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"
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 '80s, but
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
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
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
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
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
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
London, Paris, Condale, Munich. Everybody's talking about Summer Camp's pop music. Well, not everybody. But they should.
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?
Wilco -- "They’ve solidified themselves as the greatest American band playing today, possibly of all time".
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.
Sweet jangle pop outta New Jersey and more than likely the only Real Estate we'll ever purchase... (sad but true).
A couple of songs into Lydia Loveless’s evening set, and it’s difficult to tell where Lydia the singer ends and Lydia the person begins. It’s simply hard to imagine a woman like this, barely in her twenties, and standing a little over five foot tall in her boots, could be so worldly and explosive. And yet, there she is, muttering a string of f-bombs during a song break because she can’t get her guitar tuned quite right. The attitude, the weathered, sarcastic smile. The edge. That’s pretty damn tough to fake.
Blitzen Trapper brings to mind somebody hunting down reindeer. This has nothing to do with the music.
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.
Minneapolis folk duo Peter Wolf Crier mix things up on their sophomore album with mixed results.
Reissue! Repackage! Warpaint's mesmerising debut gets a little dressing up as we wait for album #2.
Dum Dum Girls add an extra coat of polish and put on a brave garage-pop face for album number 2.
On the surface, it’s a normal, sold-out show on a Friday night just north of downtown Cleveland. The fans stretch around the corner from the front door; ticket holders excited for the They Might Be Giants concert they’re about to see, and those without tickets hoping to catch a break when they get to the box office. But this is not a normal show, and this is not a normal audience. These are the geeks. The nerds. Die hard rock fans of a different shade of crazy, waiting for their musical heroes to serenade them with catchy pop songs tinged with dark humor and insightful counter-culture references.
Energetic indie-rock from LA's Grouplove but watch out for "the boring half of the record". Whoops.
Obscurities he called it, but more like a forgotten treasure trove from all chapters of the Stephin Merritt songbook.
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 [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 Peter Murphy’s path was a more cautious one, making tentative steps with ex-Japan bassist Mick Karn for their unspectacular
With our review dispensing superlatives like "timeless" and "classic", Beirut's The Rip Tide is one of the must-listen albums of 2011.
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.
Pavement reunion done and dusted, Stephen Malkmus and Co. get back to making adult indie rock on album number five.
Canadian folk-sters Dark Mean deliver a "must-listen album with staying power, and one of the year’s best" on their self-released debut.
...says Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug of his solo off-shoot project Moonface. Not as good as we'd hoped, either.
Welcome to the lilting shoegaze world of Swedish duo I Break Horses, "more than just a nostalgic pastiche of an ethereal past".
Putting aside Lightspeed Champion, the chameleon musician/producer known as Dev Hynes unveils his latest project Blood Orange.
Concept albums, rock operas, the artistic chasm of failure widens as Fucked Up take the challenge and make the album of their career.
From the label that gave you The Libertines and The Strokes, here's another young and disaffected indie guitar band.
Chicago's Fruit Bats return to their familiar "effortless and sweet" indie folk ways on their fifth album, Tripper.
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.
First solo release from Rogue Wave's Zach Rogue under his new moniker, Release The Sunbird. For those who like their rock wimpy.
Quietly, unassumingly, Truck Festival has become an annual celebration of all that is so very right about music. When the Bennett brothers witnessed the exploitative attitude of industrial sized events they didn’t just get mad they got even. Truck Festival was their baby and now in its fourteenth year it has blossomed into a rather lovely adolescent. Webcuts birthday boy Don Blandford was at Truck all weekend to report on the action, featuring appearances by: Graham Coxon, Lanterns On The Lake, Cashier No.9, Sarah Cracknell, Johnny Flynn, Edwyn Collins, Caitlin Rose, Mechanical Bride and Sea Of Bees.
Join Us finds They Might Be Giants at their "quirkiest, catchiest and most clever", which is simply music to our old-school fan ears.
Louisiana's Generationals Actor-Caster is a "treasure trove of indie pop rock songs". That's exactly the kind of booty we like around here.