ALBUM REVIEW: Paul McCartney | New

square-600-7Rating7After more than half a century Paul McCartney is still pushing his songwriter’s pen, seemingly with a desire to prove his worth in each successive generation. The last few decades haven’t been his strongest yet New, surprisingly, is something of a return to the essence of the ex-Beatle in terms of strong, melodic, pop songs. Not everything works, particularly on the lyrical front where he too often settles for simplistic wordplay yet there are many quite superb moments. The infectious groove of I Can Bet, the glorious Beatles-esque single New and the tripped-out beats of Appreciate are just some making a strong case for McCartney’s continued musical relevance.

by Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

http://rd.io/x/QUN9AiJpbEw/

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Mazzy Star | Seasons of Your Day

square-600-6Rating8Returning with their first album in seventeen years, it quickly becomes apparent that time doesn’t equate to change in the world of Mazzy Star. That is of course a good thing if you are fan of their earlier work as here they take those key elements of Hope Sandoval’s breathless, sensual voice and David Roback’s spacious, drifting musical canvases and wrap them around a batch of beautiful, shimmering songs.

Seasons of Your Day continues the trend established by 2007’s Among My Swans where the duo peeled back some of their noisier, electric guitar layers and began to use more acoustic guitar, harmonica and lap steel. The result here is a more folk and countrified record. Still fragile and hypnotic but now coming from a more organic place. From the delicate fingerpicking of the title track and the ringing pedal steel of Does Someone Have Your Baby? to the bluesy harmonica of the closer Flying Low this is Mazzy Star getting rootsy and it works wonderfully well. They seem to operate in their own time and space and it’s a real treat to be invited back into their world once again.

by Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

http://rd.io/x/QUN9AiJsHao/

 

ALBUM REVIEW: The Ancients | Night Bus

Rating8square-600-2The third album from Melbourne’s The Ancients is a record that hurtles, ambles and breezes by with equal amounts of intricate musicality and simple skewed-pop broad strokes. There is a wistful 60s folk tinge to songs like House of Cards, the lighter contrast to their more layered and dense psych excursions such as the shoegaze haze of Hamster and the epic Molokai that manages to sound like Boo Radleys, High Llamas and Ariel Pink all at the same time. Ultimately Night Bus is a gorgeous, wide-ranging melancholic pop album that embraces sonic friction, frayed edges and melodic beauty with equal aplomb.

Chris Familton

Night Bus is out now on Chapter Music

this review was first published in The Music

ALBUM REVIEW: Pond | Hobo Rocket

Rating7.5square-600Pond are and forever will be compared to Tame Impala, with whom they share a few members, and yes they both trade in retro-fitted psychedelic rock but dig below the surface and the two bands are clearly circling different planets. On Hobo Rocket they’ve pulled back on the overblown eccentricities  that were generally to their detriment and produced a concise, freewheeling and fun album.

The opening track Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide manages to reference both Flaming Lips and Wings’ Live and Let Die before Xanman gloriously straightens things up with its glam riffing and big beat. Bolan would be proud. The rest of the record continues to conjure up similarly bold sonic colours yet balances them out with tripped-out psych folk interludes that highlight how aware Pond are of the importance of dynamics, extremes and how to musically interweave them.

Hobo Rocket at first sounds wild, flailing and untethered but on repeated listens the layers begin to peel back and the melodies, riffs and hooks come into often brilliant focus. The best thing about the record is how live and alive it sounds. They play with cacophonous abandon and that is captured in all its glory on an album that celebrates the wild creativity and joyful excesses of rock music.

Chris Familton

this review was first published on undertheradar.co.nz

NEWS: Voting now open in the Budweiser People’s Choice Awards

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A couple of weeks ago we posted about the Budweiser People’s Choice Awards, the follow-up award to their search for Australia’s top electronic DJ/Producer (the winners of both awards will be announced at the Australian Independent Music Awards on November 7th). Voting has now opened so you can hit the link below to check out the finalists across a range of genres, cast your vote and go into the draw to win a night out for four people, including flights to Sydney, five star accommodation, and VIP attendance to the Australian Independent Music Awards (AIMAs).

Fingers crossed that the public sense of good taste prevails and we get something great like this rather than generic, nauseating pulp like this winning the award.

VOTE NOW

NEWS: Straight Arrows release new single and tour dates

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Straight Arrows‘ debut LP was well received across the country and internationally so it’s great to see the follow up is due for release in March next year via Rice is Nice in AU and Agitated in the UK/EU. Until then we’ve got a brand new single Make Up Your Mind to keep us happy (stream/download below) plus a run of live dates where no doubt more of the album will be previewed.

Thursday Oct 24 – The Great Northern, Byron Bay
Friday Oct 25 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday Oct 26 – The Zoo, Brisbane – SOLD OUT
Sunday Oct 27 – The Zoo, Brisbane
Thursday Oct 31 – Mojo’s, Fremantle
Friday Nov 1 – Amplifier, Perth
Saturday Nov 2 – Uni Bar, Adelaide
Monday Nov 4 – The Corner, Melbourne

 

NEWS: The Australian Budweiser People’s Choice 2013 for rising electronic producers

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We are always keen to see musicians given the opportunity to receive grants, scholarships and awards so it it great to see that following the recent Budweiser Producer/DJ of the Year Award the brewing giant is again throwing itself behind a another competition to find the best of Australia’s rising producers. This time round the award is free to enter and the winners will be judged by a public vote. Electronic music in Australia seems to be gaining a lot of traction in recent years from the underground sounds of Jonti, Rites Wild and Dro Carey right through to the populist appeal of Flume so there are bound to be a ton of producers throwing submissions together for this award, especially with the range of genres including dub, house, techno, pop and hip-hop.

INFO

After submitting their best tracks for free via HERE a shortlist will be selected, from which the public will vote for their faves. The winner will receive a $5,000 DJ Warehouse voucher and exclusive studio time that will lead to a limited edition vinyl pressing of their own record.

Voters will also have a chance to win a night out for four people, including flights to Sydney, five star accommodation, and VIP attendance to the Australian Independent Music Awards (AIMAs).

Submissions are open right now and close at midnight on Sunday, October 27th ahead of voting opening from midday on Monday, October 28th and ending at midnight on Saturday, November 2nd.

The four most popular artists as voted by the public will be flown to the AIMAs on November 7th, where the Budweiser People’s Choice 2013 will be announced.

ENTER NOW