate, as new frontman Ezekiel Ox jumped down into...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 10:44am

Reviewed on Friday November 4

 

The Dandy Warhols are currently touring their ninth album, Distortland – but you’d be forgiven if you weren’t quite up to speed with the band’s discography. Most of the crowd in Sydney on Friday seemed to be there for offerings from 2003’s Welcome To The Monkey House. Discerning readers will note that was over ten years ago and probably feel old as...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 10:18am

Reviewed at various venues in Cronulla on Thursday November 3

 

It’s the first of four nights at the second year of Australian Music Week, and the infamous southern Sydney beach spot of Cronulla is playing host to another round of panels and music.

 

The 8pm slot at the Brass Monkey is filled by Katoomba blues rocker Claude Hay and band. Later in his 30-minute set,...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★★☆

 

While it was just over a year ago that Dorsal Fins released their electrifying debut Mind Renovation, the prolific nine-piece aren’t taking any time to slow down between albums.

 

It’s pretty damn amazing to sound like a different band on each release, let alone each track, but Dorsal Fins do this with relative ease.

 

‘Romeo’ is a mammoth...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★☆

 

Bangin’ beats? Check. Glittering electronics? Check.

 

Choral bursts and rallying ‘woah’s? Check, check. Sydney alt-pop four-piece Tigertown have been globetrotting for the past year, but their latest EP Papernote oozes more Aussie summer vibes than last year’s kelvin-filtered Insta photo of you on the beach in a Bintang singlet. 

 

Brimming...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★★

 

Xylouris White’s second album Black Peak represents the pairing of two virtuosic musicians and the union of two divergent musical styles.

 

Greek folk music collides with Australian post-rock, resulting in an exploratory hybridised torrent of frenetic energy and palpable intensity. This is a record simultaneously anchored in tradition and yet free; it’s...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★

 

Since 2011, everyone’s been waiting for a spiritual follow-up to Joyce Manor’s energetic self-titled debut.

 

The songs were fast and short, with the emotive punk energy of Jawbreaker and the lo-fi vibe and soul of Royal Headache. While that first record was firmly planted in the melodic punk/emo style, the raw punk energy set it apart from the genre’s...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★☆

 

It’s not hard to believe Korn are the same angsty band some of us locked ourselves away with as teens, because really, they still sound the same as they always have – only the novelty has worn off and they’ve lost direction. While it is heavier than their 2013 release The Paradigm Shift, the 12th album from the genre-hopping heavyweights is muddy at best.

 

...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:02pm

★★★★

 

Following on from her infectious EP Switch Tape, Tkay Maidza’s debut album somehow ups the ante even further. 

 

 

 

‘Always Been’ hits the ground running with a grimey, bass-heavy backing, quickly establishing the positive influence of producers Salva (Young Thug, A$AP Ferg) and Dre Skull (Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg). The lyrical flow within ‘...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 2:01pm

★★★★

 

Grr, argh!

 

There’s much meaty metal to be had in the debut offering from Sydney stoner sludgers Black Rheno. This truly is a juicy release, with six tracks of epic brutality rumbling back to back – and six tracks is all the EP needs to prove the band’s worth. 

 

There’s something wonderfully grating about Let’s Start A Cult. With no shortage...

Posted 31 Oct 2016 @ 10:16am

Reviewed on Saturday October 29 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Take a pinch of Lamb Of God and a heap of Slipknot, blend the metal concoction together on an arena stage, et voilà: a substantial serving of blood, sweat and cheers carnage.

 

As Lamb Of God began ‘512’, the crowd displayed excellent potential for mayhem pending the headliners’ arrival, encouraged by the...

Posted 28 Oct 2016 @ 4:54pm

Reviewed on Thursday October 28 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Horns up, motherfuckers. Bullet For My Valentine made a long-awaited return to Sydney with a complementary metal uniform in tow, and boy, the brutality did not disappoint.

 

The curtain dropped to reveal a huge BFMV banner, and while visually very cool, the intentionally moody build-up of smoke lost a lot of...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★★☆

 

The Nation Blue’s sheer lack of optimism is as compelling as it is disturbing.

 

Not the kind of artists to do things half-arsed, their first new material in nearly seven years sees them return with two albums at the same time: Black and Blue. It’s a lot to take in, hitting you like a sucker punch to the brain. But herein lies the beauty of this band.

...
Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★★☆

 

No space for mincing words on Let Them Eat Chaos: this is one of the most potent, powerful LP releases of 2016.

 

For those unfamiliar with her work, Kate Tempest is a multi-awarded and much-lauded poet, playwright and spoken word artist hailing from South-East London. Her appearance on Q&A earlier this year was incredibly affecting viewing, and that...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★☆

 

New-York-based alt-rock group The Pretty Reckless present their most honest and experimental album yet.

 

After a gimmicky introduction to music, the band has earned its place in the scope of modern rock – and man, are we glad about that.

 

There is a definite progression on this album as The Pretty Reckless have ventured out of their sonic...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

★★★☆

 

The princess of whimsy returns with a style adhering to the polish of What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, while injecting a dose of her old wit and a new serve of direct emotional address.

 

Spektor is always at her best when embracing her weirdo Soviet kitsch, so when the piano kicks in for ‘Grand Hotel’, her familiar warmth and playfulness emerge like the...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

★★★★

 

Josh Rennie-Hynes’ Furthermore arrives as a solid follow-up to his previous effort, February.

 

An organic, self-produced record, the album finds Rennie-Hynes exploring new terrain while sticking to what he does best: writing songs that linger long after the first listen.

 

Slow-burner ‘Where Do I Go’ begins the album on an introspective note,...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:34pm

★★★★

 

Thigh Master’s debut LP couldn’t have come soon enough.

 

The Queenslanders have become an established national touring act over the past few years, solidifying their position as a major part of this country’s indie rock circuit.

 

Now that they’ve dropped their first album after a few seven-inch releases, we finally have a solid chunk of Thigh...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:33pm

★★★★

 

Death as a career option inadvertently worked wonders for American Football – their sole album from 1999 achieved cult status among emo purists, and a run of reunion shows in 2014 sold out within minutes. 

 

A lot rides on their next move – a second LP that follows 17 years after the fact, contrasting between their early-20s malaise and their lives as late-...

Posted 24 Oct 2016 @ 12:26pm

Reviewed on Saturday October 22 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Irish songsmith Glen Hansard made special effort to start bang on 9pm, not out of mere cordiality, but in a genuine effort to cram as much of his music into the two-hour slot as he possibly could.

 

Taking to the Opera House stage with a dozen musicians, Hansard looked thrilled to be back, and to call his...

Posted 24 Oct 2016 @ 11:07am

Reviewed on Friday October 21

 

Tonight's headliners deserve the utmost kudos for still, after all these years, curating lineups that are spirited in their sonic diversity and reflective of their own evergreen eccentricities. Perhaps in no other circumstances would one see the free-form freakiness of a band like Seims juxtaposed so directly with the brash, charming garage-pop of...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:24pm

★★★★★

 

For well over a decade Alter Bridge have produced some profoundly deep and inspiring records for the world of rock.

 

The Last Hero is an epic continuation of the band’s saga of powerful releases.

 

The first half of the album is rife with messages of the band’s political leanings – the album’s title alone is a good indication. Desperate times...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:24pm

★★

 

2016 marks 30 years since Green Day first began.

 

Somehow, some way, the East Bay natives have managed to stay pertinent to successive generations, be it through brattish pop-punk or politically conscious arena rock. 

 

After a few years away, the amps are back up to 11 and the name Green Day is once again up in lights. It’s at this point things...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:24pm

★★★★

 

Beth Hart has been steadily dropping albums since the ’90s, and goddamn if Fire On The Floor isn’t her best yet.

 

A lot of records purport to take you on a journey – sailing through various genres and tempos, pushing and pulling, the whole fire and ice game. But it’s a rare gem that makes you feel that you’ve actually arrived somewhere new.

 

...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:23pm

★★★☆

 

Lisa Mitchell’s last effort Bless This Mess had its moments but lacked cohesion.

 

Warriors, on the other hand, has a firm sense of direction and purpose. 

 

Mitchell’s new album opens with ‘The Boys’, a fizzy song about friendship and hardcore crushing. While she openly set out to make a record you can dance to, the electronic elements are not...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:23pm

★★★★

 

The pacifying dream-pop sound that Melbourne trio Arbes brought to light off the back of their admirable first EP Swimmer is marginally adapted in their second release, Psalms.

 

Sounds of Warpaint or Alpine’s less electronic debut album spring to mind, but Arbes have captured something more melancholic.

 

Jess Zanoni’s delicate vocals lead us...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:23pm

★★★★

 

Sticky Fingers’ third album is one that very nearly never happened.

 

After cancelling a European tour and seeing one band member land in rehab, and another in a psych ward, it seemed as through a break-up was on the horizon. 

 

Luckily for the rest of us, the band got back in the studio to record Westway (The Glitter & The Slums), an album...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:22pm

★★

 

Kicking off with the stadium-sized ‘Higher’, which carries traces of the crunchy origins found on earlier EPs, seems to let listeners know that The Naked And Famous’ edgy, unhinged sound has made a return.

 

Alas, the record quickly dives into that good ol’ glossy dance-influenced pop. 

 

‘The Water Beneath You’moves like a Chvrches single and ‘My...

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