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Album Reviews

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:22pm

8.5

 

There’s a captivating whimsy present across the new release from Elbow.
 
The British alt-rockers have been hard at work producing their seventh album Little Fictions –their first without long-time drummer Richard Jupp – and the results embrace a more minimal aesthetic, yet still retain Guy Garvey’s songwriting mastery. It’s an addition to their discography that...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:21pm

5

 

There’s a new type of ballad in town, and gone are the big chords, big voices and bigger hair. These tunes of communal catharsis are roomy and gloomy affairs; vocals wafting over fudgy chords, thrumming basslines speckled with electronics.
 
Such is the case in Melancholia, the first EP from Melbourne singer/songwriter Bel, which – as the ominous title suggests –...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:18pm

5

 

In the world of progressive metal, there’s something refreshing about an album that de-emphasises flashy instrumentation and jarring time signature changes. Each musician in Soen is a master of their respective instrument, but this isn’t shoved in the listener’s face through overzealous solos or technical wankery. Instead, Lykaia works to build a particular atmosphere and...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:17pm

7

 

The Incessant follows two EPs and 2015's Delusion Moon, and fans of Meat Wave will immediately note that their new release lacks a little of the flavour and likeability of previous releases. This change is understandable in the context of the album. The Incessant comes as a response to frontman Chris Sutter exiting a relationship that lasted over a decade, and the fallout of...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:16pm

7.5

 

Sailor & I is the rather quaint and opaque alias for Swedish electro terrorist Alexander Sjodin. He lives the dream craving the rave wave.
 
Chameleon is like any pop take-off that harbours both the sense of the familiar and the new. Atmospheric convention exudes from the strains of Fire On The Moon. Referencing the pondering charm of David Sylvian with just...

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 2:14pm

9

 

“You’re … real fun,” spits Lorri Williams’ Billie towards the beginning of the 1965 cult classic, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. “Like a velvet glove cast in iron.”
 
She’s talking about her friend and accomplice Varla, but the evergreen quote applies just as well to II, the new work by The Courtneys
 
See, there’s a lot to love about II – its choruses...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:49pm

9

 

Dave Graney once told Triple R listeners that he held Will Oldham in high regard, based on the impression that when listening to Oldham’s work there was an authenticity to it that wasn’t entirely present in other artists attempting the same sorts of things. Valerie June possess that same quality.
 
The Order of Time has been four years in gestation, June says she...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:48pm

8

 

Although they’ve been rattling around the east coast of Australia creating havoc on dance floors and blowing speakers for almost seven years, Satellite is The Harlots first full-length release.  On vinyl, no less – and it’s been well worth the wait.
 
If you were to pick up a track or two you could be forgiven for comparing the Melbourne band to just about any...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:47pm

4

 

At almost an hour, The Flaming Lips’ fourteenth album Oczy Mlody goes for at least 20 minutes too long. That’s not to say a long record is necessarily a bad thing, it’s more that there are far too many meandering moments on the album that could’ve been cut down.
 
The record shows promise with the titular opening track, which is a delicate and ambient instrumental...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:45pm

8

 

A friend of mine had a Sodastream back in the day.  By the standards of the era, it was a fun kitchen toy: take tap water, compressed carbon dioxide and a dose of sickly sweet syrup and voila – a sweet fizzy drink.  A couple of years ago we pulled it out of storage and gave it a go.  The results were unimpressive, like searching nutritional value in a Sunnyboy or dramatic...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:44pm

8.5

 

Nominee’s infectious new EP Drag Me Out, is a pop punk historiography of everything good the genre has to offer. It connects with fans on a personal level as lead singer Chris McLelland belts out passionate lyrics to shed light on the reality of bipolar disorder. The tracks are full of punchy kick drums and fills, and quickly jump from riff to riff.
 
Harmonic...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:43pm

8

 

The soft Bluebelle opens the album, its piano melody layered by Frank Carter’s flowery vocals lull you into a peaceful state of mind. Just as you get comfortable Lullaby yanks you right out of that tranquil reverie, kicking off with a catchy guitar riff as Carter’s raw vocals mesmerise, reminding you how much of a powerful impact he truly has on British rock today.
 ...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:30pm

9

 

Freedom Highway is an aural representation of the history of black people’s struggle within America. The album, Rhiannon Giddens’ second solo full length, digs into the past to comment on current sociological and political developments in the USA. Whether it’s slave narratives from the 1800s, civil rights anthems from the ‘60s or country blues from Mississippi, Giddens...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:58pm

8

 

The follow-up to 2014’s I Am King and Code Orange’s first LP on metal label Roadrunner Records, Forever is a culmination of nine years of savagery. The method remains the same – ruthless metal-infused hardcore, laced with end-of-the-world electronic samples and, you bet, breakdowns for days.
 
Previous efforts, Love Is Love/Return To Dust and I Am King, although...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:56pm

7.5

 

Much like her hero Slim Dusty did all those years ago, Kasey Chambers is looking forward and looking back on her eighth solo LP. Of course, when you've been making music since you were a child, there is a lot to take in – and it's on the back of this that Dragonfly deserves credit from the outset.
 
 It's an ambitious double disc, acknowledging every corner of...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:55pm

8

 

According to physicist Brian Green, the commonly understood notion of linear time is a fallacy. The events of 20 years, today and 20 years into the so-called future are part of a same space time ‘loaf’ – what we consider ‘now’ is simply a slice of that loaf. 
 
In that context, The Happy Lonesome’s debut album was already written when Matt Green (no relation to...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:52pm

7

 

Brian Eno lives, as he’s always done, by the mantra that it’s okay to turn your back on what is being offered and seek out something different.
 
Reflection adds to a mountain of work that is now approaching Mount Everest proportions. An eternity could elapse if one was to comprehend all the Eno foibles and digest all its tangents, although this is precisely what...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:51pm

7

 

Title track, Warpath, opens the album in brutal fashion. Daniel Sharp’s lead vocals are hectic, and it doesn’t take long before your head starts involuntarily banging along. With two guitarists and a bassist, the band are able to conjure up some fairly diverse instrumental dynamics, consistently backed by the thundering percussion of Karl Stellar. Backstabber is the perfect...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:49pm

7.5

 

While acknowledging the ascent of jangle-pop burnouts Dune Rats over the last few years, one must also acknowledge the backlash. For every packed show and rousing singalong, there's been an equally vocal series of detractors that demonise the band for their bong-ripping hedonism. Whatever your stance, the trio have an undeniable presence in the Australian music climate –...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:48pm

9

 

Camp Cope and Cayetana’s split 7” is a fusion of indie punk beats with folk melodies in a minor key.
 
The tracks alternate from one band to another, complimenting the music effortlessly and leaving you hungry for more. As inversions of each other from opposite sides of the world, both bands hold your attention with their individuality while giving you some common...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:51pm

6.5

 

Drawing from a wide range of influences like disco, funk, soul and reggae, Life & Livin' It is a positive album, with a positive message. However, it perhaps suffers from overly careful arrangements and is undone, at points, by its own cleverness, leaving it often sounding overproduced.
 
Nowhere is the album’s positive message more evident than on U’Huh....

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:51pm

7.5

 

Garwood's sixth album Garden of Ashes continues almost seamlessly from the last track on his  2015 album Heavy Love. 
   
The album has a rich southern-gothic blues infused feel, heavy on the reverb and with punchy, cyclical guitar riffs and pounding bass percussion. Garwood's lyrics are visceral and foreboding. His delivery deep and languid, ranging from rich...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:49pm

9

 

What do you get when you cross a mad hunter and a dangerous rabbit? You get a dirty garage rock duo from a small village just outside of Helsinki. The Pink Pussycats from Hell are a Finnish band who love alliteration and puns. Most likely inspired by their proximity to Helsinki – their debut album, Hell-P is filled with track titles such as Hellbow, Hellectric and Hell Dorado...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:47pm

8.5

 

Minor Victories’ new album Orchestral Variations follows the group's 2016 eponymous debut and is arguably pure genius, but possibly not for everyone – fans of the first album perhaps included. 
 
The group has deftly sidestepped the issue of difficult second album syndrome with a self-reflexive instrumental re-imagining. Orchestral Variations elicits the...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:46pm

7

 

Chelsea Bleach has been working hard, with the entire EP recorded, mixed and mastered by their drummer. The DIY production adds to the finished product, giving it this raw, sweat-soaked, garagey vibe you can almost taste.
 
Opening track Daydreams could almost be described as coastal punk, starting with cruisy guitar backing before breaking into the head-banging...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:45pm

8.5

 

Sleater-Kinney’s return from hiatus in 2014 was, and continues to be, a triumph. Coming straight off the bat with the release of a new record, 2015’s critically acclaimed No Cities to Love, the band has continued to tour and perform at the peak of their strengths, losing nothing in their break.
 
Live in Paris captures the band early in their reunion tour, a...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:39pm

9

 

The long-awaited follow up to 2013’s The North Boarders couldn’t have come at a more relevant time for Bonobo. As an artist with a worldly influence of sounds, the record conjures up images of home and displacement when switching between minor strings and catchy drum loops.
 
A reflective album, written after British producer Simon Green moved away from London. He...

Posted 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:28pm

6

 

Vienna based British electronic producer SOHN (Christopher Taylor) has done it. He’s cracked into mainstream. That is, this current malaise of easy listening beats based music clogging our ‘curated’ playlists.
 
Rennen is the equivalent of pouring warm maple syrup onto the bacon of your ear; yet as we all know, if you over-dowse the alluded-to Canadian delicacy,...

Posted 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:27pm

7

 

A Lovejoy is Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s 39th solo album since he began firing them out in 2004. In 2017 he has 17 slated for release and no, they aren’t all four track demos tossed off on a tour bus, these (appear) to be fully realized projects, spanning every genre with a Wikipedia page, and more. If A Lovejoy is any indication of the level of quality then Rodriguez-Lopez has...

Posted 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:25pm

7

 

Ocean Sleeper’s self-produced EP is polished from a production standpoint but still feels rough as guts in your ear, which is definitely a good thing.
 
Opening track Sleepless works as an extended intro, layering the full instrumental suite behind incredibly haunting vocals, culminating as the lead-in to Breaking Free – an intense change of pace. Supported by an...

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