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Music Reviews

Posted 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:06am

Reviewed on Friday October 14

 

Too often beauty gets confused with scope. There is a dominating misnomer that to be powerful, music has to be big – that the only choruses with the ability to wrench hearts and dominate inner lives are loud and large and full of a crashing aggression.

 

But such a hypothesis ignores the pleasures to be found in the work of musicians...

Posted 17 Oct 2016 @ 10:56am

Reviewed on Thursday October 13

 

Leading the night’s colourful charge was the delightful Miss Eileen & King Lear, a brother-sister duo plucked from their own more expansive family group, Perch Creek. The latter are a well-established presence on the festival scene these days, and while Eileen and Lear don’t deviate too far from what makes Perch Creek so engrossing, they do...

Posted 17 Oct 2016 @ 10:42am

Reviewed on Friday October 14 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Donning white clothes and straitjackets smeared with fake blood, the delirium of Lacuna Coil takes hold of the Metro with an explosive boom of goth techno and metal romance.

 

Musically, Lacuna Coil are good. Really good. Singer Cristina Scabbia has the most phenomenal voice; a powerful tone and unwavering pitch...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:30pm

★★★★★

 

At first glance, The Peep Tempel’s decision to name their new record Joy seems like a sick joke.

 

After all, this is a band famous for writing the world’s least glamorous love song; a band that tell tales of pathetic gangsters, and the slow, sad dance of divorce. 

 

But quite quickly Joy reveals itself as a distinctly hopeful record. Sure, it’...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:27pm

★★★★

 

In pre-Enlightenment days, people who claimed they could predict the future were revered for their apparent magical abilities, condemned as crackpots, or put to death as witches.

 

These days, add in a bit of trite economic analysis and corporate jargon and predicting the future of the market can make you an absolute fortune as a consultant, or, in...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:02pm

★★★

 

Four years after their debut and following much fan outrage via social media, The Laurels have finally succumbed to what the crowd wants.

 

With Sonicology, the Sydney boys take us on a hazy adventure through a range of genre styles. 

 

Sonicology sounds like what would happen if The Beatles, The Dandy Warhols and a selection of ’90s Brit pop...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:01pm

★★

 

Though Set It Off bring a few irritatingly catchy tunes to the table with their new record Upside Down, ultimately the record is just straight up irritating.

 

It’s a shame, because things start well, and the album has nothing if not depth – it shows off a collection of tones that move from the sugar sweet bubble gum vibe of ‘Something New’, to the faux heavy-...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:01pm

★★★★☆

 

Since the release of her lauded single ‘Pool Party’, critics have scrambled over themselves to compare Julia Jacklin to other musicians.

 

Names like Courtney Barnett and Angel Olsen have all been summoned, while the word ‘alt-Americana’ has been used probably more than is necessary.

 

’Cause here’s the thing: though Jacklin pays tribute to a...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:00pm

★★★☆

 

After an eight-year hiatus, Goblin Cock are finally back, bringing with them a strange offering indeed.

 

Combining stoner metal with math rock, Necronomidonkeykongimicon is a deeply political album, aimed to take on a corrupt society.

 

The great vocal performance heard on the album comes courtesy of Lord Phallus, the alter-ego of Pinback...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 11:59am

★★★☆

 

Los Angeles-based Warpaint make bold new strides towards unexplored territory on their third album Heads Up, showing a surprising new side to their sound while retaining their signature psychedelic infused approach to makin’ art.

 

Long renowned for their dreamy soundscapes and haunting vocal performances, the band’s magnetism makes for a thrilling listen....

Posted 11 Oct 2016 @ 11:52am

Reviewed on Saturday October 8

 

No matter the gig – be it a lone folk singer in the corner of a pub, or a stadium heaving with the energy of 10,000 people – you always hope that what you're about to witness turns out to be historic. Imagine being there in the Cavern Club when The Beatles first took to the stage, or that time Keith Richards revealed he is actually an immortal...

Posted 10 Oct 2016 @ 5:31pm

Reviewed on Thursday October 6.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a rocker who harbours fond memories of your noughties emo heydays, or you’re a young’un new to the world of rock gigs: when you go to see Escape The Fate you enter a place where everyone comes together in love. From the supports to the beers, the hyped-up crowd to the insane guitar riffs the group bring, there’s...

Posted 6 Oct 2016 @ 11:54am

 

Sydney four-piece Oslow have their roots in hardcore, but material from their upcoming LP – songs like ‘Cold, Dark Space’ – sees them moving in a more melodic direction, albeit with touches of the breakneck pace and abrasive din associated with bands like Cloud Nothings and Violent Soho.

 

A polite, unassuming stage presence belies their muscular, aggressive approach and...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 1:18pm

★★★★☆

 

There is something singularly liberating about “ugly” music.

 

Songs that defy musical constraints come with their own inbuilt meditative quality: you can’t blast a record like Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition in the middle of a packed party or over a family dinner, for example, and the record has been designed to be consumed alone. 

 

As a...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 1:18pm

★★★★

 

Tiny Little Houses’ second EP Snow Globe pushes the band’s sonic boundaries, amplifying their trademark sorrow as they venture into darker, more tormented territories via lead singer Caleb Karvountzis’ bleak lyricism. 

 

Opening track ‘Medicate Me’ is immediately more gritty and fuller sounding than the band’s previous output, with the line, “I don’t want to...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 1:18pm

★★★☆

 

Requiem is a menagerie of sound and colour, a record that combines world instruments with catchy licks, creating a cascade of good vibes and chill beats in the process.

 

‘I Sing In Silence’ is anything but silent: it’s a cacophony of colourful instrumentation and united voices creating a truly sterile ambience, a chill song that speaks of unity without ever...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 1:17pm

★★☆

 

Both the adversity and success experienced by Of Mice & Men in recent years has culminated in Cold World, a record that proves incredibly diverse.

 

Indeed, if the album’s anything, it’s too diverse. Even though it does feature appealing and clean production, there’s just something missing.

 

The album does have its high points: there are...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 1:17pm

★★★★☆

 

On their fourth album Friends, the enigmatic trio from England known as White Lies wrote and recorded without the backing of a label.

 

Instead of seeing this as an imposition, they took it as a great boon and recorded without deadlines, budget or the need for record company approval. The result of this experiment is a polished album filled with highlights,...

Posted 3 Oct 2016 @ 3:18pm

Reviewed on Saturday October 1.

 

The concept of musical ‘coolness’ is a tricky one. Tunes that routinely get characterised as stylish by the media are exactly the same kind of songs destined to inspire great bouts of cringe only years later, as even the most cursory of glances at the hits of the early ’00s proves. Music has a shelf-life, and more often than not, it’s a short one...

Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:07pm

★★★★☆

 

In the post-fact world we now reside in, it feels hard to approach anything with real sincerity, much less sing in a voice free from irony.

 

For that reason, Tom Stephens’ What Lies In The Difference proves to be an exceptional record in all senses of the word: as a debut album it is startlingly self-contained and assured, but as a passionate, strikingly...

Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:07pm

★★★★

 

When Shining Bird released their debut album Leisure Coast in 2013, they stunned with their pure and expansive Australiana sound. 

 

Their follow-up album Black Opal continues in the same vein, but with new levels of energy and confidence.

 

Opener ‘I Can Run’ immediately makes apparent the musical influence of the late ’80s and early ’90s,...

Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:06pm

★★★☆

 

It’s been just over two years since Remi’s debut LP Raw x Infinity dropped, and in that time things have gone gangbusters for both the man himself and his partner in crime Sensible J.

 

Unsurprisingly then, Divas & Demons has been one of the most highly anticipated records of 2016.

 

The album is punctuated by Sensible J’s stripped-down...

Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:06pm

★★★☆

 

Memphis four-piece Nots continue to make off-kilter music with a frenetic energy that moves from unrelenting to unsettling on Cosmetic, their second full-length album.

 

The title track feels reminiscent of Clockcleaner or Pissed Jeans as it lurches along; the band are deranged, wide-eyed and perched at the ready to move from the shadows to attack with feline...

Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:06pm

 

Oh boy, where to start with this pile of shit?

 

My assumption was that Matt Berry’s music was going to be an extended joke, an element of his acting work, laughs and side-splitters aplenty. Unfortunately, you’ll quickly realise The Small Hours isn’t a joke. Which begs the question, can a comedian do serious music?

 

Berry is incredibly hilarious....

Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:05pm

★★★☆

 

Almost two years to the day since Banks dropped her debut album Goddess, a brand new chapter has revealed itself within the 28-year-old Californian’s young career.

 

The Altar boasts 12 tracks that encompass balladry, contemporary hip-hop and tenacious EDM, all the while staying true to the flowing narrative style of lyricism that earned her a fan base.

...
Posted 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:05pm

★★★☆

 

The Banks & Steelz story began five years ago, when Paul Banks of Interpol fame and the Wu Tang Clan’s head honcho RZA cut a demo together in between chess-playing sessions.

 

While the unlikely duo had never planned on releasing a full-length album, fate had different plans.

 

Banks’ shoegaze-y riffs and resigned indie rock vocal stylings...

Posted 26 Sep 2016 @ 9:21am

Reviewed on Saturday September 17

 

Zeahorse's single launch was a long time in the making, as a result of having to reschedule the show due to ill health earlier in the year. Regardless of whether or not this was the cause for them packing out the Botany View Hotel before the bands even started and the footy was still on, the fact remains that such an achievement is a feat in...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:51pm

★★★★☆

 

I Freak Out feels a lot like a debut album; although it’s only six songs long, it’s a release that says more than its length would suggest.

 

It cements The Hard Aches as a band to watch, while cramming emotionally and musically dense content into every second, leaving the release bursting at the seams.

 

After slimming the band down to a two-...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:50pm

★★★☆

 

The first release under the name Preoccupations (the band FKA Viet Cong) sees the Canadian post-punk quartet dial in on a newfound sonic identity.

 

While angular guitar streaks were massaged with beaming synth lines in their 2015 debut, ’80s-era synth hooks and overarching melodies now take pole position in Preoccupations. 

 

Opening track ‘...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:49pm

★★★★

 

Plini is that rare kind of guitar virtuoso: the kind with utterly stunning technical chops rivalled only by his compositional sense.

 

For some guitarists that means writing catchy songs with traditional forms, but in Plini’s case it means every track evolves and grows like an orchestral piece or soundtrack.

 

On his admittedly short debut full-...

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