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Album Reviews

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:56pm

7.5

 

The Festival Records vault has been scraped bare for this cut-price primer of coolness for all those with more than a passing interest in punk and allied rock. The comprehensive nature of the selection guarantees that those professing a vast and intimate understanding of this music will now increase disproportionately.
 
The usual suspects are present - New...

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:54pm

7.5

 

Lewis Cancut’s newest release Indoor Rainforest is pristine, tropical house music from a rave inside a video game.
 
The influence of Japanese and anime culture is strong throughout the record (the cover art is perfect) and the bouncing synths, treated Japanese woodwind sounds and kicking percussion only compound the eccentric high-energy.
 
 Cancut...

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:54pm

7.5

 

It’s around Belconnen in the suburbs of Canberra when the news started to come through: Trump was winning the election. The air was thick with hyperbolic predictions and apocalyptic economic scenarios. On the Internet, embarrassed political commentators tried to slash through the impossible hubris of imperial promise, while grinning ideologues declared the triumph of normal...

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:51pm

9

 

“I thought by the age of 25/I’d have this figured out alright,” James Moloney sings, surmising the fears of any twenty-something. “Maybe I’m bound to be another rat living in the city/Whose only real dream is to find something to eat.”
 
James Moloney and the Mad Dog Harrisons’ latest offering, Raleigh St manages to pin down the sound of the Northern Suburbs in...

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:49pm

5

 

Pop Svengali, Bruno Mars makes the shift towards a complete R&B sound in his third, very short, studio album 24K Magic. Mars claimed he had initially wanted to make a movie and 24K Magic was to be the vehicle through which the mood and time were set for the narrative. This film never came into fruition and what we are left with is a 33-minute album consisting of nine...

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:48pm

8

 

Drawing influence from pop, soul, jazz and lo-fi genres, Owen Rabbit masterfully draws listeners in with hauntingly heartfelt lyrics, pairing them with truly cinematic production work. Experimental plays with sound effects come aplenty in this release, alongside Owen Rabbit’s signature use of miscellaneous items to make his music.
 
Oh My God, drops an incredibly...

Posted 30 Nov 2016 @ 12:47pm

9

 

“Spread your arms if you really need a hug,” said Q-Tip in 1990, and on their first album in 18 years, A Tribe Called Quest look out at their country and decide that this sentiment is needed more than ever. Released days after the U.S. election, the group come charging out of the gate with Space Program, a song about the continuing marginalisation of African Americans, “a...

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:36pm

7

 

In a Tokyo rock’n’roll bar recently, a middle-aged tattooed German punk rocker told me about a mod revival happening in Indonesia.  The image of Indonesian youths wearing heavy green parkas decorated with Union Jacks, riding Vespas on the smog and humidity-laden streets of Denpasar was too fascinating to ignore. Surely this is globalisation in its ideal subcultural form?...

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:36pm

8.5

 

Opener Bondi’s Dead has Al Montfort contribute an effortlessly ebullient number. “I was the best at undermining civil unrest,” is delivered in a way that is both nonchalant and self-assured. Peculiar in its sentiment, the line really sticks. The music is so approachable that the lyrics shine, and as oblique as they are, they tend to linger long after they’re uttered....

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:34pm

7.5

 

Napier describe themselves as “raunchy rock’n’ roll” and they certainly do rock the roll, channeling some old-school vibes with each guitar driven track. And they’re getting some pretty great reviews from their live shows as well.
 
I don’t know if it’s due to the EP title Sundance Romance; whether due to my first-time listening to it on a stanky hot Melbourne...

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:33pm

7

 

In a world where paint-by-numbers, blaring electropop dominates the charts, it’s easy to lose sight of the pioneering electronic acts of decades past – and just how much more this broad genre has to offer beyond soaring choruses and club-friendly beats.
 
Looking back at the previous decade, French duo Justice, perhaps best known for their 2007 hit D.A.N.C.E.,...

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:31pm

6.5

 

Another month and yet another Bowie "Best Of" retrospective. Hard to temper the cynicism surrounding such blatant cash ins. A previously unreleased mix of Life On Mars may have you reaching for the wallet, but this is a formula that’s too easy to comply with. Lump 40 songs that have already been heard hundreds of times before from the Bowie catalogue and package them in a...

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:26pm

8.5

 

With incendiary U.S. all-girl punk combo Babes In Toyland kicking out the jams live and loud again, it seems only fitting that this wall-shaking compilation of deeply satisfying rough-hewn gems from 1990-1995 should be blasting from your stereo.
 
Kat Bjelland’s wonderfully unhinged and disorientating vocals whip up an authentic emotional maelstrom on searing...

Posted 23 Nov 2016 @ 1:17pm

8.5

 

Illy certainly seems to have a firm grip on the steering wheel to a successful pop career. You may be reminded of the Katy Perrys and the Justin Beibers of the world with the likes of Oh My, or You Say When. Before you completely write off this comparison – have a think about it, if he can emulate even a fraction of their success, he’d have the music biz by the balls....

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:42pm

8

 

The story of Shirley Collins has been one of 2016's most unexpected tales – one of a celebrated folk hero from the ‘50s and ‘60s, long reserved to cult status due to not singing for nearly 40 years. At 82, Collins has finally returned to the world of music – and if Lodestar is anything to go by, said world has embraced her once again with open arms.
 
A collection...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:41pm

7

 

Since the end of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon has gone into the abyss of noise-rock and drone further than her previous band could ever have fathomed. As one-half of Body/Head alongside guitarist Bill Nace, Gordon has spent the last few years going against the conventions of the electric guitar and creating music that's dark, imposing and sprawling; resulting in an impressive...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:39pm

7

 

The second Christmas album from a cappella group Pentatonix is already decking the halls. Chock full of classics, spanning everyone from Kanye to 16th century monks, the group have put together a collection of covers and original tunes to get you in the spirit this festive season.
 
Tracks like O Come All Ye Faithful and White Christmas (featuring The Manhattan...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:37pm

7

 

Five years on from his salient debut, Ex-Tropical, Lost Animal continues to make outsider pop, fusing electronica with elements of popular music from the ‘60s through ‘80s. On his new album You Yang, Jarred Quarrell has invited multi-instrumentalist Shags Chamberlain to the table, broadening the palette of sound.
 
Do the Jerk beats with an R&B heart over cold...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:35pm

8.5

 

Bright Eyes alum Conor Oberst has released a half-dozen solo LPs in the past, but almost all featured contributions from other musicians and collaborators. With Ruminations, we have a very literal solo record on our hands – not only did Oberst record and produce the record on his own, he also wrote it, sang it, played piano, played guitar and played harmonica.
 ...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:34pm

8

 

The eponymous debut album by Soft Hair is the oddest, if slightly disconcerting, of affairs.  It’s a mind-altering, psychoactive shot of absinthe with Noel Fielding as the Green Fairy, ready to guide you through the icky swamp.
 
The world of Sam Dust (LA Priest/Late Of The Pier) and Connan Mockasin is undoubtedly weird and exotic. It’s a synth driven reality that...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 1:17pm

8.5

 

Utopia Defeated is one of a kind. Opener Walrus fizzes and pulsates, vocal layering effects and crisp cascading drums make the song feel like it's viscerally breathing in and out. One constant sonic theme that runs through this album is the feeling of being deep underwater, the production is so expansive, every instrument sounds both inflated and crystallised. This is...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:55pm

8

 

It certainly feels like a while since Two Door Cinema Club’s sophomore album Beacon was released back in 2012. Finally, they’re back with new album Gameshow in tow.
 
Their debut Tourist History brought so much hype, and while Beacon wasa strong follow up, after a debut that great, questions are always going to be asked of you after every release. Are they going...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:53pm

4

 

Kicking off with the stadium-sized Higher, carrying traces of the crunchy origins found on earlier EPs, let’s listeners know that The Naked and Famous’ edgy, unhinged sound would make a return. Water Beneath You moves like a Chvrches single and My Energy’s arrangementis nearly pop punk. While production is slick and near flawless, it feels like ice cream melting together....

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:52pm

5

 

Spoiler alert: The perfectly pleasant lead singer of a perfectly pleasant folk/alt-country group has cut a solo album that is – for lack of a better term – perfectly pleasant. No left-of-centre swerves or sudden detours into jazz or metal or whatever else have you, no-sirree-Bob. Rather, The Audreys' Taasha Coates has teamed up with Shane Nicholson (who also knows his way...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:51pm

6

 

The atmosphere on Until The Hunter, Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions’ third album, is hauntingly familiar. This isn’t a bad thing, there’s often solace and affection to be found in familiarity. Arguably, the album delivers what Sandoval fans crave - more of the same genre-defining dream pop psychedelia that propelled Mazzy Star to success in the early 1990s. Rather than...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:49pm

5

 

Ever wanted to hear the soundtrack to your funeral?  Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen may have made that possible with their new record Death’s Dateless Nights.  
 
With Kelly contributing vocals and acoustic and Owen on pretty much everything else, the album is just the two of them, stripped right back, sharing their versions of songs they’d played and heard at...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:48pm

8

 

Client Liaison’s debut full length is a quirky, sexy, experimental offering. Diplomatic Immunity is teeming with bright bursts of energy, sprinkled with colourful uses of percussion, guitar licks and the infectious vocals of Monte Morgan.
 
You’ve only got to look at the business meeting-esque cover art to know there are political undertones residing in it. The...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:46pm

8.5

 

Archie Roach’s new album Let Love Rule is a complex, textured offering that reaches orchestral heights, often from minimal, pensive beginnings.
 
The album, produced by Craig Pilkington, follows on from 2012’s Into The Bloodstream, but it’s the involvement of Deborah Cheetham and her Dhungula Children’s Choir, as well as the Short Black Opera choir that defines...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:27pm

6

 

Less than nine months after Lonely Cities dropped in February, Sydney four-piece Tigertown have returned with Papernote. It’s an upbeat, four-track offering, holding to classic Tigertown pop vibes.
 
It’s no wonder the title track was picked to be the lead single - Papernote opens with a seriously funky guitar rhythm, instantly commanding attention. The track is...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:26pm

8

 

The Lemon Twigs are 19-year-old Brian D’Addario and 17-year-old brother Michael, prodigious multi-instrumentalists with an insane 1970s musical knowledge.
 
Take the weirdest elements of the Beach Boys and mix it with Wings, Todd Rundgren, baroque, power pop and of course, circus carnival music and you’re close to the ball park.
 
They are also...

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