LIST: DS Top Albums of 2012

2012 TOP ALBUMS

2012 felt like somewhat of a mixed bag of musical lollies with our favourites encompassing americana, power pop, 80s synth, indie and many shades of psychedelia. The only thing that tied them all together was the strong streak of melody that each was built on. Even in the case of someone like Neil Young & Crazy Horse it was Young’s incredible weaving of musical notes on Old Black that made that record such a delight. Hopefully there will be a few surprises scattered across our list which will send you down another musical rabbit hole to find out if we are onto something… Hopefully we are.

30-21

20-11

10-1

square-600-11Charlie Horse – I Hope I’m Not A Monster

square-600-16Deep Sea Arcade – Outlands

LOWER PLENTYLower Plenty – Hard Rubbish

square-600-15Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On Sky

square-600-13Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times & The Tides

UnknownNeil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill

square-600-17Lawrence Arabia – The Sparrow

square-600Lambchop – Mr. M

square-600-14Suzy Connolly – Night Larks

square-600-12Father John Misty – Dear Fun

ALBUM REVIEW: Grand Salvo | Slay Me in My Sleep

by Chris Familton

On 2009’s Soil Creatures, Melbourne singer-songwriter Paddy Mann (aka Grand Salvo) impressively blended poetry, folk and classical music into a delicate work about life’s intricacies. Three years and a short-lived relocation to Berlin later, and he’s returned with his finest work to date.

Slay Me in My Sleep is an ambitious concept album about an old lady and a young boy who breaks into her house and falls in love with a photo of her as a child. Themes of love, memory and the passage of time abound and Mann has cleverly woven the storyline into the long descriptive song titles that lead the listener into the album’s narrative (‘Two cups sit on the table, the kettle is on and the bread is toasting. As the sky lightens she falls for a third time’ is one of many wordy examples). Musically, Slay Me in My Sleep is rich and ornate. These are songs in the traditional sense yet they feel linear in form by often eschewing repeated choruses. A multitude of instruments – recorders, piano, horns and celeste – only add to the album’s organic feel.

Delicately crafted, and with a depth of emotion and beauty, Slay Me in My Sleep is surely one of the most unique albums to come out of Australia this year.

Slay Me in My Sleep is out now on Preservation

this review was first published on Drum Media

LIVE REVIEW: Tiny Ruins @ Notes, Sydney 22/07/11

written by Chris Familton

Sam Shinazzi opened the evening in three piece mode with Barry Adamson on guitar and Peabody’s Bruno Brayovic on bass. Playing mainly tracks from his recently released album When the Lights Come Up Shinazzi did justice to the recorded versions, even exceeding them in some cases like the wistful Movie of Your Life and the devotional Everything To Me. Brayovic provided some wonderful backing harmonies while Adamson’s guitar work provided colour and mood to Shinazzi’s laid back songs.

Grand Salvo is a curious visual proposition with his nondescript clothing and rural hair and beard. Is he shy? Is he eccentric? Does he occupy a world populated by delicate phrases and tender music? That last question is answered with a resounding yes when he quietly appears on stage and begins to play some of the most enchanting music you will hear around these parts. Otherwise known as Paddy Mann he plays folk music that incorporates classical elements and a mystical quality. A man alone with an acoustic guitar needs to be a special talent to hold a room silent and spellbound and Mann did just that. The melodically rich Needles was a particular highlight with its cycling lines heavy with imagery, as was the thematically sad Flowers from Grand Salvo’s last album Soil Creatures.

Tiny Ruins aka New Zealander Hollie Fullbrook had her work cut out following Grand Salvo yet she succeeded in both complementing his style and delivering her own unique take on folk and a touch of the blues. Quiet, coy and unassuming when she spoke between songs she seemed to transform into someone else when she opened her mouth and sang her fantastical stories populated with quirky characters and some devastatingly turns of phrase. By giving an insight into the meanings and inspiration of some of her songs she created a magical world for the audience – an intimate insight into her creative mind. Priest With Balloons was gorgeous, Cat In The Hallways played on a simple premise with great skill and Adelphi Apartments made you feel like you were Fullbrook herself wandering the streets of Wellington observing the local characters. She works in her own unique time zone, drawing the audience into her slow, dreamy and captivating world. This was an exceptional performance from a new singer/songwriter who appears mature and fully formed only one album into her career.

this review was first published in The Drum Media.