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Music Reviews

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:47pm

 

If you're going to bill a show as “An Evening with…” this is how you do it. Watching longtime mates Josh Pyke and Bob Evans rattle off hits and stories to an adoring crowd was a great highlight in a year that was desperately in need of some.
 
There was no backing band, just a couple of guys and their guitars. Pyke and Evans walked onto the stage and launched straight into...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:46pm

 

When a local Australian artist to be supported by two internationals, it shows the absolute magnitude of the performer, raising expectations to dizzying heights. Not to say that Flume is a strictly local artist. He’s been kicking goals since the release of Skin playing a shows across Europe and the US, with Aria wins and Grammy nominations to boot.
 
Melbourne’s leg of the...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:40pm

 

Kicking off the night was new outfit Hearing who offered up twee and droning garage pop. Beneath the low ceilings aglow with fairy lights, the crowd swayed in unison to the sweetest kind of sad jams. 
 
Next up was Truly Holy, who recently released their newest single, One Thousand Years. The four-piece provided expansive, shimmering soundscapes, culminating in crashing...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:19pm

7

 

‘Tocka’ is a Russian word for which there is no direct equivalent in English, designed to describe the strange feeling you get when you start missing something you never actually had – that odd, confused absence that nothing seems able to satisfy.
 
Anatomy Class’ Tell Me What You See is the melodic translation of that phrase, a record defined by an inescapable...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:17pm

8.5

 

Underground metallers Devilskin capture everything great about the genre in their second studio release – sultry vocals, bittersweet lyrics of the dark variety, and everything else you’d expect from a band of this ilk.
 
Only there’s something different about them – they’re shockingly addictive. The structure of their songs is like a drug, giving you the best of...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:14pm

8.5

 

In the wake of Leonard Cohen’s death it might be looked upon as a commercial move to re-release this live collection at this time – suspiciously and simultaneously – with Leonard Cohen’s final release. Fragments of a Rainy Season contains the definitive cover of Hallelujah (there’s a new video to go with it) and is a song that should now be confiscated from every busker...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:13pm

6.5

 

The Baudelaires take their name from French poet and essayist Charles Baudelaire.  To generations of university students, Baudelaire cloaked alcoholic indulgence in poetic elegance, “It is the hour to be drunken. To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk.”
 
Baudelaire also said that “To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:12pm

8

 

Nostalgia shits me. Rose-coloured musings on a confected world that never was, self-indulgent reflections to affirm contemporary cultural prejudice. Margaret Thatcher ignored rampant poverty in her call for a return to Victorian values, Happy Days diverted American attention from the tragedy of Vietnam and corruption of Watergate, and The Strokes disguised the flaccid...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:10pm

6.5

 

Lurking somewhere in the shadowy, liminal space between Portishead and Chvrches are New York duo Phantogram, dipping deep in their own darkness while continuing to pump out pop you can really feel.
 
As soon as the glitchy synth bass of Funeral Pyre kicks in, vocalist Sarah Barthel stretches to the height of her range as she eulogises herself. Guitarist Josh...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:07pm

*sung to the tune of Paul McCartney’s Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time* I’m simply having a wonderful Christmas time.

 

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Spod : Boys Night

This boys’ night anthem keeps it so simple that it would be outright silly if it didn’t nail the elements, and it nails the elements. It’s funny without being too jokey, dissecting bloke-ness...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 1:02pm

7

 

An EP exploring the notions of numbness and disconnection, the name of Mcrobin’s Shallow Diver seems fitting. As it begins, you are softly introduced to the sounds of fluttering finger picking and a smooth melody, almost resembling the sensation of being submerged underwater. Everything sounds calmed and echoed, yet you can see rays of light shining through the glistening...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 1:46pm

 

The evening kicked off with Child, whose heavy psych blues got plenty of fervent heads a-nodding, if not completely banging. Their set was only three songs long, but each was filled with so many progressions and soulful vocals that the cheers that followed were well deserved and clearly sincere. Singer/guitarist Mathias climbed into a passionate jammin’ groove which he refused to...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 1:37pm

 

The last date of Chairlift's Australian tour fell on a Wednesday, and if one was serious about beating the mid-week blues, there was no better place to be. An evening filled with the Brooklyn synth pop stars’ signature hypnotic vibes, with support from Confidence Man and The Harpoons, served as the perfect panacea.  
 
Confidence Man brought the house down with raw retro...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 1:05pm

I was asked to review a bunch of new Christmas songs straight after Meredith and let me tell you the current mood is not great.

 

PENTATONIX : God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

This sounds like what would happen if Hillsong made their own Westworld but each robot’s narrative involved ‘singing like an absolute fuckwit’.

 

SHE & HIM : Let It Snow

...
Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 12:47pm

8

 

Probably one of the highlights of Scary Movie 2 was a brief, though magnificent scene advertising the fictional masterpiece, A Hip Hop Christmas. The anti-hero to the Carey and Buble compilations of the world, the album promised hits like Jingle Balls and All I Want For Christmas Is The Charges Dropped. For those champing at the bit for a real life copy, we’ve uncovered the...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 12:45pm

7.5

 

Star Slinger is the nom de plume of a white geezer from Nottingham who manages to bring out the best elements of US pop to the usually unwelcoming UK gloom. A little bit of colour, flare and fluid groove augers well for this project. Not barnstorming enough to have you collecting your jaw from the pavement, it has plenty of variety and encouragement to suggest even better...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 12:43pm

8

 

She & Him’s second Christmas offering is filled with Christmas classics just waiting to be played over a Christmas lunch, or in the sleepy depths of the food-coma laden afternoon.
 
Sweet and moreish like a Christmas dessert, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have created a seasonal record that hits the right notes, and manages to distinguish itself from being just...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 12:42pm

8.5

 

Emerson Snowe is the moniker of Jarrod Mahon, best known for being one of the founding members of Brisbane hit-makers The Creases.
 
This Is Baby Blue is one of two EP’s released by Mahon in the same week and much like its companion, strings a narrative of grappling with emotions in an earnest and heartfelt way.
 
Maple Leaves is a tender number that...

Posted 14 Dec 2016 @ 12:41pm

7

 

“I used to do a lot of blow,” coos Martha Wainwright in Around the Bend, the lush opening number of her fifth solo album, amidst quaint acoustic arpeggios and a gentle shuffle of jazz brushes. It pierces through in a way that reminds you of why you fell for Wainwright originally, when she was a firebrand twenty-something that not only turned  “bloody motherfucking arsehole”...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 3:21pm

Coldplay's current tour saw them fill stadiums three nights on the trot with a show boasting all of the bells and whistles: think fireworks, confetti cannons (which belched different types of confetti, including glitter and tissue-paper leaves, which looked a treat drifting over the stadium), wristbands for every member of the audience, which lit up the stadium like Christmas, giant balloons...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 3:13pm

 

Early birds were treated to the delights of the Steve Miller Band. Not the American MOR warhorse, but the handsome Antipodean one. Book ended by two female members, Steve Miller brought to life visions of Boss Hog, The White Stripes and any garage trio you could think of. Hunched over his axe like a demented Gene Vincent, Miller growled his way to oblivion. This band is going places....

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 3:08pm

Something like a mixture of Rainbow Serpent, Glastonbury and Burning Man, there was so much happening at The Pleasure Garden.
 
There were roving theatrical performers, impressive art installations, carnival rides and food galore. There were day beds to chill out on or even a roller skating rink if you were in the mood to risk your ankles. The eye for detail was jaw dropping. Such...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 1:02pm

 

Sunshine, a Bar-BQ, some great live music with a twist of humour, conviviality, beers and fundraising for a good cause. What more could you want to celebrate the beginning of summer and bring together Melbournians with a passion for community radio and live music? RRR BBQ day held at CERES Environment Park on the edge of the Merri Creek in East Brunswick has become an institution on...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 11:03am

To many, the feeling of returning to the supernatural amphitheatre is something akin to coming home. The general feeling of joy that fills the place, exhibited by each and every attendee, has not changed throughout the years. Guards are dropped and the stress of everyday life is put aside for the weekend.

 

 ...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:53pm

7

 

Metallica have been around for so long that unfortunately they’re always going to fall into the trap of having their new material being compared to their back catalogue. That means that any decent new album (like this one) is always going to be compared to a masterpiece like the Black Album.
 
Hardwired is exactly what you’d expect, a Metallica album that sounds...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:52pm

8

 

With Nullarbor local experimental/concept/dance duo friendships have released one of the boldest musical statements since Preset’s Blow-Up EP.
 
While due to the deeply fragmented and cashless local industry, friendships' Nic Brown and Misha Grace will never rise to the same ARIA-laden stratosphere as Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton, yet both acts abilities to...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:51pm

8.5

 

Sydney four-piece DEN wield a significant sonic clout on their debut self-titled EP; a pummelling barrage of modulated guitars and sinister synth replete with melody that brings nuance to the bruising assault.
 
Life In Chains opens with a militant drum beat and from sparse beginnings builds to grandiosity with haunting keys and swirling synth surrounding the...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:50pm

5

 

Bleach Girl’s presser declares that the group is a bratty two-piece, imbued with the themes of “garage, lo-fi, indie, punk, pop and surf rock”. Judging by the sheer volume of bands who indulge in these worn motifs the band’s debut EP Hi! will undoubtedly appeal to masses of punksters who are jonesing for a good time in the sun.
 
What they lack in uniqueness and...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:49pm

7.5

 

If you’re expecting the creators of an album called Reclaim Australia to hold anything back, you’re in for a wild ride.
 
Long-time friends and musicians Briggs (Album of the Year recipient at the National Indigenous Music Awards 2015) and Trials (ARIA-winning producer for Drapht, Seth Sentry, Illy and Hilltop Hoods) have teamed up as A.B. Original to put...

Posted 7 Dec 2016 @ 12:48pm

7

 

It’s fitting that Redspencer’s debut album Perks arrives right on the cusp of summer, evoking the warmth and haziness of the season in effortless fashion. Beyond their shimmering guitar pop is an exploration of existential themes that come together to create an album of great depth.
 
On opening track G-Talk, Dave McMillan’s laconic vocals sing of “smoking durries...

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