Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prince - The Official Thank You Australia Afterparty

So, the big question for everyone who missed out on the Prince afterparty is: what happened? What did the lucky 700+ in attendance get that couldn’t have been attained in your garden variety arena spectacular?
Did those who went in search of the big purple whale last night land a big catch?

Well, let’s put it this way. We got “Gett Off”, “Alphabet St.”, Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough” and, of course, “Kiss” – performed live you ask?

Oh dear, you better take a seat, it’s going to be a long night…

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Shady Lane - Built Guilt

Another album review for Tone Deaf, reproduced here in its entirety

Shady Lane - Built Guilt (Rice Is Nice, 2012)
Shady Lane is the musical brainchild of Jordy Lane… at least it was. 
Built Guilt, finds the Sydney-sider expanding his solo moniker into a fully-fledged band, with the addition of Pete Avard (drums), Sarah Jullienne (synth) and most notably, Conrad Richters on bass; on loan from label-mates Richard In Your Mind.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"like going to get a haircut but the hairdresser’s really rough.” Interview: The Chemist

This interview was originally published online over at Tone Deaf, and reproduced here in its entirety
With two eclectic EPs already under their belt, The Chemist are getting ready to take the plunge and release their debut album. With attention already building with the release of The Wolves Howls Shatter The Old Glass Moon and last year’s Lullabies, the quartet are also gaining buzz from their hometown of Perth with their strong live show.

Having supported the likes of Boy & Bear and fellow Perth natives Birds of Tokyo and Sugar Army, they’re set to continue to defy both expectations and genres as they embark on their second national headline tour, their first chance to showcase their new material.

The group’s press release features an eccentric description from frontman Ben Witt on the new recordings, “we blended electricity with the insides of a badly beaten blues & folk rock piñata to make a milkshake that is not dissimilar to cement or hair wax. You may not like it, but your dog will fucking love it.”

Friday, May 25, 2012

PVT - Live @ Phoenix Public House, May 24

For their first Melbourne show since last year’s Laneway Festival, electro-experimental trio PVT showcased material from their forthcoming album in an intimate setting; which also afforded the Sydney-siders a warm-up before taking to the grander environs of their hometown Opera House in a series of appearances at the VIVID Festival.

Offering a rare opportunity to hear the bulk of their new record, it also marked one of the last gigs to be held at Phoenix Public House before the Brunswick venue is tragically forced to close its doors.

With a rough but intriguing set from support act Forces done, and with a set of new toys gleaming under stagelights, brothers Richard and Laurence Pike and electronics-wrangler Dave Miller took to the stage to roaring applause.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Things that aren’t complicated" Interview: Bahamas

This interview was originally conducted for, and published by Tone Deaf. It is reproduced here in its entirety.

Chances are you’ve heard Afie Jurvanen and you don’t even know it.

Though best known under his tropical non de plume Bahamas, Jurvanen is actually a musical stalwart of his native Toronto, having played with an impressive list of Canadian musicians that includes fellow troubadours Jason Collett and Kathleen Edwards. He was also a key part of Feist’s touring ensemble for the better part of three years.

“I know when you list off all the names like that it seems like I’m a hotshot, session guitar player but, the reality is, Toronto does have a relatively small and tight music community,” explains Jurvanen humbly.

Speaking down the line from a non-descript hotel during a day-long promo stint, he speaks with eloquence and humility, “I’m in a nice room, people are bringing me glasses of water, I’m sitting on a leather couch… I feel like Elton John!”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap

This album review was originally published over at Tone Deaf, reproduced here in its entirety.

The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap (Liberation, 2012)

The Temper Trap's self-titled sophomore begins with a slow start and takes even longer to gain traction. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Following on from their entry in 'Introducing...', here's the Tone Deaf published album review of the artsy debut for UK purveyors of self-described ‘folk-step.’ 

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave (PIAS/Infectious, 2012)
If all you did was read about Leeds outfit Alt-J, you’d be forgiven for thinking they had long disappeared at the wrong end of pretentiousness. 

After all, their band-name is technically an unpronounceable symbol (∆), with a history involving hallucinogens, Fine Arts degrees and members named Gwilym. 

Work past the high-brow conceits (and their extraordinary origami packaging) however, and you’ll discover an act that isn’t too smart for their own good.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mutemath - Live @ The Corner, May 15

You can read an edit of the following review over at Tone Deaf, but for the purists (and in the spirit of Mutemath's extended live show) the following is a slightly longer version. Enjoy.

As the lights dimmed on a sold-out crowd, packed to the rafters for Mutemath’s virgin performance to not only Melbourne, but Australia; necks craned between the shoulder-to-shoulder masses to get a peep of the band emerging on stage.

Instead, they marched in from the back corner of the venue, where The Cairos had just finished their rocking support slot, under a parade of fairy lights and clattering percussion.

A special entrance that signposted the magic to come.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prince - Live @ Rod Laver Arena, May 14

This review was originally written for the blog, but it's also been syndicated over at Tone Deaf. Check it out.

“Here we are folks/the dream we all dream of”

He may not have performed ‘U Got The Look’, but Prince’s 1987 sing-off with Sheena Easton best captures the euphoric mood for the 12,000 strong in attendance at the first of the Purple One’s two Melbourne dates. Whatever ‘the look’ is, Prince has still got it. In spades.

Through his own iconic myth-making, and as arguably the last great pop star of the ‘old skool,’ his stadium shows have taken on the status of grand-standing event. Not least in a city that’s been starved of his presence for some time.

Or as Prince kept goading coquettishly throughout his set, “How long has it been Melbourne?”

Eight years actually Mr.  P. Rogers Nelson, but who’s counting?

Whether planted in the cheap seats, or had put a small mortgage to be amongst the club-style tables that girt the stage  - Prince certainly gave good value in a two-and-a-half hour set that cherry-picked some twenty plus selections from his three-decade long catalogue.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Beach House - Bloom

This album review was originally written for Beat magazine, and published in print and online, where it was featured as 'Album of the Week.' It is reproduced here in its entirety

Beach House - Bloom (Sub Pop, 2012)
There’s a brutally efficient way to summarise the Baltimore duo’s fourth LP, and while labelling it as Teen Dream 2 is perhaps not an unsurprising summary, it unfairly underlines a ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality that betrays Beach House’s characteristically organic craftsmanship.

Naturally Bloom’s predecessor was the pair’s breakthrough album, critics and fans alike flocking to the most accessible evocation of their gently nostalgic dream pop yet, besotted by its beauty and brilliance. Fashioning a sequel that matches its slow-burn appeal, Bloom is more of a casual extension of Teen Dream’s successes than a daring artistic leap. But again, that takes nothing away from its haunting effect and unfussy vividness.

Introducing... Alt-J

Until 24 hours ago I wasn't even aware of Alt-J's existence, now, I'm convinced that the Leeds outfit's possess in their debut release, One Awesome Wave, one of this year's more interesting listens.

Packaged in an elaborate, origami-styled sleeve, their album grabbed my attention as soon as it arrived on my  desk. Emblazoned with photography contributed by a space program, and sleek minimalist liner notes, it telegraphed something interesting about the band even as it revealed little detail about them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review: Last Dinosaurs - In A Million Years

Last Dinosaurs - In A Million Years (Dew Process, 2012)
Much like Little Red and Hungry Kids of Hungary before them, Last Dinosaurs' debut confidently re-packages the hook-laden guitar pop of Phoenix and The Strokes for an Australian audience, relying heavily on slick production punch to compliment the group’s youthful enthusiasm.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Private Life - Live @ The Workers Club (Single Launch), May 11

How often can you say you get a CD with the price of entry? In an individual fabric pocket no less, handmade by the headline act's front woman

Exactly. But there was more to
Private Life's single launch than just a heartfelt trinket. Beginning with some solid support acts.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"We’re just acing what we do live" Interview: Mutemath

This interview was originally conducted for, and published by, Tone Deaf
The regional music festival Groovin’ The Moo has been growing steadily for over half-a-decade now, it’s line-up now swelling to regularly ensnare international acts. This year is no exception, bringing Mutemath to Australia for the first time. “This is it” chuffs Paul Meany, “this is our big excuse to come out,” the band’s keys man and de-facto leader, Meany is the face and soul-studded voice of the New Orleans fusion quartet. A band whose reputation is built on their exhilarating live show.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The A/V Room: May

It's been a while since the last edition of the A/V Room, and to be honest it's less to do with laziness and more to do with a lack of clips good enough to justify being collected together worthy in one post. Then, like karmic backlash, a whole spate of them arrive in one month! When it rains...

Lowlakes - Buffalo (Dir: Lacey Whelan)

Kicking us off is the latest from Melbourne-via-Alice Springs quartet Lowlakes. The recent AMR Introductees (yeah, that's a thing now) recently delivered not only a beautifully realised self-titled EP, but an excellent live show to launch it as well. Now, there's a clip to accompany EP highlight, 'Buffalo.' An animated fable that suits the song's mystique and haunting tone.
The moral of the tale? Don't throw apples.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Reviews: Mystery Jets - Radlands, Patrick Watson - Adventures In Your Own Backyard

The following album reviews originally appeared in print for triple j magazine's April Issue (no. 60), 
 Mystery Jets - Radlands (Rough Trade)
Radlands was recorded in Austin, TX and Mystery Jets want you to know it. From a song called 'Lonestar' (obviously) to the lilting blue-eyed country of 'Roses'; the sonic influence of Americana has rubbed off on their considerable knack for penning smart pop.
Broadening their approach and ambition, there’s choirs on 'Sister Everett', glam somp for 'Saviour' and the buzzing Britannia allusions of 'Greatest Hits'.
It may be their most inconsistent set to date, but it’s all the more interesting for it.
Mystery Jets - "Sister Everett" by forcefieldpr
Patrick Watson - Adventures In Your Own Backyard (Domino)
Little has progressed in the musical world of the Canadian singer/songwriter, but that’s no bad thing. Despite recording exclusively in his Montreal apartment, his third LP possesses his typically sweeping musical elegance.
His uniquely haunting falsetto populating intimate chamber hymnals (The Quiet Crowd) and lush arrangements alike (Lighthouse). There’s a cinematic quality too, from the Sufjan Stevens-meets-Ennio Morricone of the title track to the closing instrumental, 'Swimming Pools', sounding like a Donnie Darko migrant. In a word: beautifully evocative.
Patrick Watson - Into Giants by DominoRecordCo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Introducing... Eliza Hull

Ms. Hull is ready for her proverbial close-up.

Though she's been toiling away at her craft for nearly three years now, the arrival of Eliza Hull's forthcoming EP
Dawn heralds her formal arrival on the music scene. First coming to my attention as a founding member of local music blog Large Noises, a music website that films original clips of local and international acts, Eliza Hull herself was later showcased on the site.