Ex-New Zealander's Unnecessarily Long Band Name evoke retro 60's thrills on their self-titled debut.
Electro-dance-goth-opera by way of Canada, Austra's debut album Feel It Break is akin to a good night out in loud, dark room. Kinda fun, but where's the door?
One half of the hyper-productive quirk-pop outfit Fiery Furnaces takes her first solo steps on Last Summer.
Washed Out's debut album couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. The water's just right for a little chillwave.
In the history of modern music festivals, few line-ups could compare with the distinctly 70's flavoured action offered at the Hop Farm Festival last weekend. While The Eagles were wheeled out of retirement as headliners on the first night, the purportedly Morrissey-curated second day included such rock pantheon artists as Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Patti Smith. All in all, it's a jaw-dropping stroke of genius, with Morrissey having the hardest of acts to follow the swathe these three so cleanly cut through the Kent countryside. Oh, and did we forget to mention Prince was there too?
How strange to be more than fifteen years into a career and to finally achieve growing, and now glowing, recognition for the music you make. Bands today, the inverse applies, they learn to walk before they can crawl, record a debut they'll never repeat and disappear as if they never existed. Real artists will maintain and nurture their craft regardless of an audience, which more or less, is the story of Dan Bejar. Better known as the wild-card songwriter in Canadian power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers, Bejar's work as Destroyer is like mainlining into Bejar's psyche, which prior to you only got the briefest taste of.
Album number six for these free-wheeling long-haired holdin' on to black metal giants of Southern Rock.
Can Bon Iver live up to expectation with his self-titled follow-up to the celebrated For Emma, Forever Ago?
There are some records that forever remain at the bottom of the review pile, and boy do Smith Westerns make us regret it.
Lyrically and musically, simply one of the best records you'll hear all year. Dan Bejar -- Genius. Kaputt -- Divine.
It’s a little known piece of Webcuts folklore that Noah And The Whale once played in my living room. Gladly, it was before my time, otherwise a compulsion to head downstairs and have words would‘ve been hard to resist. A sell-out show at the Camden Roundhouse is not to be sneered at, but if commercial success or the ability to fill a room is the barometer in which all great music is measured, we’re on (and have been for decades) very shaky ground, and when superlative-inducing American folk-rock act Okkervil River are playing across town, clearly in the wrong place.
Why hello, Wendy James. It’s been a while. Almost 20 years since I saw Transvision Vamp play at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. A mostly unremarkable show except for the amount of intimidating drunks in attendance and the fact they played their current ‘hit‘ twice. Australia loved Transvision Vamp, almost in the same way it loved Blondie, decades before. Stick a blonde wig on a mop, put it in front of a bunch of guys in leather jackets and you're set. Transvision Vamp at that time were in their career descent with Little Magnets Versus The Bubble of Babble (my head still shudders at the idiocy of this title) and this was their last roll of the dice.
Having to write a live review on the fly, almost two weeks after it happened, from notes hastily scribbled, while packing to go to a festival will show us this is not the way to be. There's no time to go into great detail, to labour the point, to draw comparisons between George Lewis Jr's physical appearance (a little bit Prince, a little bit Morrissey), or the sound (a little bit Prince, a little bit Morrissey, albeit on a synth-sprung landscape). Twin Shadow, at least from this writer's perspective, has adequately filled the gap that LCD Soundsystem left by their absence, in making music that moves and is moving, that is confident without being arrogant, and is just too perfect for words.
The best band to come out of Canada, ever, celebrate their 20th anniversary with The Double Cross. It's a Roman numeral thing, y'dig?
It's easy to love Ramona, even though everything about them is so flawless and en pointe, unheard for a scruffy bunch of Brighton by-way-of-New-York rockers. Picks in hand, they transform a handful of chords into polished punk perfection, fronted by the coquettish bleach-blonde tomboy Karen Anne, a second generation Edie and Debbie who knows how to hang from a mic stand like she was hanging from your shoulder. Absent from the stage this year so far, they cycle through their set in a brisk half hour, including encore, and you're crying out for a flubbed note, an unrehearsed run through a song they just wrote in the van, or general indifference to whether anybody is listening.
The only euphoric heartbreak here is all expectations of Glasvegas trumping their debut going out the window.
Can goth new-wavers Cold Cave come close to the lo-fi synth-brilliance of their debut Love Comes Close? Now, that's the question.
In a long black leather jacket and hoodie and stacked heels, Cold Cave's Wes Eisold looks like any other kid you see in Camden on a Friday night, except that he's not and it isn't and before he even opens his mouth, you're thinking "wow, that leather jacket really is the shit" and it is. It's also a special day for 80's synth-obsessives Cold Cave, as Eisold curtly informs the assembled at Rough Trade Records - "Welcome to our album birthing day". Their second album, the strangely positive sounding Cherish The Light Years showing a marked change from the same Cold Cave that played London back in May 2010.
With each successive show played in London growing in size from venue to venue, it’s a clear indication of the steady rise of this beloved Atlanta four-piece, and with Shepherd’s Bush Empire being sold out, it's their largest capacity UK headline show to date. For the ardent, precious fan, Deerhunter aren't your band anymore. The era of slipping into town for a small club tour is over, but from the staid, somewhat bemused crowd, Deerhunter's roaming psychedelic-shoegaze and mutant folk-pop are still an acquired taste, one that’s seemingly unlikely to assail the upper reaches of the charts like label-mates, The National.
A surprising record or a record full of surprises from this indie-pop quartet? Note reviewer in "I loathed it now I like it" situation.
"I don't wanna work/but I don't wanna sit around/all day frowning". Kurt Vile, you speak to us in a way few artists ever do. You can stay.
Thumbs down for the skinny ties and tight jeans brigade on their fourth go-round. Surely it can't be worse than First Impressions Of Earth?
With appearances from Peaches and Patti Smith, R.E.M. show no signs of wear and tear in their fourth decade of making music.
Australia's first lady of rock and founder member of Magic Dirt, Adalita Srsen, adopts a stripped back stance for her debut solo effort.
There really is something enthralling about watching a band not just perform music but energetically project themselves into it. It's akin to standing against a gale who's presence is to overpower you and anything in its way. That would in part, sum up the appeal of Exlovers -- they cut a forceful, harmony-fuelled rug. The other part is they're the most attractive bunch of tattooed scruffs that you'll ever encounter. Put all this in the context of their latest single "Blowing Kisses", a song that transcends simple indie guitar music and that gale hits like a perfumed fist that still makes you want to stand up and take more.
A break-up album like no other, Sweden's pop princess Lykke Li hits an emotional core that has Webcuts in awe.
Over-indulgent Gothic melodrama from Brighton's Esben And The Witch. How do you like your nightmares? Black with 2 sugars, thanks.
Wire and Gang of Four wrote the book for post-punk, kind of. Are they still innovators or merely curators with Red Barked Tree and Content?
Putting on our Britpop goggles yet again, Sleeper's debut album Smart and its follow-up The It Girl get the reissue treatment.
When you add up the years, you realise Ian Astbury and Billy Dully have been making music as The Cult for a long-ass time. Sitting in the rafters of the Hammersmith Apollo ("Hammersmith Odeon", Astbury demurs, referring to the venue's previous appellation), the debt paid to the excesses of rock n’ roll have more-or-less treated both kindly. Astbury, the once flower-child/wolf-child looks a little rough round the edges, but when you style yourself on Jim Morrisson and then suddenly become him, what can you expect. Duffy on the other hand, is ageless, looking more like David Beckham‘s older brother than a well-tooled guitar god.
In complete contrast to a month ago when it was "precipitation nation" Brisbane’s fourth St. Jerome’s Laneway festival could've been subtitled "Boiling Brisvegas". Unlike many festivals Laneway 2011 had a remarkably consistent quality throughout the entire day, so regardless of the weather it was always destined to be a scorcher. We braved the extreme ultra violet index to report on Australia's Rat Vs Possum, Cloud Control and Cut Copy. While sampling UK's Foals and America's best of the best with Beach House, The Antlers, Warpaint, Blonde Redhead, Ariel Pink, Holy Fuck. Oh and LES SAVY FAV!.
Photos of Mr. Maps' launch for Wire Empire their debut (and so far only) album. Brisbane, February 12, 2011.
Providence, Rhode Island indie-folksters The Low Anthem fail to im-press the smart flesh on their sophomore release.
The Decemberists discard the costumes and dispense with the theatre slipping into more familiar musical threads on album number 6.
Melbourne Modular boys gone global return for their third album with mixed results. Just what the hell is a Zonoscope anyway?
This was to be the debut and sole performance of Outsider Music, Luke Haines' most successful solo album to date. An album of some notoriety in that it was individually recorded 50 times and released last September for £75 a throw. An artistic experiment and a gamble of sorts, it was an undeniable success for Haines, the old adage about fools and their money standing true -- all 50 volumes of Outsider Music disappearing quicker than anticipated. With each volume a unique item on its own, buyers have been reticent on sharing and as of yet, no copies have surfaced. So Haines - 1, Rich Fans - 1, Poor Fans - go eat a shit sandwich.
For the third Sunset Sounds festival it rained, it poured, it pelted down. Water came down in sheets, hell it came down in slabs. Even those who came with waterproof clothing were completely soaked not just to the bone but to the very marrow. Sunset Sounds became Sunless Sounds, Soggy Sounds and Mudset Sounds. It brought out the worst in some people and the best in others. Still the show went on and so we report on Sleigh Bells, Cold War Kids, Ladyhawke, Pubic Enemy, The National and Interpol on day one. While for the second day we braved the wet again to deliver reports on The Soft Pack, Peaches, Junip, The Morning Benders, Washington and Paul Kelly.
Hurrah for English music. Just when you think Webcuts panders almost exclusively to the Americans, British Sea Power save the day.
Debut album from Montreal's Braids. Like a Canadian Animal Collective with female vocals? Read on and find out...
There’s been a noticeable shift slash longing backward glance in music trends towards all things 80’s. It seems that the product of that era now want to know everything about where they came from and the music that was made. For synth pop acts like Summer Camp and Twin Shadow, the 80’s are a nostalgia/inspirational goldmine, but with the rise of Zola Jesus, Salem, oOoOO, etc, it was inevitable that Goth music and its mutated electro/dark wave offspring would get discovered by the black clad suburban misfits of today. Enter, Austra from Toronto, Canada.
The final bow from London’s The Loves balances its buoyant pop against a knowing end and comes up smelling of roses.
New Years Eve’s are traditionally unplanned, last minute events, involving clubs or house parties especially in laissez-faire Brisbane. This year was different. An independent music festival at the Powerhouse, brazenly named No Years! offered a tempting program. 21 bands in total: 14 local, 5 interstate and 2 international acts, over eleven hours at lovely New Farm location. We cast our NYE net on Australia's Bleeding Knees Club, Parades, Love Connection, Jonathan Boulet, The John Steel Singers and Oh Ye Denver Birds. And see who ranks best out of America Neon Indian and Sweden Shout Out Louds.
These are confusing times we live in. The past and the present have merged into one. Bands come back from the dead, sounding better than ever (The Primitives), artists who are clearly dead keep on making dreadful albums from beyond the grave (do we need name names?), and bands will play their best album in full and it becomes ‘an event’ (The Wedding Present). There are few albums in the history of music that deserve to be played in full (though tell that to Echo & The Bunnymen...), there's always at least one track (or more) of filler, or one completely misjudged stinker, but nostalgia has a price and it pays handsomely, so hey, on with the show!
It's been a long time time between drinks for The Charlatans and Australia. Fresh from playing their Some Friendly 20th Anniversary shows around the UK The Charlatans were down under recently with a more conventional touring schedule. It's certainly not the fan fest that they are used to back home but a rapturous welcome still greets the band. With a set drawn mostly from their very early material honed through recent tours, and the obligatory new songs that every band pulls out, it's a different set to what fans might expect but shows the depth of quality over their long career.
Long before he cleared the air/dished the dirt (whichever way you look at it), on his band mates in his autobiography Black Postcards, it was widely known there would never be a proper Galaxie 500 reunion. In the intervening years since their disbandment in 1991, both Dean Wareham and the unit known as Damon and Naomi have gone their separate musical ways to moderate degrees of success. With Wareham’s post G500 outfit Luna winding up in 2005, he’d now put to pasture two bands presumably allowing him time to reflect on past glories with a renewed desire to not let that youth go to waste.
Two classic, career defining Fall albums get the deluxe box set treatment.
Latching hold of our ears earlier in the year with their double EP release Colour Your Life/Vampires With Dreaming Kids, Long Island’s Twin Sister had secured a place on our date card long before their they announced their first UK tour. Sneaking across the pond in October, we’d caught the band supporting rising stars, The Morning Benders at the Music Box in Los Angeles (apologies boys, I owe you one live review) and were suitably impressed. Jaded beyond jaded as the years drag on and the revolving floorshow of new bands yawn in our faces with old ideas, it was refreshing to witness a band breathe colour and life into their music.
It's hard to believe that he's been gone 7 years now. This collection attempts to define one of last great songwriters of the 20th Century.
The Bangles chart-conquering Different Light and their slighty less impressive debut album get the reissue treatment.