EP REVIEW: “Eventide” by Magenta Voyeur

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It is so refreshing to hear a modern prog / psychedelic rock band embrace some of the more unpopular and less sexy aesthetics of the genre. To hear a band utilise keyboards, synths, organs and the extended guitar solo – and I’m talking proper noodling and fretboard gymnastics – the way they are meant to in a prog setting is beyond glorious and that is what sets Magenta Voyeur apart from their peers. They lean on the prog genres rule book but in doing so re-invent it in their own vision sprinkling it with a modern pulse that makes it musically diverse. This is a band who could appeal to the metal fan, the indie rock fiend, the boring post rock guy, the rocker, the modern Kevin Parker wannabe and anyone else who appreciates interesting music. It’s a no brainer that pop music appeals to everyone but Magenta Voyeur are in a way, more appealing because they make sounds that can connect with so many different kinds of music listeners and that is a power that they wield with a quiet confidence.

A lot of the times when these “we put all of these genres in a blender to be different” bands are sent to me they never work because they never wrestle or refine all of those influences into one direct piece of communication. On their debut EP “Eventide” Magenta Voyeur succeed in being a genre magic bullet blender and it is fucking exciting to go on the journey they have prepared for us. The music is weird, disciplined and adventurous all the while maintaining progressive song structures that never overstay their welcome. This is a band who have mastered writing music that is long but with every minute being vital to the songs overall communication. To be this direct yet still remain progressive and psychedelic illustrates the insanely high collective intelligence of the group. To avoid nostalgia whilst paying tribute to their influences is also a big plus because it allows the music to remain sincere. It personally to my ears doesn’t sound like anyone else and is utterly unique. Everything I love about music is contained in this EP and it is a glorious experience to re-live over and over again.

I like music that is fearless and progressive and futuristic – in 2015 one of the bands who manage to submit to all three of these criteria’s is Magenta Voyeur and with time they will quietly manage to take over the world.

9 Cassette Tapes Out of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/magentavoyeur
Bandcamp – http://magentavoyeur.bandcamp.com/

ALBUM REVIEW: “The Haze” by We All Want To

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It’s long been a thing that Brisbane music is linked directly to its cleverly “council approved” slogan of the sunshine state. Every critic both here and abroad has made the bold assumption that everyone that lives here and creates music is in someway a fan of all things sun, summer and sunshine. I’ve always felt like calling bullshit on this because quite frankly the most beautiful part of Brisbane and its atmosphere is between June and August when winter is at full bloom. There is indeed a different kind of sunshine in the sky and the days feel like they have purpose and longevity. You want to be outside in the fresh icy breeze falling in love, collecting new friends all while dining at the sidewalk café where you get your favourite cup of coffee and butter pecan ice-cream cone. I always have the best time in Winter and get so much living done as opposed to the summer when all I want to do is avoid the fucking beach, any local patriotic Australian human being, people in board shorts and thongs, BBQ’s and the tradition of just being a good bloke who likes a cold beer or two. I hate that version of Brisbane and refuse to buy into the summer pop myth and that Brisbane is at its best when we’re reminded that we live in the hottest fucking place on earth, fuck that – give me an air conditioned nightmare any day of the week.

All of that is a rather verbose way for me to correct the assumption that people make about We All Want To and their music. I’ve been a life long fan of the pop music made by Tim Steward and although his voice and extremely right on way of colliding chords on a guitar always make me think of Brisbane, it isn’t the sun, heat or the beach that comes rushing to me. It is all of the amazingly mindless good times I’ve had during a Brisbane winter. All of the hit and run romances, backyard parties huddled around a fire, live music, living in Paddington (when all of the hip cool art humans lived there) and strong human connections I’ve made. That has always been one of We All Want To’s many strong points, the way they could remind me of all that is glorious about breathing oxygen in this location.

On the bands third record “The Haze” We All Want To continue to do that and more. After the emotionally rich “Come Up Invisible” the next step was to always get more economical with the arrangements. It took me a lot of listening for “The Haze” to truly click and it is an ode to the strong songwriting of Steward that it finally settled in and found a place in my heart. There is a lot of looking back on the past lyrically with both wisdom and relief but also with hints of despair and a deep yearning to escape back to the freedom of youthful exploration.  This kind of ache suits my current state of mind where I seem to be both mourning and celebrating the dirge of getting older. The production is once again supremely divine with full marks and all credit going to the dark horse Darek Mudge who proves that he is the only producer / engineer in Brisbane truly capable of making a bands music soar to places it wouldn’t have been able to if it had been captured by anyone else. He truly is the secret weapon to the effective communication of all that is great about We All Want To and their sound.

The “Come Up Invisible” experience was such an intense one that it was always going to be a hard task to follow it up but if anything “The Haze” supersedes it by reigning in its strengths and amplifying those dynamics into shorter more concise movements of music. It is simply just a great rock record that has the ability to soundtrack the isolated moment of reflection or the rapturous moment of celebration with all of the humans at the party. The record is typically Brisbane in all the good ways and as time goes on there is every chance that a new generation of humans will worship We All Want To the way they did The Go Betweens.

It may be called and touted as the perfect “summer record” by all of the other music review critic humans but for me “The Haze” is the album you listen to when you get the tracksuit out and put the flannel sheets on the bed ready for the snug as a fucking bug comfort that is the winter morning sleep in.

8 Cassette Tapes Out Of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/weallwantto
Website – www.weallwantto.com
Bandcamp – https://weallwantto.bandcamp.com/album/the-haze

 

SINGLE REVIEW: “Short Term Plan” by Michelle Xen

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Michelle Xen is the future of music. A bold and vicious claim I know but in the modern context of evolutionary artists Xen has a million kinds of light and its the kind of light that pop music needs circa 2015. Although you can settle on calling her music “electro pop” I firmly believe it goes so much deeper than that. There is way too much ache in her sound to simply limit it to a “happening now” genre tag. Her music is more traditionally linked to the forward nature of psychedelic rock or experimental noise than just straight pop music. I’d even go as far to compare her ever changing visual and sonic aesthetics with the kind of genius that Bowie executed during the 70’s. The reason why she shares a strong link with Bowie is because for all the glitz, glamour and bubble-gum pop music that frames her sound, Xen is drawing from higher forms of self expression to craft her music. I would argue that it takes a true visionary and student of art to be able to immerse themselves in the more extreme forms of artistic self expression and to come back to deliver us a pop music dialogue as a direct result of its influence. This is what Bowie did and Michelle Xen is high art pop music for those of us who aim and desire to communicate our self expression with a clear and direct intent.

With her new single “Short Term Plan” we see Michelle birth a harsher more extreme rush of beats and electronic sizzle which automatically gives the song a forward motion into 21st Century digital angst. Lyrically the song bounces between the anger, joy, confusion and pressure of modern love. I can imagine that this is the kind of song that was written after Xen found herself once again misunderstood in some kind of romantic relationship. As is my habit, if I am to read into the lyrics I hear the yearning for understanding, from anyone and everyone. It feels like Xen has suffered for her art and because she is such a strong visionary, the modern love story cliché is hard to live because being cursed with the overthinking gene and creative streak pushes you to have the kind of restless nature that needs to constantly explore and expand the possibilities of breathing oxygen. To be limited to the dream of “settling down” sounds like it is a claustrophobic idea to Xen hence the black comedy of her Short Term Plan / Long Term Plan refrain throughout the track. Perhaps I’m right or perhaps I’m way off course, either way that is what I get from the song and it really fucking speaks to that part of me that hurts and that mourns just how many relationships I’ve ruined through the pursuit of art, so in short – perfect pop music.

Whether Michelle Xen remains an underground art hero or ends up becoming a mainstream art warrior fighting for a bit more meaning and depth in this world is up to the fickle and fucked up rhythm of the music industry. If I had all the money in the world I’d pay something or someone to make this happen because her vital communications need to be witnessed by the greater universe. I pray to the greater higher self everyday that we finally get Michelle Xen to break on through and as long as this blog is functioning, I’ll be doing my best to spread the goodness that is her music.

10 Cassette tapes out of 10

By: Dan Newton

 

Watch the video for Short Term Plan here

 

 

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/michellexen
Website – www.michellexen.tv
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/user/michellexen

TUESDAY EDITORIAL – the evolution of HEAVY AND WEIRD

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When I started Heavy and Weird my aim was to essentially just get more involved with the local music scene I loved so much. I never had any goals to go larger or be of any significance to those around me. I just wanted to write about music and in the process give people a glimpse of all that is wonderful about the local scenes of not just Australia but the world. Somewhere along the way people started taking me seriously and actually cared about what I thought and the overwhelming amount of music sent to me for review purposes is both humbling and a little scary. It made sense for me to balance my life as a music critic with my life as an artist because to me it is all the same thing and instead of making excuses for one over the other, I figured I’d just let the planets collide and do both at once.

So, after spending the past decade being an underground music world champion I have finally jumped from artist to entrepreneur and I’m proud to announce the launch of my record label “HEAVY AND WEIRD RECORDS” – I made a decision to expand the Heavy and Weird universe to go just beyond being another music blog.

I’ve long been a fan of artists who no one cares about, the kind of artist who doesn’t care about the pulse of what is popular and what will make money or get played on the radio. Considering the music industry has ceased to invest in forward thinking artists I wanted to do what I could in my corner of the world to collect and release the music I believe is helping to progress and advance the very idea of what music is and should be. A lot of the artists we’ll start working with are Brisbane based but I’m not seeing Heavy and Weird Records as a “Brisbane Thing” because that is way too limiting for me. I want to give a voice and do what I can from a business point for artists all over the world.

Although a lot of our artists would be deemed as experimental and within the avant garde terrain, the aim with Heavy and Weird Records is not to limit ourselves to simply one niche sound or idea. The purpose of our journey is to simply release the music that people don’t care about and to champion the kind of artist who understands what it truly means to be a counter-culture within the current landscape.

The 2015 release schedule will include the fourth album from Death Pop pioneers Galapogos aka my band, the second full length album from noise pop rock humans Thirteen Seventy, “Bitter Dream”, full length albums from Avant Garde Percussionists Macca Dickorice and Chip McNeily and their band Chip and Macca play The Hits, full length albums from metal band Beach Massacre Circa 1885, the debut Australian release of Italian Noise Composer Giovanni Zorzan’s latest opus “David In The Echo Machine”, the debut Australian release of Thomas Pang’s long out of print avant-garde masterpiece “Food We Ate Indoors” along with his much anticipated follow up “Is This Wine Vintage” which has been in the works for the past eleven years, two albums from improvisational vocal group Conversations We Ate For Breakfast, the debut album from drone artist Silk Shivers as well as my debut solo record.

In addition to acting as a music review blog and now a record label Heavy and Weird has also undertaken a once a month community event at the Brisbane Square Library. THE HEAVY AND WEIRD MONTHLY RECORD CLUB is a monthly meet up curated by me and is designed to discuss the diverse world of music. Each month will see an in-depth analysis and discussion on various artists/music scenes that have made an impact on the cultural lexicon as well as a series of very special live Q&A’s with some of Australia’s best musical minds along with some very exclusive performances.

The Library events are an extension of my desire to educate people about the many different secret histories that exist within the music world. It’s the perfect way for the community to engage with artists and scenes that may not have a mainstream voice and to also illustrate just how important it is to value and respect all facets of the music industry.

To discover more please visit – https://www.facebook.com/HeavyAndWeird

Big Love

Dan Newton xo

Heavy and Weird Blog

Heavy and Weird Blog – https://heavyandwierd.wordpress.com/

To have your music reviewed by Heavy and Weird’s music blog please send all associated press releases to heavyandweirdblog@gmail.com

If you make noise then we’re happy to listen and write words about said noise, we have no genre preference. We can’t promise we’ll make you famous, but we’ll vomit all kinds of honesty and passion into a blog about what it is you create.

Head Jerk Off / writer / editor = Dan Newton
Writers = Clint Morrow and Roger Killjoy
Occasional Writing and Photos = Thomas Oliver

Useful Contacts:

Blog – https://heavyandwierd.wordpress.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/HeavyWeirdBlog
Email – heavyandweirdblog@gmail.com

Heavy and Weird Records

Artist Roster

1. Galapogos – www.facebook.com/galapogosbrisbane
2. Thirteen Seventy –
3. Chip and Macca Play The Hits – https://www.facebook.com/thirteenseventy
4. Beach Massacre Circa 1885
5. Giovanni Zorzan
6. Thomas Pang
7. Conversations We Ate For Breakfast
8. Silk Shivers
9. Daniel James Newton – https://www.facebook.com/shitonthecarpet

To enquire about or book any of the above artists please email heavyandweirdrecords@gmail.com

If you are interested in having your music released by Heavy and Weird Records then please just email us and we’ll see what we can do

THE HEAVY AND WEIRD MONTHLY RECORD CLUB

Every second Friday of the month at the Brisbane Square Library – if you’re interested to find out more please email heavyandweirdblog@gmail.com

SINGLE REVIEW: “Electrical” by EVES THE BEHAVIOR

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The brand new single from Eves The Behavior is called “Electrical” and it is classic pop music no matter what decade you are in. As an artist, Hannah – the human behind the moniker – has always showed a great ability to be direct with her writing. To use the everyday language that we may find trivial in order to explain the deeper thoughts and more complicated emotions funding the melodic twists and turns. Anyone whose been following this blog for the past few years will know that I’ve been an early champion of Hannah and the music she has been creating. Over time I’ve seen her go form spacious Mazzy Star experiments to the forever evolving world of electro-pop. No matter the vehicle, the music has always had depth and the kind of ache that keeps me coming back for more.

There is a storyteller tradition to the way Hannah communicates musically and within that there is a deep mysterious swirl of despair and disconnection that you can feel, as if the author has never felt comfortable in her own skin or the different environments she has had to navigate. It is a similar story for anyone navigating the ancient path of youth warfare but in the digital age there carries a unique sense of separation if you are one of the rare few who have been christened as an old soul. The songs Hannah writes are able to universally connect whilst still visually being covered in question marks. It’s hard to understand if these tales of loss and heartbreak are just good stories courtesy of her own observation of the world or if these are deep personal scars buried deep beneath the thousand yard melodic stare. Either way it is a thrill as a listener because it is those questions and that heavy mysterious sound that has you begging for more.

With the kind of smart artful way in which Hannah has evolved her Eves The Behavior project it leaves you wondering just where she will take it. A song like “Electrical” is merely acting as an advertisement to her restless nature and desire for the rush of being the chameleon she has chosen to be. In the pop world that will always yield sonically delicious results putting Eves The Behavior in that elite territory where not only will she learn how to break the rules, she’ll invent a few of her own along the way.

9 Cassette Tapes Out of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/evesthebehavior
Website = http://www.evesthebehavior.com/

 

SINGLE REVIEW: “Stallin'” by Airling

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Airling is one of the most talented humans making music in the world at the moment. Her releases thus far have all been flawless pieces of pop music soaked in a wide array of moody sub-genres. There are smart bubble-gum hooks as well as sonic experimentations which gives her music a nice even balance of danceability and slow sinking chilled reflection.  I was particularly a big fan of her 2014 EP release “Love Gracefully” which was one of those go to movements of music whenever I wanted a series of sounds to help me get into a creative headspace in order to write melodies and lyrics for my own band Galapogos. There is just that incredible floaty feeling that is unlocked whenever I hear Hannah’s voice and musical arrangements. It has the power to heal but is mystical in the way that it can allow you to just fucking sink into your own heartbreak memories in order to find the right words or melodic structure for your own creative muse.

The information about what her new single “Stallin'” is leading to is vague but I sure hope it’s a full length album. The world needs a full length album from Airling in 2015. As a song “Stallin'” showcases a deeper ode to R&B without sacrificing those wonderful moody soundscapes. Depending on your reason for listening you’re either going to use this to soundtrack your latest heartbreak, brand new crush or just a hell of a good time late on a Friday night. The songwriting is once again flawless, smart and futuristic with nostalgia stained lyrics. This is some truly “love long distance” type drama and it is unbelievable infectious.

It’s an important turning point for Airling because I think she has proved once again why she is poised to take over the music world in the next 12 months.

10 Cassette Tapes Out of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links = https://www.facebook.com/Airling
Website = http://airling.net

Listen and Purchase the single via Bandcamp – https://airlingx.bandcamp.com/track/stallin-single-2015

SINGLE REVIEW: “I For An Eye” by WAAX

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The brand new WAXX single is a song called “I For an Eye” and it is no nonsense pop music framed by the forever evolving rush of punk rock. On the surface it explodes with enthusiasm and enough forward motion to inspire equally the dance floor or the moshpit. Instrumentally, each player here is supremely disciplined considering the loose nature of the genre’s the band is leaning on. This shows a commitment to craft and composition as opposed to pure rock n roll anarchy allowing for the subtle dynamics of the song to be revealed with multiple listens. This kind of smart simplicity will give WAXX an edge over their peers because they are willing to go for the big art payoff as opposed to just being another party rock band.

The true joy of this song comes from the vocal performance of lead singer Marie DeVita who sings with vulnerability and full force aggression whilst never sacrificing the importance of a good hook. Underneath the clever wordplay and playful melody is a human being who has gone to a truly deep place to unlock some divine pain in order to give “I For an Eye” purpose. Most surface level listeners will connect this song to being about the corrosion of an important relationship and that certainly jumps out as being one of the many reasons why this song is so covered in hurt.

Personally I feel like it goes a bit deeper than that and all you really need to do is focus on the aggressive delivery and you’ll hear that DeVita is musing on more than just human relationships, she is mourning just how fucking boring and hurtful planet earth can be. There is a plea inside her explosive cries that indicate that artistic self-expression is her only resort for pushing out just how emotionally violent modern life has become. Within that plea there is also a deep sigh wishing for some kind of escapism. Don’t be fooled by the good time vibe, this is a song about the true nature of pain and about how being dragged down by the weight of existence can be a really fucking dull blade to the desire for that better place.

All in all, DeVita’s vibrant performance has peppering’s of defeat and disappointment scattered amongst the sticky hooks. Through her vocal performance we can glimpse the struggle and the disappointment she has been gifted and that instead of going for the full angst payoff she has illustrated an art school level of beauty and grace to ensure that her pain is both the open wound and the healed scar. It’s an exciting thing to preview and something I can’t wait to hear explored on a full length album.

There are a lot of good rock bands coming out of Brisbane at the moment and WAXX may just be one of the best.

8 Cassette Tapes Out of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/WAAXBAND
Bandcamp = http://waax.bandcamp.com/
Triple J Unearthed = http://tinyurl.com/kuhbmqa
Soundcloud = https://soundcloud.com/waaxband/
Twitter = https://twitter.com/waaxband
Instagram = @waax_band