The Church Factory Theatre, Sydney 6th December 2012 The most remarkable thing about The Church, and there are many remarkable things about this enduring Australia band, is how better they get with age. Memories seep past of watching them just down the road, in what seemed for all intent and purpose their final show with guitarist
Chromatics Heaven, London November 6, 2012 On a night when everyone is locked in an US election day trance, American synth-noir act Chromatics were the alternative for those choosing pop over politics. As a band who've existed in various forms since 2001, their recent mainstream crossover was aided by the success of the film "Drive"
It's a reassuring sight to see an Australian band successfully take on the world in the way Tame Impala have over the last few years. Their lush, psyche-pop sound feels like it was born between the grooves of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, evolving inward and outward, feeding on a wealth of influences and dreams
Ultra, 2012 [rating:6/10] "Pop music is a platform to say something. You don't have to only talk about parties." Interesting quote from ex-noise artist now shiny electropop-idol-in-waiting, Amanda Warner. Pop music has always been a platform to say something, but this shouldn't make you believe that Warner is positing herself as Lady Bono or worse, Lady
Savages Electrowerkz, London October 11, 2012 Does anyone remember the post-punk explosion of 2005 when every second band seemed to be cribbing off each other's influences sheets, and labels with derivative names like 'Angular' and 'Artrocker' appeared, encouraging this rising monochrome wave? It was probably the first serious resurgence of post-punk since the 80's, but
The online buzz surrounding the release of current single “Mosaic” was uniform in the way the agreeable (and occasionally obnoxious) tastemaker blogs began to fall in line with praise. This was slightly akin to a group of music nerds being played the track at the same time, with cries of “Oh this is really great,
Divine Fits may be an unfamiliar name, but the people behind it no doubt lurk in your record collection under their original outfits. Better known as Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, Divine Fits is the band du jour for these gentlemen and A Thing Called
Merge, 2012 [rating:8.5/10] The concept of the ‘supergroup’ is relative and often abused. The formation itself is prone to suspicion, akin to selling out your bandmates in favour of some fresh thrills. Often it's the point in a band's career when the chief songwriter hits a stalemate or a stale state -- ie: the last
Heavy on atmosphere with a melodic depth that harnesses Banshees-like percussion against rippling guitar-work and bears more than a passing resemblance to the rhythmic whirl of Warpaint and the siren song of Esben and the Witch, the band known as Deaf Club (relax: it's just a name) have become an intriguing proposition in the space
Matador, 2012 [rating:7/10] Time and distance, be it geographical or emotional, have always been great assets to a songwriter. The ability to cease all activity, to step off the treadmill and get his/her shit straight, to let real life take precedence. In a career that's had its share of ups and downs, Chan Marshall has
Echo Lake + Evans The Death The Lexington, London October 1, 2012 To say that 2012 hasn't been the easiest of years for Echo Lake would be a sad understatement. The tragic loss of their drummer Pete Hayes coinciding with the release of their debut album was a crushing setback for this wonderful London band-in-ascendant.
Bella Union, 2012 [rating:6.5/10] Jack Tatum thought he must've hit a goldmine when his 2010 debut album as Wild Nothing was so rapturously received with little to no preceding fanfare. This North Virginian native, and his album, Gemini, proved to be a beguiling release, a wistful summer-sounding, 80's referencing aside to the music of Tatum's youth. Full
Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny Kings College, London September 26, 2012 A little face paint and a rummage through the fancy dress chest has the potential to turn even the dreariest of live performances into something oddly comical and surreal, yet this is something Beth Jeans Houghton and her Hooves of Destiny
What to say about Sheffield's Best Friends... The name of the band is self-explanatory. The a-side of their debut single “Surf Bitches” could either be about the kinds of girls they like or things they like to do, but with a comma missing between “Surf” and “Bitches”. You know, like a shopping list. Maybe they
Bella Union, 2012 [rating:8/10] 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of the birth of Bella Union, a record label started by Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins that was created, initially, to release their own recordings with no obvious aspiration to challenge the big UK independents of the day, yet somehow wound up acquiring a
Merge, 2012 [rating:8/10] Alterna-rock statesman hot from bringing a little 90's Sugar to the 10's masses returns with shit-hot album. If that's all the convincing you need, you might as well stop reading now and give the man your money. But if you need a little more, here goes... Given that Mould has spent the
Riding the crest of the dream-pop insurgence that brought with it bands like Beach Fossils, Twin Sister and Still Corners, was that of Jack Tatum and Wild Nothing, who' s debut album of 2010, Gemini was an exquisitely crafted record brimming with 80's melodies and accompanying themes of nostalgia and romanticism. It was an album
Young & Lost Club, 2012 [rating:6.5/10] When it came to making the kind of sweet and effervescent guitar pop that would chime and ring at your feet, London’s Exlovers were one of a handful of bands who left tantalizing clues in the form of a smattering of singles and EP's that dated as far back as
This is a first for Webcuts, in the sense that between asking a band to appear in a future 'Who The Hell Are...?' and publishing said feature, the band broke up. Our recent hiatus, which was unfortunate but you know... whatever, allowed Naomi Hates Humans to pass into the great rehearsal room in the sky un-championed
Bella Union, 2012 [rating:8/10] From the outset, The Walkmen's seventh album Heaven ('seventh heaven' geddit?) does much to reignite interest in a band, who to be completely honest, have regularly under-performed on record (critically, backslaps all round, but commercially, nada) to the point where wives/girlfriends, etc, are sure to have said "when are you going to
Bella Union, 2012 [rating:5/10] Since their self-titled debut in 2006, Portland duo Beach House have become a band synonymous with the 'dream-pop' side of contemporary music, a tag that suitably sums up Beach House's immaculate sound. Their debut and follow-up Devotion were snapshots of a band evolving, both primitive and delicate in instrumentation and style. It
Beat The World, 2012 [rating:7.5/10] At this stage in their career, The Dandy Warhols stand as an infinitely renewable resource. With the major label shackles thrown and now releasing their own records, the only standards Courtney & Co have to meet is their own. This is often the point where casual fan and band shrug
From her isolated upbringing in rural Wisconsin, combined with a passion for opera, philosophy and industrial music, Nika Rosa Danilova aka Zola Jesus has created a name for herself as being a successor to the great Diamanda Galas and Lisa Gerrard with her haunting, otherworldly vocal style. Over the past three years Danilova has reached
Homeless Records, 2011 [rating:5.5/10] To call Layabouts chest-beating/car-loving/girl-banging rock n' roll as being derivative is to say rock n’ roll is derivative of rock n’ roll. If you stay true to the message, the music you make is un-fuck-with-able. Spain’s Layabouts make the kind of music that only Europeans are capable of -- the totally
Sizzling psyche-pop debut from San Francisco three-piece Wet Illustrated. A little Feelies, a little Sonic Youth.
It's October. Why are we reviewing Christmas albums in October? Why She & Him? Why?
HTRK The Garage, London October 24, 2011 HTRK have always been a difficult band to love. Once you got used to their narco-minimalism and faceless anonymity that pervaded their artwork, you realised they weren't a band seeking attention, merely like-minded souls to tumble down their rabbit hole. They weren't looking for you, you were looking
Work (Work, Work) is the sound of HTRK collecting themselves after tragedy and loss. A difficult time creates a difficult album.
San Francisco's Girls self-titled debut of 2009 garnered widespread acclaim based on its fancy-free and free-love attitude that offered irresistible pop gems bathed in x-rated video clips ("Lust for Life" anyone?). Sex and pop, what more do you want out of music these days? For their sophomore album Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the Girls duo of Christopher Owen and Chet "JR" White have upped the songwriter stakes to put together an album that's impressive straight out of the blocks. Static's Chris Berkley spoke with Girl's JR over the phone in the midst of a very suspect (if you're to believe what he says) video shoot.
Could it be true that the end of a beloved and highly regarded band came down to a simple “a funny thing happened while putting together our career retrospective”? How many bands, when faced with a monumental back catalogue of music and memories, reach the realisation that they have achieved all, and a hell of
Ex-Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy returns with his first new solo album in 7 years, proving that there's still life in the old goth.
Reissue! Repackage! Warpaint's mesmerising debut gets a little dressing up as we wait for album #2.
Quietly released last year was the first proper solo album by Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier. A touching tribute to her sister, who in Sadier's words "went on a million year trip/and left everthing behind", The Trip saw Sadier step out from the shadow of Stereolab to make a very revealing album, not only in the way she dealt with her loss, but in how she paid tribute to artists that influenced and inspired her. An album that sparkled in its minimalist approach, The Trip showed a side of Sadier unseen, one that was filled with warmth and emotion, and those little philosophical quirks that you've come to expect.
With their debut album If It Carries On Like This We're Moving to Morecombe, London post-rock quartet The Fierce & The Dead left an indelible impression at Webcuts HQ. It was an album that defied categorisation and challenged perceptions of the post-rock genre, not only from the exceptionally long-winded and unselfconscious title, but in the way it fused elements of post-rock with hardcore, ambient soundscapes and jazz/funk experimentation. It was as if The Fierce & The Dead wanted to sound like all bands, and none, which intrigued us enough to want to find out more.
It's ok for you to think "who? never heard of 'em". Honestly, you'd have to be aged 35+, Australian, and a regular listener of Triple J or Triple R. Maybe you watched Neighbours. In the finicky annals of Australian music history, and with no disrespect to Helvelln, they barely warrant a mention. To briefly summarise, Helvelln were an inspired pop/rock 3-piece formed in Melbourne in the late 80's, released two singles and one album and then broke up in the early 90's. Google them and you'll get pictures of mountains. Impressive and rocky, but hardly rock n' roll.
Part 2 of our Secret History of Australian Music retrospective on Helvelln and interview with guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Jeremy Gronow. For part 1 and a more considered introduction, go here. Bedroom critic that I am, I'd be amiss not to suggest that only thing that lets Side 1 down is the lugubrious "Temptation". If I
Having changed careers mid-stream from a piano-based singer-songwriter with a touch of the Regina Spectors to a Nico-esque bleach-blonde gothic siren, in Austra Katie Stelmanis has found the form to match the function. With a handful of impressive singles released either side of their Kate Bush meets Nine Inch Nails debut album Feel It Break, Stelmanis may have found her creative niche but she still has much to prove. On record, Austra cloak themselves in a throbbing monochrome blanket, but on stage their live show is more telling, more vibrant and commanding, as Stelmanis, flanked by a pair of interpretive dancers/backing vocalists, add any absent colour.
Cherry Red, 2011 [rating:5/10] While the other three members forged on with nary a breath to contemplate what lay behind them, it took the ex-Bauhaus frontman 3 long years to record his first solo album. Here Murphy’s path was a more cautious one, making tentative steps with ex-Japan bassist Mick Karn for their unspectacular avant
Very unsure about this album, the sixth from past Webcuts pet faves, Okkervil River. I Am Very Far from their best.
Epic post-rock from The Fierce & The Dead on their debut album. Seek it out, post-rock fans.
Was there really once a musical sub-genre called 'Shitgaze'? I mean, somebody actually sat around, coined that term and then hoisted it on a few unsuspecting bands who by fate or ill-fortune found themselves trapped under its audiophile repelling umbrella? Think about it, shitgaze. Would you buy into that? Thankfully it's only a memory, but some of those bands still remain, including Columbus, Ohio's Times New Viking. On the eve of their first Australian tour Chris Berkley of Static spoke to Jared and Adam of Times New Viking, fresh off the plane to promote their most recent album, the discordant but progressively tuneful, Dancer Equired.
You have to question the motives behind a band who put a picture of two gurning band members on the front cover of their debut 7", or when asking the record company for a promo photo being offered 'the one where they're all dressed up in drag', or 'the one where they're chewing grass' (we passed on both). Sheffield's Seize The Chair have the air of a band who clearly and delightfully just don't give a fuck. In fact they probably just want to make music and have a laugh. Which, if you've seen that record sleeve, you'll be laughing too.
Pavement reunion done and dusted, Stephen Malkmus and Co. get back to making adult indie rock on album number five.
For the last three years the Too Pure Singles Club has been releasing monthly 7" singles to subscribers featuring a selection of rising UK and international alternative acts, many of whom are unknown outside their own country (their own town even). The appeal of a singles club is more than just a piece of vinyl every month by a band you're unlikely to have ever heard of. Actually, that is the appeal. Hit or miss as they can be, you never know which one of these limited run singles will turn out to be your next favourite band.
Welcome to the lilting shoegaze world of Swedish duo I Break Horses, "more than just a nostalgic pastiche of an ethereal past".
Concept albums, rock operas, the artistic chasm of failure widens as Fucked Up take the challenge and make the album of their career.
Never in the history of doing these 'Who The Hell Are... ?' spotlights has a band come along and answered each question so thoroughly and excitedly that to praise them any further would make it seem like we're actually in this band or take bribes (we do. email for details). From the same stable of acts (and household one would presume) that brought you the percussive pop concussions of We//Are//Animal and the not-very-French-at-all Masters In France, come spicy indie rock quartet Fennel Seeds. Further proof that North Wales these days is a happening place or one that naught much else happens.
From the label that gave you The Libertines and The Strokes, here's another young and disaffected indie guitar band.
As 2011 continues to reveal an abundance of new artists and great music, it's of no surprise that one of the more anticipated debut albums was that of 28-year-old Atlanta based songwriter and producer Ernest Greene, AKA Washed Out. Full of blissful harmonies and gently shifting arrangements, augmented with hip-hop beats and samples, Within And Without quickly became the preferred summer spin at Webcuts. Static's Chris Berkley recently caught up with Ernest to talk about all things Within And Without -- recording the album, the process behind it, and amongst other things, 10CC's "I'm Not In Love" and the 'raunchy' cover art.
Behind every great album is more often than not, an even greater story waiting to be told. The pursuit for higher understanding of artists and their most influential pieces of work and how the two came to pass has long been the ultimate goal of the ardent music fan who thrives on having every recorded nuance and historical detail mapped out like a combined atlas and encyclopedia of the human body. One of the more indispensible series of music books published that actually does, more or less, what is expected above, has been Continuum's 33 1/3. With the recent addition of The Rolling Stones Some Girls, Dinosaur Jr's You're Living All Over Me and Television's Marquee Moon to their honour roll, 33 1/3 show no sign of scraping the bargain bin anytime soon.