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Music Reviews

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 11:23am

Pissed off, technical, unique. It's everything you love about Dillinger with a new coat of slick professionalism.

 

It'd be hard to dispute that New Jersey band The Dillinger Escape Plan have become – somewhat reluctant – flag bearers for the “mathcore” genre; it’s one that has followed the quintet since the release of debut album Calculating Infinity over a decade ago.

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Posted 31 May 2013 @ 11:07am

Reviewed on Saturday May 18

 

The Hard-Ons are still playing when the news starts spreading. “Bar says no more beer!” meaty men mouth to their meaty mates. The order to stop selling beer cans, according to bar staff, came from “the band”. Either Jello Biafra doesn’t want to duck torpedoed cans all night or he knows that forcing The Metro to revoke the crowd’s beer rights would...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 11:00am

Reviewed on Thursday May 16

 

Demonstrates developed technical skills incorporating technical fluency? Check. Performs with a sense of personal expression and an understanding of solo/ensemble techniques? Check. New Empire was every HSC music teacher's dream. Parts memorised to perfection, head bangs on cue and decked out in colour-coordinated navy, black and white we-are-simple-...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 10:30am

The period where punk crossed over into post-punk yielded some intense, exciting music, and London’s Savages mine that particular vein with gusto. 

 

While their sound is a powerful, stark lurch for the jugular, their love of director John Cassavetes helps to place them firmly into the more art-house camp of post-punk. (The fiery single ‘Husbands’ is named after Cassavetes’ 1970...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 10:26am

An accomplished achievement in mature pop, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here.

 

For her first album in six years, Alison Moyet says she ignored talk of target demographics and eschewed the advert jazz covers normally expected of middle-aged singers. Instead, she teamed up with producer Guy Sigsworth – a musical marriage she likens to that of her time alongside Vince Clarke...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 10:23am

Home is an excellent start for this ‘slashie’ bass music foursome, and they strike the balance of their multitude influences with effortless aplomb. 

 

UK outfit Rudimental stormed charts everywhere with feel good hit ‘Feel The Love’ ft. John Newman in 2012, and after a string of equally successful follow up singles, we finally arrive at their debut album, ‘Home’.  While there’s...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 10:18am

Volume 3 echoes another era – it’s nostalgic but the classic twist is freshened up with accomplished lyrics, youthful harmonies and M. Ward’s production lending the record a golden light.

 

Volume 3 is She & Him’s most well-rounded, thematically consistent release to date (A Very She & Him Christmas had a built-in theme already so it doesn’t count!). Zooey Deschanel’s...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 10:15am

Grownass Man isn’t pushing musical boundaries, but that was never its intention. It’s just a fun and well-executed ode to the blues, lost love, brews and your crew.

 

There is a rich and storied tradition of musicians coming together in so-called “supergroups”, to varying levels of success (see The Traveling Wilburys, Monsters Of Folk, NKOTBSB, etc.). Last year Justin Vernon of...

Posted 31 May 2013 @ 10:10am

Enthralling vocals and melodies – equal parts delicate and striking – are all in abundance on MS MR’s cohesive debut album, Secondhand Rapture.

 

Saying that pop duo MS MR have attracted A LOT of attention in a very short space of time would be an understatement. After seeing MS MR’s explosive set at Laneway Festival earlier this year, it’s easy to see why. Bold and confident,...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 4:52pm

Reviewed on Friday May 10

 

The intimate size of the backroom at Goodgod gives gigs a delightful lounge-room feel, with the bands setting up onstage only a few feet away, plugging in their equipment and testing sound levels. It keeps things nice and relaxed, as Amy Franz and Hayley McKee sidle into a slightly scrappy hour-long set, plowing through most of their excellent new...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 4:40pm

These are not the sounds of an artist seeking anyone’s approval. Ghostpoet knows exactly how to dwell in a darkness flecked with light - everyone else needs to catch up.

 

Ghostpoet doesn’t seem to give two shits about comparisons and critical acclaim. The Brit’s 2011 debut Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam had everyone touting him as the next Roots Manuva, and even picked...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 4:24pm

It was never ever going to live up to its own inflated hype – after all, it’s impossible to be groundbreaking when you're trying to be sympathetic to a 30-year-old genre – but Random Access Memories is an intriguing beauty and a must for dance music fans with any concern for the history of the genre.

 

Random Access Memories is Daft Punk’s mega-expensive recompense for their...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 4:21pm

While fans of Mount Kimbie won’t be disappointed by Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, it never quite reaches the transcendent peaks of their debut.

 

Mount Kimbie's brilliant debut Crooks & Lovers helped define the 'post-dubstep' sound. While some American dubstep artists were competing for listeners’ attentions by seeing who could be the most aggressively irritating, artists...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 4:18pm

Delta Machine is one beautifully bleak, absorbing release in line with Depeche Mode’s best work.

 

Delta Machine, Depeche Mode’s 13th album, marks the end of an era – the completion of Depeche Mode’s trilogy of LPs with producer Ben Hillier. Their working relationship has culminated in a potent finale; Delta Machine is an engrossing release.

 

Typically, Delta...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 4:12pm

Turner manages to redeem himself towards the end of Tape Deck Heart with the dark droning of ‘Broken Piano’, which provides an interesting production-heavy alternative to the trusty four-chord formula, if nothing else.

 

This reviewer’s had myriad reasons to steer clear of Frank Turner. All of those involve various songs/records/gigs of his being ruined by the memory of some...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 3:24pm

There is the hint that something big is coming for Beaches, and that’s probably no accident. 

 

There’s little hiding the fact that Beaches are one of the best guitar groups in Australia. The Melbourne five-piece’s rare live appearances are torrid affairs that draw in the listener with meaty washes of guitar sound, and then splutter-spit them unforgivingly out the other side....

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 3:19pm

Lip Lock doesn’t feature much of the street smarts or sass Eve made her name with. The album feels scattered which makes for a disappointing comeback after more than a decade.

 

In the 11 years since Eve’s last album, a lot has changed in the hip hop world and the music industry. She was the ‘First Lady’ of the Ruff Ryders crew (DMX, Swizz Beatz, Jadakiss) and one of the first...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 3:09pm

With a relentless five-note descending mutant riff that threads the entirety of Drag Your Body, Collingwood’s Batpiss claw you right in the Achilles tendon and don’t let up till you’re fully submerged in a slow-burning pit of toxic tar, beating you down with pure dread and disdain along the way. A superb, heavy slice of the post-apocalyptic record Nuclear Winter.

 

BY LACHLAN...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 2:47pm

Lifted from their upcoming full-length Uncanny Valley, Memorium is a majestic return to the dancefloor for the freshly resurgent synth purveyors. Never overreaching, frontman Vince Vendetta commanding baritone draws you in with the inflections of Bela Legosi’s Dracula. Percussive rave synths are on point, and the minimalist coda has an eerie undercurrent, sounding like a spaced-out Angelo...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 2:47pm

There’s an enticing swirl of hypnotic instrumentation present on Human – a disjointed snare punctuation, understated guitar pulses and a subtle orchestral build. The cries of “despite everything / I’m still human” skirt between a razor’s edge of fragility and empowerment, eventually surrendering with the final line which is best enjoyed spoiler-free.

 

BY LACHLAN KANONIUK (follow...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 2:31pm

Approaching the release of their first LP in five years, Josh Homme and co. are riding a wave of near-infallibility. It’s deserved, I guess, considering that QOTSA have never produced anything truly awful – and memories of their greatest moments can carry them over more languid moments such as Era Vulgaris and this, a slowed down carousel-like track that never really lifts. It’s solid, and...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 2:21pm

Was really hoping this would be a RiRi cover, but alas, it’s a shitty dose of drunken Brit guitar that tries to act clever with a tempo switch-up. Do these NME-knighted lads know what fate is in store? They’re bound to end up on the indie scrapheap alongside that band I can’t remember that sounded like The Libertines and that other band that sounded like the band I can’t remember. No one can...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 11:04am

A measured little folk jaunt, Tomorrow Morning balances the two strong vocal leads from Sweet Jean AKA Sime Nugent and Alice Keath. Lush strings and orchestral percussion bolster the Fleet Foxes-like core. Nothing too spectacular, but still sitting well above most of the mainstream folk glut.

 

BY LACHLAN KANONIUK (follow Lachlan on ...

Posted 17 May 2013 @ 11:00am

It’s approaching summer in the northern hemisphere, so here we have a tilt at a summer YOLO club banger anthem. Despite a slick intro and signature Miami-shoutout from Pitbull (who, for some reason, I find really listenable), Live It Up falls apart due to the rampant folly of cramming as many hooks into a pop song as possible. Pretty much everything J-Lo sings could classify as a chorus, none...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 5:51pm

Reviewed on Saturday May 11

 

It was a confused atmosphere before Saturday’s gig. Punters in their least-ripped band shirts appeared nervous. A half-naked guy wearing devil horns and painted head-to-toe in red stared quizzically at an extensive wine list. The long tresses of interspersed metalheads (some in suit jackets) were unusually well-brushed. A puzzling picture indeed,...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 5:49pm

Reviewed on Friday May 10

 

You Am I guitarist Davey Lane opens the bill in solo mode tonight; his melancholic six-string rock a nice prelude to his later appearance as part of Kevin Mitchell’s stage band. In the meantime, it’s Tigertown – and what a discovery these guys are. They’re like Fleetwood Mac raised on a diet of atmospheric synths and rolling African rhythms. Later,...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 5:46pm

Reviewed on Friday May 3

 

After more than a decade of sold-out shows and electrifying festival appearances, Melbourne Ska Orchestra brought the jims, the jams and the swing when the 30-piece band hit the stage on Friday night. Imagine the force of more than a dozen horn players, a mean rhythm section, percussionist, two organists and three singers and you may begin to understand...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 5:41pm

Reviewed on Thursday May 2

 

If there’s one place that you can abandon cultural cringe once and for all, it’s at Sydney’s favourite metal barn on a freezing Thursday. The hangar is already at half capacity when Melbourne’s reigning champs of Weird Electronica Midnight Juggernautstake to the stage. They roar through a stellar set, which includes road tests of new material from...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 5:34pm

Reviewed on Friday May 3

 

A single spotlight illuminated a table made from scaffolding as Tool’s mystery support DJ walked onstage to complete silence. Dropping straight into Prince’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, Tool fans began to second guess if they were at the right venue. Grooving though a selection of feel-good party hits, the DJ’s set slowly became darker as he ventured from...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 5:26pm

Reviewed on Wednesday May 1

 

To say the last twelve months have been kind to this group would be an understatement. Last year, having completed a stadium tour with Coldplay, cleaned up at the ARIAs and booked dates at Lollapalooza in Chile and Brazil, The Temper Trap’s triumphant homecoming promised to deliver.

 

Support came from theatrical and captivating indie...

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