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Album Reviews

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:25pm

5.5

 

“This Christmas, my gift to you…is me,” says R. Kelly on his new album 12 Nights Of Christmas, and what a gift it is. If, like many others, you’ve been wishing R. Kelly would apply his smooth beats to songs about Christmas, all your prayers have been answered.
 
This album is exactly what you expect. It’s like Michael Bublé found a hip hop drum machine and...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:21pm

6

 

To celebrate being around for 20 years Placebo has dropped a two–disc compilation album of all kinds of great Placebo goodness. Radio edits mixed in with live cuts with a dash of redux versions and a new song in there too for good measure.
 
The only new thing here is the single Jesus’ Son, which fits in well with their existing stuff. While it isn’t the greatest...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:20pm

7.5

 

Dripping with lo-fi soul samples, while still maintaining his signature sound, Knxwledge is the absolute star of this project, churning out an array of instrumentals that are as smooth as they are sexy. While Anderson.Paak's intentions are well received and his raspy, eloquent vocals add a nice touch, his vocal melodies are devoid of experimentation and variety.
 ...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:17pm

8

 

On Never Twice, Nick Waterhouse throws back to the bluesy elements of his hometown’s roots, all the while withholding from sounding inauthentic or aged.
 
It’s Time is built upon jazzy key grooves and jingly percussive progression, on top sits a belting vocal performance. After taking in the hearty horn section of I Had Some Money (But I Spent It) and the...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:16pm

8

 

In the 17 years since American Football broke up, their first and only album has come to define an intricate, melodic strain of emo now widely imitated but rarely equalled. The album was buoyed by a handful of genre-defining songs but its enduring success is attributable to how well it captured a feeling. Alone among breakup albums, American Football traded melodrama to focus...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:26pm

8

 

Xylouris White’s second album Black Peak is the pairing of two virtuosic musicians and the union of two divergent musical styles. Greek folk music collides with Australian post-rock, resulting in an exploratory hybridised torrent of frenetic energy and palpable intensity. It’s a record simultaneously anchored in tradition and yet free; elemental and celebratory, a travelogue...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:25pm

8.5

 

Following from her infectious EP Switch Tape, TKAY somehow ups the ante even further. Always Been hits the ground running with a grimey, bass-heavy backing; quickly establishing the positive influence from producers Salva (young Thug, A$AP Ferg) and Dre Skull (Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg).
 
The lyrical flow within Afterglow is amazing, and first single Carry On...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:24pm

8.5

 

What a way to say goodbye. As Dillinger Escape Plan ride off into the sunset after this, their final album, they’ve left us all wondering, ‘Why?’ Why make an album this good and then disband? If they are working by the philosophy of ‘Always leave them wanting more,’ then they’re going the right way about it.
 
Dissociation hits all of the high notes in every...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:23pm

6.5

 

Since 2011, everyone’s been waiting for a follow-up to Joyce Manor’s energetic self-titled debut. The songs were fast and short, with the emotive punk energy of Jawbreaker and the lo-fi vibe and soul of Royal Headache. While their debut was firmly planted in the melodic punk/emo style, the raw punk energy set it apart from the genre’s explosive revival.
 
Cody,...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:22pm

6

 

Canadian electro-punks Duchess Says feature the crazed vocals of Annie Claude-Deschenes, whose sound is filled with deep displeasure throughout the entire crazy ride. The feral robustness of the band as they bash away in support of her, and then in spite of her, is quite riveting.
 
The propulsive rhythms and sonic theories Duchess Says try to explore are largely...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:21pm

4

 

The Best of David Gray begins – as every conversation about Gray should – with Babylon. It's not at all difficult to see why this song has been inextricably linked with the man – it's one of the most perfect examples of the good that came from the adult-contemporary pop crossover at the turn of the century; all electro acoustic beat-blending and lushly arranged folk harmonies...

Posted 26 Oct 2016 @ 1:19pm

9

 

While it was just over a year ago that Dorsal Fins released their electrifying debut Mind Renovation, the prolific nine-piece aren’t taking any time to slow downbetween albums.It’s pretty damn amazing to sound like a different band on each release, let alone each track, but Dorsal Fins do this with relative ease.
 
Romeo is a mammoth opener that has Ella Thompson...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:26pm

9

 

No space for mincing words on Let Them Eat Chaos, this is by far the most potent, powerful LP release for 2016. For those unfamiliar with her work, Kate Tempest is a multi-awarded and much-lauded poet, playwright and spoken word artist hailing from South-East London.
 
Her appearance on Q&A earlier this year was incredibly affecting viewing, and that same...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:23pm

8.5

 

Thigh Master’s debut LP couldn’t come soon enough. The Brisbane band have become an established national touring act over the past few years, solidifying their position as a major part of this country’s indie rock circuit.
 
Now that they’ve dropped their first album after a few 7” records, we finally have a solid chunk of Thigh Master to sink our teeth into....

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:22pm

8

 

West Australia's The Panics are forging a formidable legacy much like The Triffids. Idyllic, yet dwelling in the shadows, armed with their crisp and even sound. It only seems like yesterday, but it was nearly a decade since their brilliant Cruel Guards release. Hole In Your Pocket is similarly as good because they carry themselves with just enough grace and elegance to make...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:21pm

9

 

The Nation Blue’s sheer lack of optimism is as compelling as it is disturbing. Not a band to do things half-arsed, their first new material in nearly seven years sees them return with two albums at the same time: Black & Blue. It’s a lot to take in, hitting you like a sucker punch to the brain. But here lies the beauty of this band.
 
Both albums explore...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:19pm

6.5

 

After their huge 2013 release Howlin’ the fellas of Jagwar Ma are back to try and build on all that love and momentum with Every Now & Then.
 
This album is decent, but it never quite crosses that line from decent to great. For every impressive track (and there’s a few), there’s one that seems to get stuck in the mud. Too many songs that start slow and build...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:18pm

9

 

Big Smoke’s debut album could only ever be called Time Is Golden. A true testament to vocalist Adrian Slattery’s love of music and creating with his bandmates, the album was recorded throughout his battle with cancer that he sadly lost in May.
 
Opening track Something Good is a buoyant number with an addictive country flavour and organ style keys, while Best of...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:17pm

8.5

 

Josh Rennie-Hynes' Furthermore arrives as a solid follow-up to his previous effort, February. An organic, self-produced record, the album finds Rennie-Hynes exploring new terrain while sticking to what he does best: writing songs that linger long after the first listen.
 
Slow burner Where Do I Go begins the album on an introspective note, conjuring vivid...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:16pm

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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 a negative, they took it as a positive and recorded without deadlines, budget or the need for record company approval. The result of this experiment is a polished album filled with highlights, which was well worth...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:14pm

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Sticky Fingers’ third album is one that very nearly never happened. After a cancelled European tour, one band member in rehab, and another in a psych ward, it seemed as through a break-up was on the horizon. Luckily for the rest of us, the band got back in the studio to record Westway (The Glitter and The Slums), an album which has almost no trace of the troubles that...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:13pm

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Lisa Mitchell’s last effort Bless This Mess had its moments but lacked cohesion. Warriors, on the other hand, has a firm sense of direction and purpose. The album opens with The Boys, a fizzy song about friendship and hardcore crushing. The theme of coming-of-age in a small town continues on the dreamy title track as she croons “We were the kids of the country/ Keeping it...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:12pm

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With Green Day’s 12th full length studio album, they’ve done their best to cement their legacy as one of the great, if not the greatest, pop punk bands of this generation. Even more so, Green Day are trying to get back on track after the letdown that was their triple album release ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré!. With Revolution Radio, they do a solid job of achieving this.
 ...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:10pm

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The pacifying dream pop sound that Melbourne trio Arbes brought to light off the back of their admirable first EP Swimmer is marginally adapted in their second release Psalms. Remembrances of Warpaint or Alpine’s less electronic debut album spring to mind when listening to the seven track EP, but Arbes have captured something more melancholic.
 
Jess Zanoni’s...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:09pm

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In all, 2016 hasn't been a great year in the annals of music history. It's easy to feel a little despondent, and anxious for 2017 to wipe the slate clean. But before you go hitching your wagon to the new year, there's something you just have to hear.
 
Beth Hart has been steadily dropping albums since the ‘90s, and goddamn if Fire on the Floor isn't her best...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:08pm

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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 who tell tales of pathetic gangsters, and the slow, sad dance of divorce.
 
But quite quickly Joy reveals itself to be a distinctly hopeful record. Sure, it’s still full of...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 12:13pm

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Shining Bird’s second album Black Opal is a work of grand reveals and stunning moments that capture a band heavily influenced by their surroundings. Tapping into the Australian landscape through their wonderfully expansive and cinematic sound, the band relish in the potential nature offers and in the process explore sounds that will no doubt surprise many.
 
I...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 12:11pm

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The night bus from Canberra to Melbourne, taken right before you leave your teens, is perhaps the best time to listen to Julia Jacklin’s debut album. The setting is ripe for reflection, nostalgia and longing – themes that Jacklin eloquently draws upon and packages up with poetry. However, if the night bus can’t be arranged, listeners can still find much to fall in love...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 12:08pm

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Requiem, the third album by Swedish outfit Goat is by far the most accessible album to date. There's less of the droney kraut rock but the psychedelia still swirls on a bed of tribal drums as the collective continue to reach to the far corners of the globe for inspiration. There’s a cheerful demeanor to the album that is pervasive throughout, in a nutshell it's an upbeat...

Posted 5 Oct 2016 @ 12:07pm

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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...

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