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Album Reviews

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 12:50pm

9

 

Australian indie folk music has a new queen. Her name is Domini Forster. Opening with Under Water, edgy xylophone melodies combined with softly picked guitar and the honey dripped vocals of Forster play out in a great opening track. Put it simply, she knows how to craft a folk pop gem.
 
Gentle and melodic, it’s easy to get lost in the sweeping sounds of Black Dog...

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 12:48pm

8

 

The Waifs are warmly welcomed back to the Australian music scene with their new album Ironbark, a nod to their core influences – friends, family, a love of music and performing, and Australia itself. Most predominant in their new 25-track album is this Australis theme, a tribute to its nature and its people, essential ingredients in the extraordinary body of work the Waifs...

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 12:42pm

9.5

 

More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me gets straight down to business with the fast-paced, punchy rock track Forrest kicking off the album, followed by the lighter, more reserved Birthdays. Here listeners learn this album is not going to be a fully charged, guns-blazing rock album but rather a concise and descriptive journey lead by the ever autobiographical Wil Wagner. Next...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:42am

7

 

Spoon have come a long way since they emerged in the ‘90s as an indie-rock outfit delivering minimalistic, guitar heavy tracks, and after nine albums and 24 years, there has been a definitive shift in their sound.
 
Hot Thoughts sees Spoon’s progression from simplistic acoustic tracks to synth soaked beats complimented by funky twangs of bass guitar. The album is...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:42am

8

 

Sleaford Mods are unavoidably themselves: punk-rock laid bare, lean-muscle, restless and writhing. Jason Williamson’s sing-speak punk poetry is spat out in such a utilitarian way that – at first – you wonder what business the songs have being so damn good.
 
The truth is that the Sleaford Mods have the recipe: the songs are hooky-as-fuck, they’re executed with...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:41am

7

 

Songs Of Love And Death is much less skull crunching heaviness and more Robert Johnson toe-tapping at the crossroad, waiting for the Prince of Darkness so he can sell his soul. The inner demon of Adam "Nergal" Darski, the leader of Behemoth remains never far away throughout.
 
Me And That Man provide ample proof they can write stripped-back anthems full of...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:40am

8

 

Across much of Silver Eye, mood takes precedence over narrative. The preferencing of imagery over heavy-handed storytelling has always been key to Goldfrapp’s aesthetic. The absence of words is also used effectively: verses are often interspersed with instrumental breaks that help build momentum. Walls of synth rise with purpose, as if in slow motion.
 
Alison...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:39am

7.5

 

If a two-piece blues-rock band from Adelaide is an evil twin, is the good twin KC and the Sunshine Band, with its 16-member ensemble and AM-tuned pop repertoire? 
 
It really doesn’t matter, especially when you lend an ear to Evil Twins’ new album, Broken Blues.  It starts with I Don’t Mind, a growling meander through the Delta swamp, leans into a cocky denim...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:38am

7

 

Droplet – the musical project of singer/songwriter and producer Demi Papazoglou – is shaking up the Melbourne music scene through a tirade of minimalist electronica that’s hard hitting when it needs to be and encompasses raw emotion at its highest points.
 
Humanimal shows a haunting vocal prowess transitioning to buzzsaw synths. It’s clear Papazoglou shines the...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:30am

8.5

 

Long before hashtag slogans became part of the lingua franca of social media, music fans did declare themselves #1 fans of the pop sensation of the moment.  Whether it was The Beatles, the Stones, Bay City Rollers or ABBA, there was always someone prepared to anoint themselves as the band’s most devoted follower.
 
The Pink Tiles play music that’s straight from...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:22pm

7

 

The French Press is a little bit more of a slow burn than some of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s previous work. The title track features some bouncy guitar riffs to kick the record off. Julie’s Place is a little more subdued and the vocals fail to fire. Sick Bug combines an infectious riff and abrasive vocals that have a very raw feel. The kind that sound like they’ve...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:20pm

6

 

Though Sick Scenes marks their sixth studio album and their first in four years, significant change has apparently eluded Welsh indie-pop group Los Campesinos!. Don’t go into this record expecting some radical creative detour on the band’s part.
 
Los Campesinos! have always excelled in dispensing bittersweet, heart-on-sleeve witticisms and, pleasingly, they step...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:18pm

5.5

 

Remember when Less Than Jake were awesome? When they were really at their peak? Then they had a strange slump that’s lasted a few years. With their latest release, Sound The Alarm, Less Than Jake are like toddlers learning to walk, trying to find their feet again.
 
After more than two decades of delivering some of the greatest anthems in the ska-punk genre,...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:17pm

7.5

 

The amount of thought and attention poured into the four tracks on Songs In Your Name make it clear how dedicated Huntly are to their craft. The Melbourne three-piece make pop music with an electronic basis that is highly melodic but imbued with an uncommon emotional honesty and intelligence.
 
There’s a lot of space left in the tracks between the beats, synth...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:09pm

6

 

Depending on your personal tastes, you’re likely to regard this compilation as exhaustively comprehensive, or exhaustingly overblown. At 90 songs spread over four discs, it isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for its entirety, but that probably isn’t the intention here.
 
Buster Brown’s 1973 version of Roll Over Beethoven (featuring Angry Anderson and Phil Rudd...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:07pm

7.5

 

Predicting what the next Brian Jonestown Massacre release will sound like is a foolish wager. The outfit have released 16 albums across an eclectic spread of style and technique – so what should you do this time? Do it all at once, apparently.
 
 
Anton Newcombe and co. have never retreated from experimentation – indeed, it's their entire modus operandi...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 12:55pm

8

 

Like any musician breaking away from a band into the solo abyss, shaking the preconceptions and ideals of what came before can be a testing exercise. Nonetheless, Tame Impala’s Cameron Avery first solo effort is such a departure from the psych futurism embodying Kevin Parker’s creative behemoth that allowing prejudice to weigh you down could be rendered rebellious.
 ...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 1:43pm

 

On his debut album, Rag’n’Bone Man fuses all the best parts of pop, gospel, modern hip hop and classic soul – his raw vocals adding to the emotion.
 
Innocent Man echoes John Legend’s best work, utilising brass horns to full effect, while Skin’s introduction lays the gospel organ on thick before launching into a full choir backing. Be The Man is a poppy number, contrasting...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 1:41pm

7

 

Sophomore album After Hours, Close to Dawn has some really great tracks on it. Lead single Creepin sounded great live and is impressive on record. Golden drew a lot of attention for its distinct and ‘un-Kingswood’ sound. It’s a really good song – yes, it does sound different to the tracks on their debut, but is that such a terrible thing? Library Books is another strong and...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 1:40pm

8

 

We’re fast approaching the eye of Hurricane Gizzard in 2017, and the first upon the staggering stack of five albums they'll release this year is a welcome corker.
 
In true King Giz fashion, Flying Microtonal Banana represents another stylistic territory to conquer – gentler, but never reserved. Indeed, tracks like Open Water and Rattlesnake exude the same frantic...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 1:39pm

7.5

 

Foam’s debut album showcases a furious mix of psychedelic, garage and alternative rock; echoing the likes of the Butthole Surfers or The Drones. Mass Chew is particularly mellow compared to what comes next, with some interesting guitar effects to kick things off. The garage-tone really shines through with Get On Board, with its incredibly infectious riff that’ll have you...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 1:38pm

8.5

 

A treasure trove of Australian electronic music composed during the ‘70s and ‘80s. From the obscure Informatics, German Humour, And An A, Distant Locust to the borderline important, The Metronomes, Voight/465, Whirlywirld, Primitive Calculators to those who had at least 15 minutes of fame such as The Reels, Models, Dugites, Ya Ya Choral and Machinations. This is a...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 1:31pm

8

 

The Shins’ fifth album Heartworms is their first in four years and the follow-up to The Port of Morrow. Anticipation has been high for the latest offering from the indie stalwarts, with the enigmatic James Mercer again at the helm of their latest creation. The angular melodic pop on this release is masterfully arranged and produced. Kooky vocal arrangements, bizarre...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 9:38am

9

 

Paint has a very upbeat and funky, almost psychedelic feel, with drums and a flowing synth omnipresent. Like a more upbeat Tame Impala record, Paint keeps the swaying tunes coming, with vocals almost as catchy as the rhythms. Once you fall in love with this record, you find yourself singing the lyrics in your head all day and you aren’t even a little bit mad about it....

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 2:21pm

8

 

Close Your Eyes and See is the seventh album from globetrotting Australian legends The Blackeyed Susans, who have been whipping up a sophisticated emotive storm since 1989. On this enticing album, which was elegantly produced by Dan Luscombe, the band create a richly textured sound that embraces light and shade while managing to be both atmospheric and memorably melodic....

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 2:19pm

6.5

 

Opener Certainty suggests a band in the throes of old school synth-pop as if Gary Numan never left popular taste. All Join In updates things a little but the peevish singalong shows that the band favour a slow evolution, albeit with slightly underdone results.
 
Vocalist James Bagshaw sounds like a choirboy who could use a shot of caffeine – his saccharine voice...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 2:18pm

8.5

 

It is in the context of ruby-tinged memories of rock’n’roll’s old school aesthetic that we turn to Powerline Sneakers. This is a band filled to the brim with old school rock’n’roll credibility: Sly Faulkner (Splatterheads), John Nolan (Powdermonkeys), Katie Dixon (Ripe) and Mark Hurst (Guttersnipes). Powerline Sneakers is awash with the brazen attitude of punk rock, the...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 2:17pm

8

 

MC Solo’s voice is not the most melodic going around. His monotone delivery is more akin to spoken word than braggadocious raps, and for newcomers to Horrorshow’s music one or two spins is unlikely to convert you. More is the shame. Because here is the thing: Solo is quite possibly the best lyricist on the local scene today.
 
His prose flows effortlessly,...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 2:16pm

7

 

The Bats come out with their guns casually blazing on their ninth studio album, The Deep Set. 20 years on, The Dunedin lifers can still produce a collection of songs replete with pop pleasantries and full of wistful whimsy.
 
Opener Rooftops shifts fluidly from sad indie pop to an uplifting chorus that morphs into a crescendoing climax with escalating guitar...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 2:14pm

5

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Homeshake – think of Toro y Moi slowed down to 33 rpm and a joint piping out Chaz Bundick’s mouth. The lackadaisical Mac DeMarco offshoot that is Peter Sagar produces slacker synth pop which is useful listening in two situations – when you’re high or as a backdrop for a quiet night in with a bottle of shiraz.
 
Taking his synthesiser...

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