SINGLE REVIEW: “Pentimento” by Foxsmith

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Artist: Foxsmith
Song: Pentimento

The brand new song from FOXSMITH is called “Pentimento” and it is a dark hypnotic pop song that creeps along nicely and showcases a deeper side of the band. The hooks are still plentiful but it sounds like WARPAINT’s latest record has really seeped into the dynamics and the overall sonic approach presented with this track. The band also plays a bit of nostalgia hero worship to THE CURE with the emotional yet deadpan delivery of the vocals coming across with a very “Disintegration” era Robert Smith sound.  It is dark enough to be deep but light enough to still be a great pop song that would make the perfect track two on a full length record.

I always hoped that this band would go deeper and darker with their sound and “Pentimento” illustrates a step in the right direction. It would be cool if there was a little more swing in the rhythm section, which would allow for the darkness of the track to bounce towards being communicated perfectly. It feels a little stiff and shuffles too slowly which in turn drags the emotional intelligence of the song down. Considering the music is so beautifully sparse it feels like a more psyche soaked funk disco groove could provide the missing ingredient in terms of ensuring that the audience is hypnotised and fixated on how meaningful and raw the lyrics and vocals are.

Overall this a brilliant song, full of atmosphere and soaked in all of the dynamics that make dark pop music so engaging. I’m looking forward to hearing more from FOXSMITH and I sincerely hope that we get a full length album sometime in the near future.

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/foxsmithmusic
Youtube – http://youtu.be/hhhKL1PNLAE

 

SINGLE REVIEW: “My Mayhem” by Mid Ayr

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Artist: Mid Ayr
Song: My Mayhem

This is a nice and neat little folk infused pop song with very “now” vocal melody lines and harmonies. This is the kind of music that is in debt to artists like Bon Iver and Paul Simon although judging from the rhythmic groove and production I have a sneaking suspicion that the gentleman behind all of this, Hugh Middleton, may himself be an avid fan of hip hop. It feels sincere but safe and there is definitely room for this kind of music in the world but a whole album and or EP of this may lose me. I’d love to see a horn section at the crescendo of this, really saturate it with some psyched out weirdness to really drive that point home and spook the fucking sonics up a little bit, just to make it a little more nasty. A deep cocaine fuelled funk section, the kind of deep heavy funk that George Clinton is renowned for would really make this song explode. We’ve got plenty of time to hear about your feelings, why not make them feel a bit uncomfortable in the process of expressing your bummers and joys – don’t show them the scar, take a knife and make a brand new wound in front of them, make it fucking raw / roar.

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/midayr
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/midayr
Triple J Unearthed – https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/mid-ayr
Youtube Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-doK-VQvZwU&google_comment_id=z13gijvomrnrw3x1022tfdogvvz3ifb0g&google_view_type#gpluscomments

 

ALBUM REVIEW: “The Beauty Of Destruction” by Devil You Know

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The debut album from DEVIL YOU KNOW is a fantastic display of how powerful, melodic, intelligent and emotional modern metal can be. The album is aptly titled “The Beauty Of Destruction” and is an incredibly dark journey through the tortured and complicated mind of Vocalist Howard Jones who soundtracks these rather technical metal landscapes with his unique and rather dynamic vocal performance. The music side of things was composed and conceived by the legendary John Sankey (Drums) and Francesco Artusato (guitar) who prove that after years of dominating the heavy metal underground they are ready to crossover in a big way.

Already known for his work as lead vocalist with Killswitch Engage and Blood Has Been Shed, “The Beauty Of Destruction” has Howard Jones sounding refreshed and delivering a career defining performance. The instrumental side of things on this album and the technicality and riffage are flawless from a composition standpoint but it really is the vocals that create the unique flavour for DEVIL YOU KNOW and in the process helps to separate them from other modern metal bands. The way Howard can rush from a whisper to a scream and then to a delicate croon followed by a tortured aggressive howl is more impressive and more confident on this album than his previous work with Killswitch Engage. It is to the point where he almost sounds more comfortable and more challenged by the material he was presented by Sankey and Artusato which is a sign that DEVIL YOU KNOW has the potential to grow and evolve certain aesthetics showcased across this album.

There is a real side one / side two feel to this record and it is best consumed as one whole piece. Individual songs can give you a glimpse of what to expect but out of context they don’t relay the whole emotional journey that “The Beauty of Destruction” presents. The album has many highlights but the song I continually put forth as my favourite is the second track “My Own” which blends the aggression, darkness and divine melodies of DEVIL YOU KNOW perfectly. As mentioned though, this only tells part of the story because the band uses so many of the established metal aesthetics with the kind of intelligence that comes from humans who see the success of a good metal song being not just its ability to be heavy and technical but also its ability to be catchy, groovy and downright infectious. The fact that the band manages this but makes things so dark and twisted really is the crowning achievement of this debut movement of songs. The production of Logan Mader really deserves mentioning because he has managed to keep things raw whilst still providing a gloss that makes for maximum high definition enjoyment.

Any seasoned appreciator of heavy metal will no doubt find extreme pleasure with DEVIL YOU KNOW who prove that sometimes the most revolutionary step forward for the genre is great songwriting. I know this record ultimately marries the sounds its creators are renowned for but it is the confidence and the sincerity of it that makes it a refreshing and exciting listen. It has an infectious ability to haunt you long after you’ve listened to it and sets up DEVIL YOU KNOW for a very fruitful and successful career of melodic metal.

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Devilyouknowofficial
Twitter – http://twitter.com/DevilYouKnow
YouTube – http://youtube.com/DevilYouKnowOfficial
Instagram – http://instagram.com/devilyouknowofficial

SHOW ME YOUR RIFFS – Volume Ten – Bianca Valentino

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When I started Heavy and Weird there were a few different people who inspired me to do so. One of the main humans responsible was a local writer by the name of Bianca Valentino. I had been a fan of her writing for a good number of years and I admired deeply the way the way she would conduct her interviews, especially the ones contained in her Conversations with Punx series. The joy of Bianca’s work stems from the fact that she is a true communicator who understands the value of listening to her subjects. When Bianca interviews someone she not only illustrates a great degree of respect by doing a heavy amount of research but she also goes out of her way to construct a series of questions that boycott the laziness of copy and paste journalism. Bianca is a fearless leader who uses love and light mixed with her own vulnerability and darkness to chase her own passion in order to bring to the world some of the greatest writing ever. Further to this she is an incredible mentor to many, myself included and I’m constantly on a journey to be as powerful and as effective as Bianca but in the process to nurture my own individual voice.

I was lucky enough to interview Bianca for my Show Me Your Riffs series and I’m incredibly excited to share this with you as it is a brilliant insight into Bianca as a person and a true master class for anyone wanting to be a writer:

 

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H&W: For those who don’t know who you are, introduce yourself:

BV: Hi! I’m Bianca Valentino. I live on the Gold Coast. I create zines, enjoy writing, love interviewing people and have a lot of fun doing art stuff, especially screen printing shirts with my favourite person ever, Jhonny (Mystery School). I adore hanging out with my mini foxie dog friend, Vincent and I Love listening to records, reading biographies, watching documentaries and thrifting. I’m the creator of the blog, conversationswithbianca.com and have had my work published in Rolling Stone, art and design magazine No Cure, on Everett True’s Collapse Board and I’m a staff writer for Tavi Gevinson’s teen girls’ mag, Rookie. I do collaborative projects with awesome LA-based publication Sound Colour Vibration too. Very soon I will be writing for a couple of other outlets: a collective of kick ass female creatives from around the world and the other is a fashion collective. I believe in self-empowerment and betterment through self-knowledge, DIY, Magick and PMA.

H&W: How did your journey with journalism start?

BV: I started out making my own independent publications – zines – when I was 15-years-old and it grew from there. I started writing for (now defunct) Brisbane street press Rave Magazine in 1997, reviewing live shows, music and interviewing musicians (I did around 200 live reviews and 400 interviews for them). The editor gave me the green light to write for them after I had a meeting with him and showed him my zines. I contributed to the publication for around 15 years mostly doing all the punk stuff.


H&W: Your resume is full of a lot of really engaging interviews where your subjects really go deep and open up to you. What is your process when it comes to conducting a meaningful interview with an artist and what level of discipline does it require?

BV: Thank you Dan. I’m glad you enjoy my work, it means a lot. What you’re doing with Heavy & Weird is pretty cool too. It’s nice to read thoughtful, lengthy features online. I like that you don’t follow formulas or rules and that you don’t just copy and paste press releases and content from other sites. Both you and your writers exercise your own opinions and write from the heart.

As for conducting meaningful interviews, I believe that the following is important: curiosity, lots of research, genuine interest in the person you’re interviewing and their work, solid questions that haven’t been asked of them before, listening is very important and using your intuition. I was watching an interview with journalist/media personality Larry King the other day and he said, “I never learnt anything while I was talking.” I think that’s a great thing to remember, I feel the same way. I’m also really good at tuning into people’s energy. I seem to find people to interview at really interesting, challenging times, often when they’re at turning points in their lives.

Knowing as much as you can about your subject is important. The more you know, the easier it is for you to go wherever the conversation takes you. A lot of books on interviewing that I’ve read have said that the journalist should be in control of the conversation, I don’t believe in that totally though. In my mind we’re both artists and it’s as if we’re working on a collaboration together. I’m not into fulfilling the artist’s publicist, labels or management’s agenda. I am mindful of what the artist is promoting and working on, but there is so much more to an artist than what they’re selling. As you’ve observed, I like to go deeper. I find the best conversations happen when you don’t have a rigid agenda. Depending on which publication I’m writing for, it can also influence the way I do the interview. I’m lucky that I get to write for a variety of publications that have different tones and personalities that enjoy and value my work.

When it comes to my work I’m pretty much always on, always absorbing stuff, always keeping notes. I am constantly working on my craft. Reading and watching lots of interviews helps you to get to know what works and what might not, question-wise, in interviews. I always keep a note book and pen with me too, because I’ve found that inspiration strikes often when you least expect it.

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Bianca with Tavi Gevinson

H&W: As an artist yourself, do you find that it is easier to connect to the people you are interviewing because you understand and respect the unique process involved with creative communication – regardless of whether the subjects medium is art, music, fashion etc – and how do you as a writer gain that respect from the artists you speak to?

BV: I think one of the biggest reasons I connect with people I’m interviewing is the fact that I care and my questions show that. As I’m sure you’re aware, sometimes bigger artists do days of pretty much nothing but interviews, so the same stock standard questions most mainstream publications and media outlets ask, get tiresome. When they get to someone like me with fresh, thoughtful questions that show I’m knowledgeable about their body of work and career they get excited and are more than happy to open up. I want to talk about what the artist wants to talk about. An interested interview subject will engage with you. I don’t shy away from asking tough questions either. I have a lot of creative friends and I like to interview them, so if you have a pre-existing relationship with someone that can also produce an engaging interview. Same goes for interviewing someone repeatedly throughout their career, you build trust and connection. Over time I’ve become friends with many people I’ve interviewed, which is nice.

 

H&W: I’ve been a big fan of your writing for quite a while and one of your most engaging pieces of writing has been your Conversations with Punx project. How did this project come about?

BV: I’ve always been inclined to lean towards mysticism, ancient knowledge, the esoteric and the spiritual. As a kid I had a lot of books on myths, ancient civilizations, witchcraft, and stuff like that. I am incredibly fascinated by history and documenting things. When I started the project I was diagnosed with severe depression. I was questioning a lot of things, like people and situations in my life, most of all myself. I had some bad people in my life that didn’t have my best interests at heart, when people show you who they really are you should believe them. I have a tendency to see the best in people and focus on the positive which sometimes can get you in a not so great place; I’ve learnt to find a nice balance these days. At the time I started to search for something more, something better than where I was at. I decided to explore that through the medium I knew best—punk rock. I did my first interview for the project in 2003 and now in 2014 I’m pretty sure I’ve done my last interview…I did it only a few weeks back and it was really powerful, revealing and made me face stuff that I’d been pushing down deep inside myself and that was blocking me to finishing the project. That conversation kicked my ass you could say.

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Copies of Bianca’s Conversation With Punx Series

H&W: With the rise of the digital age, we’ve seen the dumbing down of engaging and meaningful communication. How do you keep your message full of light and love in an era that no longer favours depth and intensity?

BV: Well, what’s the alternative to having a message of light and love? I have no interest in the opposite of that…I’ve experienced too much pain and negativity in my life that I have consciously chosen to fill my life with love and light and to promote that. Have you ever read the book, The Four Agreements? One of the agreements is to be impeccable with your word meaning, “Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.” There’s already too much negativity in this world, I will not add to that. I will do what I do regardless of trends and what everyone else is doing. You know, I have bad days just like everyone else but everyone doesn’t need to know my problems, they have enough of their own. I’m a pretty private person and I get conflicted about how much of myself to share, especially online. I have a hard time being in the spotlight, I like my work to speak for itself.

 

H&W: In 2011 you were the Zine maker of the year. How important has fanzine culture been to your creative evolution and in the digital age, how important is it to keep the underground music scenes alive through this vehicle of communication?

BV: Most of the time I feel like an outsider amongst outsiders…to be honest I’ve never felt part of the zine culture so much. I started working on remedying that and trying to get involved more with other zine makers by starting the zine collective, Paper Cuts Collective with zine dudes I know, Staples and Matt Limmer. I really love Justin George’s zine, Wasted Opportunities and I love fellow Rookie contributors Suzy X’s stuff and Brodie Lancaster’s Filmme Fatales.

 

H&W: What connects you so deeply to the art that you write about and why is art so important to your existence?

BV: Art needs to move me in some way, if it doesn’t I’m wasting my time. I get things pitched to me all day long by PR people, management and labels. It’s very rare I connect with what they’re selling. I’m online every day actively seeking out new music and art. I love mixtapes and mix-CDs too. If someone has taken time to lovingly curate a mix, more often than not it’s going to rule.

As far as my own art, I’ve been exploring what I can do creatively. It’s not even always about the final product of the art, it’s about the process and the connection that comes with sharing. Until now I’ve always been kind of scared to share my own art. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by such talented people who I always saw as true artists and well…I didn’t think of me as one at all. I just make stuff. I’m getting better at owning what I do. I had a really interesting conversation with my friend Ian from Japanther about this last week, you can read it here: http://conversationswithbianca.com/2014/06/07/japanther-interview/

 

H&W: Who has been the most influential person in your life when it comes to your writing?

BV: There’s a few. Anthony Bozza, if I could write half as well as him, I’d be happy. Everett True has helped me a lot to be more confident in what I’m doing; I joke with him too that I usually do the opposite of what he suggests, or how he does things…his passion for music and championing of female artists is incredibly inspiring. Tavi and the contributors at Rookie are just the greatest extended family a gal could ask for; each one of them is crazy talented and inspire me every day with their work. I cry reading Rookie all the time because it resonates so much with me. My homie, Erik Otis from Sound Colour Vibration has one of the most inspiring work ethics ever and his words are poetry—he really cares about what he does! I’m also inspired by songwriters like Matt Caughthran from The Bronx, Jesse Michaels, Jennifer Charles from Elysian Fields, Elisabeth Esselink aka Solex…I could go on for days here. I love word play and poetic licence. The rhythm of words fascinates me too. In life in general my Jhonny inspires me more than any other person ever has, he’s the most phenomenal soul I’ve ever known.

 

H&W: You’d had the opportunity to interview some of the most influential figures in Punk Rock, how has that helped change and evolve your understanding of what Punk Rock is and circa 2014, what does Punk Rock mean to you?

BV: Punk to me is about: individuality, creativity, posi energy, fearlessness, community and togetherness. I’ve picked up little bits and pieces along the way, there’s too much to explain it all here. When you read my project’s book you’ll get a much better understanding.

 

H&W: If you engage the various music publications, both physical and digital, you find a lot of lazy and clichéd forms of journalism and a lot of negative reporting. What do you think is the main influence of the laziness that can exist in the mainstream music media?

BV: For the most part, I don’t really care what other people are doing. I like to focus on my own work. To answer your question, maybe stuff like writers and journalists not truly caring about what they’re doing, treating it just like any other job…being enamoured by celebrities etc., free perks etc. rather than the actual work and craft. I make my own media and teach others to make their own media through workshops.

 

H&W: How would you describe your dedication to Spirituality and how does this influence your writing?

BV: My writing and interviewing is part of my spiritual practice. I am dedicated to it for life. It is my life. Spirituality is life.

 

H&W: What is your definition of bad music?

BV: As I’ve said before, I like to concentrate on, and promote positive things I enjoy. Bad music is subjective to people’s taste. People can listen to whatever they want. There’s room for everything, except (in my eyes) racist, sexist…you get the picture, kind of stuff. That being said, raises the idea of freedom of speech and free will; should people be allowed to say and think what they want? It’s a complex issue.

 

H&W: What is your definition of bad journalism?

BV: Pretty much the same as what I’ve said for bad music. Getting specific I would add though: cutting and pasting press releases; journalist not asking researched questions; reviews written to a formula, ripping apart something to get attention; misleading headlines…those are a few things that come to mind right now.

 

H&W: What is your definition of bad art?

BV: I don’t like labelling something that has come from a fellow Creatives heart as bad. It might be very important to them or cathartic for them dealing with stuff in life. You have no idea what battles most people face in their daily lives, art is something that can offer relief from that. I encourage as many people as I can to create, especially the ones that don’t believe they are creative. I believe we’re all creative in some way. We’re creations our self after all. I even support my friends that do art whose work I might not personally be into, it’s important to nurture that creative spirit in people and to encourage art. Being an artist has helped me navigate life without killing myself.

 

H&W: With such a rich dedication to the history of music, who are some of your favourite musical acts?

BV: I love people that do interesting things and that are always challenging themselves. I like people that help foster community too. Some favourites off the top of my head are Japanther, Regurgitator, Monsterheart, Mystery School, Le Butcherettes and Bosnian Rainbows, CSS, Nightmare Air, Against Me, The Units, Del The Funky Homospaien, Pyyramids, Little Trouble Kids, Millionaire, Arcane of Souls, Santigold, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Secret Chiefs 3, 13th Floor Elevators, Mark Lanegan, Gogol Bordello, Chad VanGaalen, Gary Numan, Designer Imposter, PJ Harvey…

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Bianca with Gary Numan

H&W: What projects do you have coming up?

BV: My new Conversations With Punx zine #9 “Magick” will be out by the end of this month. It features chats with OFF!’s Keith Morris, ex-Blondie bassist and esoteric writer Gary Lachman, Wade Youman from Unwritten Law, Ian from Japanther and Don Foose from the Spudmonsters. I also have like 16 interviews in the works for my site. I’m putting the book version on CWP together. I’m shooting to have that out next year.

 

H&W: I believe that an artist’s role within society is to tell the truth. I see all the work you do as not only some of the most vital pieces of communication I’ve ever read but as a work of art itself. To my eyes when I read it, it comes together like a song and is full of different emotional dynamics that help it connect to the reader. In a world that values censorship and fevered egos your existence within the reporting of the art world is a treasured one. How important is it to stay true to your morals and belief systems in an industry that generally favours shallowness and fear? What is your advice to young artists and writers who are trying to make a difference and find an audience whilst staying true to their own truth and moral codes?

BV: It’s everything. Truth is the ultimate. It’s the highest. You can’t escape yourself. You need to be able to put your head on the pillow at night and know you’re living your truth and that you’ve done your best. If you’re not being truthful you’re not being your best. My first CWP zine was called “Truth” because that is super important to me. As far as advice, just do you. Don’t try to be someone else or fit into what you think others want you to be. Write and create from your heart, that’s what will make your work special and yours because no one else can do you. Don’t be swayed by others, think for yourself.

Thanks for this interview Dan. It’s weird for me being the interview subject…ha! Thanks for the work you do at H&W, glad you guys exist.

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Useful Links:

Conversations With Bianca Website: http://conversationswithbianca.com/

 

Interview Conducted by: Dan Newton

 

 

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW: “Chipper” by Tape / Off

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I was faced with a choice this week, to sit down and review either the brand new debut self-titled album by Stoner Pop humans Dune Rats or the brand new (and debut) album from Tape/Off called “Chipper” both of which were released in the last fortnight. As I sat down to listen to the brand new Dune Rats record I was reminded of a moment I witnessed happening to Thurston Moore in Dave Markey’s 1991 film “The Year Punk Broke” – in this particular scene, towards the end of the film, Thurston Moore is having breakfast and discussing how punk rock has now broken through to the mainstream in new and even more disgusting ways. He speaks about his disillusionment with this new movement of “style over substance” and references that even a band like Motley Crue are singing “Anarchy in the UK” to stadiums of people who just don’t care. The disappointment in Thurston’s body language really describes how crippling it would have been to witness lesser humans, humans with no understanding or respect for culture or history claiming the saving graces of punk rock. This scene accurately describes how I felt when I listen to the brand new album from Dune Rats and it makes me feel sorry for anyone who thinks that this music and this band are in anyway punk rock.

Considering that modern youth culture and Triple J support Dune Rats says a lot about the music world in Australia circa 2014. I think of Skid Row, Motley Crue and Warrant more than I do punk rock. Too much party and not enough arty and I’m sure that I’m just a lone voice with this one but I just get nothing out of this music. The songs are a little bit too squeaky clean to be punk rock or lo-fi and it has more in common with early era Green Day and Blink 182 than something cool like The Stooges or The Ramones or The Saints or even Sebadoh.  Clean neat music for clean neat people, the perfect formula for Triple J airplay and pointless hype. When you look throughout history you can always review the music of specific eras to get a feel for the climate of where a culture was at. When we look back at 2014 20 years from now and see bands of Dune Rat’s ilk we’ll be reminded of just how meaningless the pursuit of self-expression became and how designed chaos and brand awareness was the only way to resonate with an apathetic group consciousness that liked their music to be outrageously unoriginal and ready to soundtrack a night of drunken fun. Equality cannot be achieved whilst music like this exists.

It was a bad decision for me to sit down and review Dune Rats so I didn’t – then I switched over and turned on “Chipper” by Tape/Off and instantly fell into a state of relaxed bliss knowing full well that I had entered an environment that was a lot more accommodating to what I desire from music which is a bit of heart, a bit of soul and a whole bunch of sincerity.

From the opening notes of “Chipper” everything is perfect and a little bit bent out of shape with a hiss of lo-fi dust suffocating the ache and swoon of boredom and post-20 year old angst that has graduated to the real bummerhood of adult life. There is a clear difference between the modern pretenders of slacker rock (see above) and those humans who lived through it and have learnt how to harness its style and use it to communicate in a way that is unique to them. It is the sincerity of each individual member of Tape / Off that drives the emotion of “Chipper” and delivers such an instant classic.

The production has the wonderful claustrophobic feel of all those Fugazi records with enough noise to challenge and excite but also enough space and silence to embrace you like a warm hug. It is that Brisbane warmth that radiates and it is a tribute to the healing power of a band like Screamfeeder that we now have something as right on as Tape/Off existing in our town. These songs are very then but still with a potency of now with the dialogue of 1990’s sophisticated guitar rock informing every moment. I still believe that Tape/Off are bigger than there influences and that you can tell that this is a band who seriously respect a lot of different movements of music with the collective sound of the band reflecting that every time they express themselves.

The real joy of this record is the final track “Another Year” which unfolds like a beautiful ode to the graduation all humans make from 29 to 30 and in doing so ceases to give a shit about the world around them. It is a New Year’s Prayer to all the nonsense that frames our existence and that consumes all of the low ego dwellers who like to put their hands in the air like they just don’t care. It is the perfect full stop on what is a fantastic debut album.

In the 2014 and 2015 financial years we’re going to hear a lot of bands claim to be lo-fi slacker independent rock and there are lot of children running around screaming hell fuck yeah and doing their best to be a rock band. The industry will froth and book all sorts of BigSound showcases for the young, the beautiful and the pointless nu-lo-fi guitar rock bands and Triple J will follow suite like the smug slugs that they are. That’s cool and all that but it won’t mean anything if it doesn’t lead people to find bands like Tape/Off who were making interesting guitar music long before this new batch of designed anarchy.

All of those logistics doesn’t really matter because when all is said and done Tape/Off have made the perfect debut album. It is fractured and has that promise that you desire from a band you love. It has managed to deliver but also managed to boycott directions you thought they may have tapped into. It is an album that requires time to digest and it has the warmth of a band that plan to do this for a very long time. After being stained by professional responsibility and having to sit through lesser rock bands this past month it was refreshing to sit through “Chipper” and to hear a band do it right and to deliver a fantastic piece of modern rock music that is a vital edition to the Brisbane underground movement.

Good music is good communication and Tape/Off communicates incredibly well and with “Chipper” they prove just how important they are to stopping the rise of lesser rock bands in this modern climate of brand building.

God bless the fucking lot of them

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Bandcamp For Album Via Sonic Masala – http://sonicmasalarecords.bandcamp.com/album/chipper
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tapeoff
Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/tape-off
Official Website – www.tapeoff.net
Bandcamp – http://tapeoff.bandcamp.com/

Album Review: ‘Do To The Beast’ by The Afghan Whigs

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The Afghan Whigs have always made soul music sound contemporary and revitalised.  From ‘Up In It’, the punk/grunge record, with just a hint of 60′s Motown, to ’1965′, a classic black soul album full of heavy guitars and danceable grooves that could stand alongside classics from Marvin Gaye or The Supremes and not look out of place.  ‘Do To The Beast’ continues that tradition.  This is a modern soul album, wrapped in layers of Twilight Singers atmosphere, with just a hint of their 90′s alternia roots.

The first chords of ‘Do To The Beast’ are a dark, heavy blanket of tortured soul falling across the vapid wasteland of 2014′s disaffected indie pop.  By the time Greg Dulli opens his mouth to wail, rather than sing the first lines of ‘Parked Outside’ – “If time can incinerate what I was to you / Allow me to illustrate how the hand becomes the fuse“, you know two things for certain: Firstly, ‘Do To The Beast’ is not going to sound like any other Afghan Whigs album.  Secondly, this is a record that will have you hooked from start to finish.

First single ‘Algiers’ feels like the soundtrack to the nastiest, most brutally realistic spaghetti western you’ve ever seen, something the band obviously noticed as well, if the video is anything to go by:

While sonically it may be more Twilight Singers than classic Whigs, it’s Dulli through and through.  Every song has a way of reeling you in, whether it be the menacing smoothness of ‘Algiers’, or the fragile stark piano of ‘Lost In The Woods’, before delivering an emotional punch to the guts.  It’s difficult to determine whether ‘The Beast’ in the title is an external entity that Dulli is battling, or whether it’s Dulli himself.  Either way it makes for an enthralling listen.

‘Do To The Beast’ should be your new favourite album.

 

By: Clint Morrow

Useful Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAfghanWhigsOfficial?ref=br_tf
Official Website: www.TheAfghanWhigs.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/theafghanwhigs
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/AfghanWhigsOfficial
Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Afghan_Whigs
All Music Guide: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p3509
Itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-afghan-whigs/id483354
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Afghan-Whigs/e/B000APYKM4
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/theafghanwhigs
LastFM” http://www.last.fm/music/Afghan+Whigs
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/artist/5MZc2eVUWhuJh6L6Eyc0M6?ref=atw
Rdio: http://www.rdio.com/#/artist/The_Afghan_Whigs/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theafghanwhigs
Summer’s Kiss: http://www.summerskiss.com/

ALBUM REVIEW: “Self-Titled” by The Unsemble

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The self-titled debut album from The Unsemble is a beautiful masterpiece full of heavy atmospheres and intricate guitar passages with an overall sound that communicates itself in an incredibly unique manner. For those who aren’t aware, The Unsemble is an instrumental trio that is made up of members from The Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk, Einstürzende Neubaten and the Silver Jews. The main ringleader is legendary guitarist Duane Denison whose spooky guitar playing dominates each track of The Unsemble’s debut.

This album feels like the logical sequel to the haunting sounds found on Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack. In the same way that Badalamenti was able to create strange landscapes with his spaciously smooth jazz sounds so do The Unsemble with their percussion heavy largely improvised songs. Each piece of music presented by The Unsemble is drenched with a cinematic ache that can force your imagination to escape to a state of pure terror or a numb kind of blissed relaxation. The whole experience is beautifully unsettling and as the album unfolds you are drawn deeper and deeper into the horror. It is perfect late night music for the insomniac haunted by the perils of paranoia but also infatuated with the beauty of dazed escapism.

With their debut album The Unsemble have avoided the cliché’s of instrumental music and have released a focused movement of music that will outlive all that is fashionable and modern. This is a timeless set of songs, the kind of treasured record that you’re happy to keep as your own special little secret. This is the kind of record you hope to find buried deep in a record store. There is risk and there is danger to this music but there is also a sophistication that gives the overall mood such a lasting effect. The music of The Unsemble will resonate with you not because it has an agenda but because it was created to be consumed as a piece of art. This is a very special and extremely powerful album that has haunted me ever since it came out. I have attempted to put into words for so long just how important this record is and although I can lean on all the typical metaphors I think the simplest way to describe it is the age old explanation of “The Unsemble’s self-titled album is achingly beautiful” because it honestly communicates how I feel.

You may have to look harder to find a band like The Unsemble under all the noise and hype given to all of the “style over substance” music being written about but that is a good thing I reckon because when you lose hope in music a band like The Unsemble have the power to restore it and make you fall in love with the power of sound all over again.

By: Dan Newton

 

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Useful Links:

http://ipecac.com/artists/unsemble