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Music Reviews

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 @ 1:22pm

She embodies everything music should be. Thank you, Sharon Jones 

 

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

CAMP COPE : Keep Growing

A slinky, dreamy number from power trio Camp Cope, hitting that sweet balancing point between a communal triumph and something direct and intimate. After releasing their ripper self-titled debut earlier in the year, you could forgive Camp Cope for...

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 22 Nov 2016 @ 2:50pm

The atmosphere of Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy, a feast for the Melbourne Music Week, was utterly striking from the very beginning, before even entering the party. The State Library was alight and brilliantly glowing, in addition to featuring a thumping DJ booth set up on the lawn. The vibrant outdoor atmosphere drew curious crowds. Even for those without tickets, the night was to be enjoyed. With...

Posted 19 Nov 2016 @ 11:04pm

This series, From London With Love, gives you a glimpse of the London music scene from our on-the-ground music writer Augustus Welby.

 

Reviewed on Wednesday November 16.
 
Unless you’re fully tuned in, the nuances and unique assets of Sydney’s Alex Cameron won’t completely reveal themselves. It’s not that his songwriting lacks immediacy; his Jumping the Shark LP is...

Posted 19 Nov 2016 @ 9:52am

It's easy amongst the daily grind to lose track of exactly how necessary it is to celebrate artistic passion within a community like Melbourne. Sometimes, you need a reminder like Melbourne Music Week's Live Music Safari - the collaborative effort a city as awesome as this deserves.
 
From the moment you step onto the front steps of the MMW Hub – the State Library – you are struck...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 3:38pm

 

“Do you respect wood?” asks one audience member to his partner, as they scramble to their seats in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall of the Melbourne Recital Centre. The hall is wooden from the walls to the floor to the ceiling and seats –the better to accompany string and vocal performances, and to carry a much-appreciated Curb Your Enthusiasm reference.
 
As soon as the lights...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 2:29pm

 

Custard were an appropriate choice for opening night of the NGV's Friday Night series since like many of the greats, they present intelligent, off-beat and timeless works of art.
 
Returning in 2015 with Come Back, All Is Forgiven they haven't played live much so one could be forgiven for forgetting what a rare treat it is to watch David McCormack onstage.
 
 ...

Posted 16 Nov 2016 @ 2:19pm

 

Back in the ‘80s, lauded director Wes Craven was forced to defend horror films against the accusation that the genre’s violent imagery encouraged real-life aggression in its audience. “Horror films don’t create fear,” he said. “They release it.”
 
The same could be said of The Drones. The snarky, funny-cause-it-ain’t horror buried in the band’s discography isn’t the case...

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

Thank you Leonard. Say g’day to Hank, up there in the Tower Of Song xo.

 

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

NUN : Can’t Chain

A canny tightrope between detached cool and focused propulsion, Can’t Chain initiates with an elevating sense of grandiose before kicking into overdrive. It’s a dizzying, melodic spell, jack-knifing melodic shifts inferring glee without sounding...

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 14 Nov 2016 @ 11:21am

Year after year, the opening night event of Melbourne Music Week encapsulates the current music trends, topical issues and local artists that are making a mark on the Melbourne music scene. Her Sound, Her Story: A Celebration Of Women In Music was no exception. Proudly introducing the exhibition and video series by photographer Michelle Grace Hunder and filmmaker Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore,...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:09pm

 

The Evelyn bandroom was bubbling with punters eagerly awaiting the return of Melbourne’s scuzzy garage punk emperors Mesa Cosa, marking the tail-end of their widely praised Spill ‘Em All tour, and the band’s first headline show in a year and a half.
 
A late cancellation by key support act Amyl and the Sniffers threw cult emcee Purple Duck into the ring – the last minute...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:07pm

 

The Celibate Rifles changed my life.  It was 1986 and suburban high school music tastes were dominated by Australian pub rock: Chisel, The Angels, Oils, augmented with a bit of LA mullet metal and some hair sprayed tinny pop.  Beatbox, a three-hour music video cum social commentary and vox pops show on Saturday morning on ABC television, featured a clip from this Australian band, the...

Posted 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:05pm

 

“Halloween is our fucking Christmas,” declared Corey Taylor triumphantly before launching into Before I Forget, his voice dripping with the volatile energy that makes Slipknot so intoxicating.
 
Frontman Taylor is just months into recovery from undergoing emergency spinal surgery in July, after breaking his back. Only days before the tour, one of the band’s percussionists...

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 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:45pm

Check in next week’s column intro for the exclusive announcement of the next US president! #scoop

 

Single Of The Week

Sampa The Great : Mona Lisa

Few in Australia have been operating on the same level as Sampa The Great since her breakthrough with The Great Mixtape a bit over a year ago – maintaining pristine quality with a constant output of fresh...

Posted 2 Nov 2016 @ 12:53pm

 

Touring in support of his debut album 99.9%, Montreal producer Louis Kevin Celestin AKA Kaytranada, brought his slinky smooth beats to Melbourne for the second of two sold out shows.
 
“It’s a party alright? So fucking party like it,” teased Lou Phelps from behind the DJ stand to a lukewarm crowd early on. The younger brother of the night’s headliner, Phelps began with a...

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