EP REVIEW: Absence by Alanna Eileen

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The music of Alanna Eileen has been the soundtrack to my life recently and like all good detours in romantic obsession I have been suffocated by the beauty being illustrated. This is music designed for those that hurt and ache in order for love to shine some light into there life. I’d go as far to say that this is music shaped by the very disappointment of true love never really knowing how to connect itself to your existence. Within each instrumental passage and melodic hook of these songs there is a yearning for a deep escape and a warm embrace. As an EP it flows together like magic and engulfs your entire environment, there is no escape from the atmosphere or mood of each track. Like a spooky hypnotist, Alanna Eileen weaves in and out of your senses whispering her heartache into your soul and graciously leaving you paralysed by shivers.

There is something so still about this music, it erupts with the smoothness of the cool rush of winter rain. The thrill of these songs lays in the way they fire up your own imagination. Lyrically each song has an intense poetic punch that helps draw pictures in your own mind of the kind of escapism that will allow you to transport away from your own daily dilemma. I found myself blacking out all the windows and just laying on the floor of my bedroom and playing this EP on repeat. It helped me remember and forget all of the love I’ve lost throughout the years but it also made me yearn for someone new to come and blow my world apart. That is the petition I put to all new music – just make me yearn deep and I’ll always be a fan of the art you create.

This EP is more than a movement of music to me – it is an obsession. I am consumed by its beauty and grace but the fragility of it all is what soaks me everytime I listen to it. At any moment these songs could fall apart, no doubt like the writer of the songs, from all of the hurt that is sailing in and out of whatever muse gives Alanna Eileen a reason to make the beautiful art that she does.

Music this deep and intense has a habit of being ignored and overlooked by people which always makes me sad. I think that Alanna Eileen will be a star and with time will be everyone’s best kept secret. I am in love with her music and I yearn for more of it because she has that ache that I love to hear in all the music I listen to. The true revolution in 2015 will be the discovery of artists like Alanna Eileen who make art for arts sake and in the process save lives.

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alannaeileenmusic
Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/alanna-eileen
Official Website – http://alannaeileen.com/
Bandcamp – http://alanna-eileen.bandcamp.com

DANIEL JAMES NEWTON’S TOP ELEVEN ALBUMS OF 2014

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Although I have previously posted a rather buggery filled list of music that impressed me in 2014, I thought it was time for me to share a more personal list of music that touched me in 2014. There was a lot of great music released in 2014 from both new and established artists. I initially made a list in early December 2014 of my favourite eleven albums and upon reflection I’m still confident that they are the best eleven albums of 2014. After much consideration I want to present to you my top 11 albums of 2014:

1. Once More ‘Round The Sun by Mastodon

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Words will never do this band justice – it is a simple as this for me, they are the coolest band of the past decade. Everyone else pretends to evolve the idea of rock music but only one band to me has truly done it and that band is Mastodon. With “Once More ‘Round The Sun” Mastodon illustrated that they are still the only group of artists in the modern era successfully taking the idea of the riff into bold new places. Whenever I lose hope in humanity I put on a Mastodon record and remember that there is still good air to breathe.


2. Bloodstone and Diamonds by Machine Head

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There are some bands that come into your life and change your whole world. They get ingrained in your DNA and shape every inch of your personality, giving you the space to grow and evolve with a feverish desire for life. Their music becomes more than a hobby or simple entertainment, it becomes religious with each new album like a Gospel. A lot of these bands are rooted in your youth and even as you get older, you still have the space to inherit sonic and emotional revolution. One band who is deeply ingrained in my DNA is Machine Head and it is a journey that began in late December 1997 when I was just 14 years old.

For the past 17 years of my life Machine Head have been a constant. Regardless of what I’m listening to or what new movement of sound I’m freaking out on Machine Head remain with me, with my love for the band continuing to grow as each year passes. They sounded just as vital in 2014 as they did to me in 1997 and I am serious when I say that I owe my life to them.

In 2014 the band released their eighth and quite possibly greatest album “Bloodstone and Diamonds.” Machine Head may just be a “metal” band to the snobs but fuck them I say, there is a purity and intense amount of art that goes into the music they make. Further to this point, I don’t think I’ve encountered a band, either metal or non-metal, who matches the amount of honesty and emotion that they summons. They are indeed blessed with a special gift and I believe that any well-adjusted appreciator of music needs to invest in the wonderful sound that Machine Head makes.

That kind of special power that they wield is all over “Bloodstone and Diamonds” is one of the most positive things existing in this world at the moment and I know that I’m not the only one who has been saved by what they have created with this album. As a human being I want to provide nothing but love and light to the world but I understand all too well how light and dark need each other to survive. I am never going to be foolish enough to only focus on the light and the artists who only speak of the light side of life because in all honesty to find true redemption you must go deep into the darkness that fills you and the world, that is the only way to rise and be a beacon of hope and light. So once again thank you Machine Head for all you did for me growing up and for giving me the power to survive in.  I owe you my life and an extra cheers to Robb Flynn for helping me become the man that I am today. I can’t wait for the future and all the wonderful music that Machine Head will go on to make from here.


3. .5: The Gray Chapter by Slipknot

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Once upon a time about seven years ago I had a friend whose name was Emily. We were very close and I adored her, mainly because she laughed at all my jokes and told me all her secrets. There are a lot of pointless folk music artists in my collection as a result of that friendship, mainly because I was trying to appear as well adjusted and sensitive but you know there is only so much fucking “IRON AND WINE” and “BON IVER” you can listen to before you require something with a bit more substance. Anyway, the point of this story is that on one of our magical adventures together we were discussing the whole “what albums are you currently addicted to” bullshit that comes with a boy / girl friendship. As I thought we had reached a point of comfort I raved to her about how the brand new SLIPKNOT album “All Hope Is Gone” was all I found myself listening to and how much I had loved them since 1999. My passion for that album and the band as a whole kind of overtook me and I just went full on about the intricacies as to why they are one of the most important bands to ever exist. After I pulled out of my passionate speech I fixated on Emily’s face and it had this rather concern yet disgusted look on it. She looked almost ashamed to be sitting there with me and uttered a sentence that has stayed with me and that sentence is as follows – “But Dan, isn’t it rather childish to still like something as juvenile as Slipknot, maybe it is time to grow up.” This was then bookended with her launching into a session of pity laughter like she almost felt sorry for me, like I needed some kind of guidance on her behalf for being a fan of Slipknot.

That was seven years ago, I’m no longer friends with Emily and this story helps illustrate why a band like SLIPKNOT is so important to not just me but a lot of other people. In short, the brand new SLIPKNOT album is a masterpiece that annihilates anyone and everything.

4. Self-Titled by Ryan Adams

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If Ryan Adams career had occurred in the 1960’s or 1970’s he would have been a household name and an absolute superstar. Unfortunately we don’t live in an era where humans respect art or good songwriting anymore. People are happy to continue to disrespect art by stealing it and because of that humans like Ryan Adams are pushed to the sidelines and great records like the one he released in 2014 go largely unnoticed. This is a record that just blew me away and renewed my faith in songwriting once again. Just a solid set of songs with incredible melodies that showcase that Ryan is at his best when he is nursing a broken heart.


5. The Best Day by Thurston Moore

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Another solid movement of noise meditations that are saturated in heartbreak and youthful optimism and proof that growing old doesn’t mean getting less radical.


6. Tied To A Star by J Mascis

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I honestly believe that it is impossible for J Mascis to release a bad record or write a bad song – this album is further proof that he is flawless


7. Self-Titled by +++ (Crosses)

 

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When you’re looking at life through innocent eyes it seems love and desire are quite simple, but sometimes she wounds and it’s so very smooth. That is when an album like +++ (Crosses) self-titled debut album sounds best, when you are wounded yet optimistic. This is the kind of album that fires up your romantic imagination making you feel like that somewhere out there she waits and that 84 will be worth living for.


8. Down IV – EP Two by Down

 

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It always bothers me when I read some clickbait bullshit article on any online music website about the “death of rock n roll” in 2014. I raged quite loudly when that clean cut neat fuckwit Artic Monkey’s singer gave his big speech about “bringing back rock n roll” and all that earlier this year. The reason it annoys me so much is because I hate to break it to all of you, but the real enemy of rock n roll is the ignorant music listener who is too much of a fucking idiot to look a bit deeper. Considering we live in the age of the internet I would have assumed that finding new music for people would have been so much easier but apparently somehow all the good “rock music” just magically disappeared. There is an ample amount of good rock music being made on both a mainstream and underground level and it isn’t hard to find. In fact in 2014 a lot of my listening has been dominated by amazing rock records and the brand new DOWN release – DOWN IV EP 2 – is at the top of that list. The recent release strategy from DOWN of releasing four separate EP’s is paying off dividends and has seen them put out some of their strongest material to date. On EP 2 we see DOWN continue down the path started on EP 1 but it feels like there is a bit more of a progressive feel to these songs and a total ode to all that is glorious about Doom Metal. Only a band like DOWN could re-invent, re-interpret and total throw the Sabbath sound into the future – as displayed so beautifully on the EP’s fourth track “Conjure” – and still make it sound so effortless. In 2014 DOWN are leading the pack in terms of what modern rock n roll is and unlike those clean cut neat folk in Artic Monkeys they don’t give a fuck what decade it is – DOWN are rock n roll lifers who will continue to create long after the modern trends have dried up and fizzled out.

9. Indie Cindy by Pixies

 

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On “Indie Cindy” The Pixies are releasing music for music’s sake and that joy beams off of each track. Whether they lose or gain fans is irrelevant because they have already done so much to infect the DNA of independent rock music and shape it for the better. I have to be honest and say that when I’m in the mood for Pixies music these days I put on this record because it gives so much more than the previous discography and picks up where the band left us. The songs on “Indie Cindy” are new classics waiting to happen and with hindsight I truly believe that humans will salute the brilliance of this album. I cannot fault it personally and even with the Kim Deal sized hole in some sections it never becomes boring or lacking. Having Kim’s influence on some of this music would have indeed taken it beyond the stratosphere but at the same time the songs do not suffer as a result and I personally yearn for what Kim does with The Breeders moving forward. In 2014 it is nice to have one of the innovators of guitar rock return with something fresh, exciting and futuristic that serves the legacy and gives us a glimpse at what is to come.


10. Self-Titled by EYEHATEGOD

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The woman who marries me will love me deeply because of my appreciation for the deep intense heavy sludge blues of a band like EYEHATEGOD and will share in the sheer joy that their dirge provides. This album was a welcomed return from the pioneers of all things sludge and doom.


11. Phantom Radio by Mark Lanegan Band

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Another set of dusty electronica from another human being who is incapable of releasing a bad album – a wonderful late night treat for those who remain haunted by catholic school girls.

 

Here are a bunch of records that also rocked my world in 2014:

WarPaint U2 TrailOfDead TheWarOnDrugs TheUnsemble Soundgarden SmashingPumpkins PinkFloyd Opeth NeilYoung2 NeilYoung1 Amaya Antemasque Beck BrantBjork COC Coldplay DamonAlbarn DevilYouKnow EMA FooFighters JackWhite JeffTweedy JohnGarcia KarenO KillerBeKilled KingBuzzo LanaDelRey Melvins NeilFinn

 

By: Dan Newton

 

CHRISTIAN TWIGGY CARTER’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2014

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Well another year has passed us by, the hangovers have worn off and the resolutions are just starting to lose the wind in their sails which means it’s a time for reflection, a time to look back on 2014 and all it had to offer, a time to wax intellectual about music! What struck me about last year was the amount of the quality of domestic releases, almost my entire list is made up of bands from Australia and NZ. 2014 was certainly full of obsessions for me, here’s 10 of them…

10. Dear Plastic – The Thieves Are Babes

I was privileged enough to play a show at the The Espy on the Basement stage earlier this year. The line-up was quite a melting pot of different genre’s, I was riding the high of playing my first interstate show when Dear Plastic walked onto the stage. They were quick to grab my attention as the gear nerd inside me let out a little yelp of glee seeing their analog synth set up and for the next 45 minutes I sat still, covered in goosebumps as I let the music wash over me. The Thieves Are Babes is Dear Plastics first full length release and after my experience at The Espy I was eager to get my hands on this record. When I listen to Dear Plastic I hear a band who know how to combine their influences (Portishead, Bjork and Milla Jovovich) without simply rehashing. There are enough similarities to lull you into a familiar vibe but the music never sounds rehashed. The first single from the record “Epic Delay” is the perfect example of this with singer Scarlette Baccini delivering a powerful Bjork-esque performance with a subtle uplifting drive from the rest of the band. This is the sort of record you disappear into like the safety and wonder of a long lost family member.

9. Jakob – Sines

It’s no secret to anyone that I am a massive Jakob fan – as a band they’ve always managed to keep the balance of raw energy and whimsical post-rock ambience absolutely perfect and their new album Sines is no different. It’s been 8 years since the release of their previous masterpiece Solace and I must admit I was a little sceptical. This was of course before hearing the first track Blind Them With Science. This is a record that demands the attention of the listener. Within the first few minutes I knew that I wasn’t listening to a band attempting to grab at former glory, but instead the band was chasing a new direction and a stronger vision. Sines is 44 minutes of pure post-rock bliss instilled with a potency and maturity that you just can’t fake. I can’t help but feel the band had let this record gestate in the very core of their hearts until it demanded to be let loose on the world.

8. Crosses – Crosses

Time for something a little more upbeat. I must admit I was somewhat oblivious to the existence of this band, a collaboration of Chino Moreno (Deftones), Shaun Lopez (Far) and Chuck Doom and I was very sceptical as is the case with many collaborative side projects that I come across. What I didn’t expect (though had hoped for) was a driving synth-pop record that left me feeling that this was a labour of love, another record that “just had to be released”. The record opens with This is a Trick an almost modern hip-hop track with just the right amount of Depeche mode to add a sickness and angst which continues throughout the record. I couldn’t help but reach for this album whenever I got in the car, whenever I was relaxing with friends or just needed to listen to something a little more relaxed and chill but with substance. From the driving, doomy Bitches Brew to the more ambient (somewhat NIN-esque) Cross, the record warps and twists from lighter pop tunes to the firey angst we know and love from bands like Deftones. This was an album I just couldn’t put down.

7. The Occupants – Singles Collection

Alright I’m aware this wasn’t exactly an album or even just a 2014 release but the music is so perfect I couldn’t leave it out of this list! The Occupants is the brainchild of Flynn and Luke Gower of Cog pedigree, who have slowly been releasing material one song at a time since the release of their debut single I’ve Been Thinking. Since then I’ve been waiting eagerly for the next snippet of information or music along with the rest of the Australian music scene. Each song is a constant progression, allowing you to feel like you’re watching the band evolve right before your eyes (or ears). For those that were hoping for just another Cog record you won’t be disappointed by any stretch but this is still a new, synth infused direction for the Gower boys. Each track is a journey in itself, the production is incredible, the level of musicianship is incredible and the song’s are just unbelievable. Even the longer tracks Hindsight and Wonderland don’t ever feel like they’re dragging, if anything you become so lost in the groove and poetry that you’re surpised that it was only 9 minutes!

6. I Am Duckeye – Commando Too

Ok so I’m very biased when it comes to I Am Duckeye. There aren’t many bands around these days that are able to write music about punching people in the dick, new and wonderful ways to masturbate, rehab and hi viz clothing whilst still sounding like a badass punk rock band. Commando Too is just Duckeye doing what Duckeye do best, which is be themselves. The whole album is testament to the bands inability to take just about anything too seriously while still making you want to headbang like a 13 year old who just discovered how to jerk off. I was lucky enough to play some shows with the boys last year and can only describe it as my bassist Karl did; “that was the best anti-depressant ever.” The lyrics are completely absurd, the riffs are heavy, what more can I say?? Buy it, you just have to experience Duckeye for yourself!

5. HTRK – Psychic 9-5 Club

HTRK are a band that took me quite some time to understand and enjoy but once that switch clicked over in my head I was head over heels in love. Jonnine Standish provides a gentle voice to the brooding synth creature that is HTRK. This is the sort of record I always found myself listening to when insomnia had taken hold of my mind. The album is both soothing and despondent, the perfect soundtrack for 3am. Every song seems to draw out and exorcise an emotion that you had almost forgotten existed, leaving you feeling liberated and at peace. It’s very hard to describe Pyschic 9-5 Club but fans of Massive Attack will definitely feel an affinity with the duo and I’m a firm believer that just like any psychedelic, set and setting plays an important part in the entire experience. I’d never describe them as music to help you sleep but the music of HTRK certainly seemed to help me wind down in a somewhat controlled way, lulling you into somewhat of a trance. This is particularly true in tracks Chinatown Style and Soul Sleep. Pscyhic 9-5 Club is another step deeper into the subtle emotions I think we all try and hide away, it’s cathartic and verging on therapeutic and it gives you room to breathe and process everything as it begins to surface and wash over you.

4. Shihad – FVEY

It’s been a while since I listened to Shihad however I was insanely eager to hear this record after hearing Killing Joke vocalist Jaz Coleman would be taking the reins as producer. The opening track Think You’re So Free sums up the entire record, Shihad are fucking back and they’re taking no prisoners! You can’t help but get caught up in the almost tribal vibe that’s prevalent throughout the entire album, the message is powerful, the riffs are powerful the whole thing is high energy, no bullshit. Title track FVEY is another perfect example of the bands ability to almost hypnotise the listener with an infectious groove that sounds like the love child of Sepultura’s – Roots Bloody Roots and Led Zeppelin’s – Immigrants Song. Lyrically the album is highly political, demanding your attention without ever feeling in the slightest bit preachy, a rarity these days. The band seem to have a very intense and very clear mission statement with this record, they’ve found the riff, they know what they want to say and they’re not going to fuck around tip-toeing around anything. Fans of the band (including myself) will always remember 1999’s The General Electric as the gold standard in Shihad’s discography, there was something about the 99′ release that just felt right and this is no different. Though FVEY is a much heavier, riff based record, the band are still able to capture the feeling of a raw live rock band, their trademark sound. Tracks like Song For No One and The Reason Why make you realise why you loved this band in the first place. Radio friendly, hard rock songs that are still able to tug at your heart strings and allow you to let go. I could spend forever talking about this record, there’s no meandering tracks that leave you feel like the band was “trying to make a hit” every single song IS a hit. FVEY is like a shotgun blast, you better be ready for it.

3. Behemoth – The Satanist

Behemoth are a band that I’ve loved since high school, I still have fond memories of blasting their music through my headphones on those particularly strong teen angst days and in my opinion, they are one of the most aptly named metal bands in the world. They sound like one big fucking Behemoth! Extreme metal and I have had a bit of time apart over the past few years, we’ve remained friends but nothing really seemed to rekindle that fire I once had… that is until I heard The Satanist. It’s been 5 years since the release of Evangelion with frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski battling Leukemia but this didn’t stop the band from releasing what is in my opinion one of the best extreme metal releases of the decade and certainly the best metal release for 2014. When listening to The Satanist the immediate impression is that the band are doing exactly what they’ve wanted to do for their entire 23 year career. This is the bands greatest work to date, this is their opus. The Satanist is a perfect fusion of extreme thrash/death metal with only the best cuts of black metal thrown in. Every part of this record seems painstakingly pieced together, from the opening riff of Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel to the epic almost orchestral ending of O Father O Satan O Sun! , every twist and turn, every riff is perfectly crafted. Behemoth have always been known for their artillery like wall of sound and this is no different but what I found the most interesting and the most striking was the melody carefully woven between the moments of pure chaotic onslaught. Tracks 5 (Amen) and 6 (The Satanist) are the perfect example of this; Amen is easily the most brutally heavy track on the record and is followed up by the more traditionally metal title track, Nergal’s almost singing vocals (a first for the band) cry out from a slow bass driven groove and choir like synths giving the listener some recovery time without compromising on quality. Suddenly the track opens up into a furore of blast beats with brilliantly contrasting almost smooth guitar solo’s, ending with the main melody accompanied by horns before fading into the next track (Ben Sahar) which opens with a spine chilling scream, leaving you begging for more double kicks, more distortion, more everything!

I feel I should also mention the first single and opening track Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel and the accompanying music video. Throughout their career Behemoth have been known for their image, their dauntingly demonic costumes and horrific music videos and again, this is no exception. The video for BYTG can only be described as a brilliantly crafted horror film, full of dark, satanic imagery without ever giving off a “cheesy” vibe. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the record and to the band in 2014, with the ending slowly rising in intensity in a tense yet orchestral manner, leaving the listener almost begging for something more extreme and oh yes…it delivers. The Satanist is an absolute fucking metal masterpiece!

2. Sydonia – Reality Kicks

Words can’t describe how excited I was when a release date was announced for the bands follow up to 2006’s Given To Destroyers. I had heard some of the newer material at various gigs but I was eager and a little nervous to hear what the follow up to one of my all time favourite Australian records would be. Let’s just say my nerves were put to rest… Reality Kicks is everything I wanted from the band and a whole lot more. The album opens with the sound of a baby’s breath before kicking into the monolithic track Here. The whole song is Sydonia at their best and within seconds of hearing it you can’t help but let out a cry of “fuck yes!” with a chorus that just helps to build tension before an incredible percussion bridge opens everything up. I can’t begin to describe how much I love this song and in particular that short bridge. The second track Shame dives straight into the heavier side of Sydonia we’ve all come to know and love, without wasting any time. Already you start to feel like you’ve settled in for the ride and you know it’s going to be a good one! This is another record that you get the feeling was painstakingly crafted to produce a very specific experience, constantly moving between softer more grounded melodies and lyrics found in the albums title track to the epic “journey” songs like Nobodies and C 13. There’s not a bad song on this record and I mean that with all sincerity, it’s a complete mix of ballads, all out metal mosh grooves and prog soundscapes, none of which feel out of place.

Almost pop songs like Drag You Out and Wheels don’t seem to take anything away from the accompanying brutallity, with singer Dana Roskvist’s vocals blending effortlessly from blood curdling screams to soft, fragile melodies. Crash Here Tonight is another great example of the bands ability to combine two distinct sounds in the one song. Starting with a reverb and delay saturated guitar and a strong percussion driving force, the song suddenly starts to mutate into something more twisted, the chugg of the guitar builds slowly before erupting into a headbangers wet dream, then followed by the no nonsense rock powerhouse track TI. Song’s like Sinner are yet another example of the bands ability to move from dark ambience to straight up chanting lyrical anthems without any feeling of awkwardness. It’s this ebb and flow between genre’s that keeps Reality Kicks so engaging, every element serves a purpose. The band isn’t afraid to show their more gentle side and they don’t’ allow themselves to get drawn into some of the more meandering prog elements that are becoming more and more prevalent in the Australian scene today. Had it not been for one more release this would have been my number 1…..

1. Forever The Optimist – Arecibo

Ok so I should definitely note that I’m pretty biased here, I’ve played a few shows with the band and  consider them among my close friends, however I won’t let that get in the way of the professional music journalist I’m pretending to be! I’ll start with one simple statement: everything about this record is perfect. Arecibo is the band’s first full length release and it’s a record that’s been crafted by blood sweat and tears, there are no shortcuts, there are no easy rides and from beginning to end; you’re in FTO’s world and they have a lot to tell you. The most striking thing I found with this record is how perfectly the track listing was, the opening title track is an ominous introduction to the full FTO experience, quickly bursting to life with Warning Horns which is like a slap across the face from an old lover, twisting and turning. From there the album continues building that energy while always keeping a subtle tension, denying you the release until you just can’t take it anymore and the levy breaks, opening to a strong hard rock mosh groove. Medusa is where the record starts to take an interesting turn, a track that lets you catch your breath without skimping on the quality before breaking into the bands latest single End of Antics. This is where the band starts to flex a muscle, both musically and lyrically. Vocalist Jamie Page delivers his lyrics with vitriol before allowing you a moment to process, this is where you realise the band is a lot more than your average Australian prog-rock outfit, this is something special. The track ends on an epic high, vocal chords tearing as the pleading line “will you learn?” is repeated over and over. Suddenly the album turns quiet, but it’s not the same breathing space as Medusa, this is something completely different, it’s a whole new level of maturity as we enter Chiral parts 1 & 2. You feel now the band is really trying to get a message across, is it a political or social commentary? To me it’s something a lot more, I can’t help but feel the band is trying to get across their own unique experience of life, love and the emotions we struggle to understand every day. The driving guitar force of Dan Page and Kellie Buckman ensure that this message is heard, whatever it may be. It’s time for you to pay attention and they’re going to fucking make you.

Now we come to the end of the record, a short interlude track that works as a calm before the storm that is Revolutions. Drummer Andrew Knox wakes you from the little trance created by the previous tracks with a thick reverberant thud, with subtle, fragile backing vocals preparing you for the experience. The accompanying music video is absolute perfection and one of the best music videos I’ve seen in a very long time. Revolutions is one of those songs that people will either get or they won’t; it’s subtle, touching on a desperation and chaos that is obvious in every element of the 4minute 10 epic as FTO do what they do best, let the tension finally break into an incredibly emotional climax. Now we reach the end of our journey with the track I Set Signals. It’s very hard for me to put into words my feelings towards this song, it has been somewhat of a comforter to me in my darkest days. The song starts quietly with just bass and vocals before the band slowly take their positions leading us to the first “chorus” of the song. The lyric “I will bide my time amongst the rubble, I swear there will be answers there” has been repeated in my head infinite times and is delivered in such a way you can’t help but imagine someone tired, worn, looking up at you from the ground as you share a moment of affinity. The track builds to what seems to be a breaking point then lulls back slowly, you hear the desperation and exhaustion permeate through every single inch of this piece of music. The final “chorus” defiantly breaks away, it’s tragic and uplifting, like a sudden explosion of light in an otherwise dark existence, that slowly fades.

Arecibo is complete, powerful yet grounded and is the perfect mixture of technicality and humanity. I haven’t been able to put this record down since its release. It has the driving hard rock intensity and the emotional maturity and catharsis many bands spend there entire career struggling to achieve. I could spend a lifetime talking about this album. It’s been the soundtrack to my darkest hours and brightest days, hence it’s place at number one in my book.

By: Christian Twiggy Carter

CLINT MORROW’S TOP SEVEN ALBUMS OF 2014

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My Top Seven Albums of 2014

1. The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast

See this: https://heavyandwierd.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/album-review-do-to-the-beast-by-the-afghan-whigs/

2. Cold Chisel – The Live Tapes Vol 2

Cold Chisel live in their prime. What’s not to love? Oh that’s right, you think they’re a bogan band full of bogans loved by bogans. Well you’re wrong. They’re uniquely Australian and part of the fabric our our society. For once the masses got it right, this band is worthy of their enduring popularity. Don Walker is one of the finest songwriters ever, and this album is a document of the brutal electricity of their early live shows. Jimmy Barnes is in brilliant form as the powerhouse frontman. Stop being a snobby hipster and get an education on rock & roll from Australia’s greatest rock & roll band in their prime.

3. Galapogos – Feel or Suffer

See this: https://heavyandwierd.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/album-review-feel-or-suffer-by-galapogos/

4. Galapogos – Strange Species

Any band that releases 2 quality albums in the space of 12 months is worth your time. Sit down, turn off the facebooks, put your iPhone out of arms reach, put some headphones on, shut your eyes and spend 40 minutes with this album on getting to know yourself. You might be surprised at what you find.

5. HITS – Hikikomori

HITS are the best live rock & roll band in the world right now and with ‘Hikikomori’ they’ve finally captured the excitement of their live shows on record. The album sounds like a derailing freight train from start to finish, with the band constantly threatening to crash in on themselves but ultimately emerging unscathed and triumphant. This is how punk rock should sound; it’s the aural equivalent of being smacked in the face with a hot iron. I mean that in the best possible way, this band will change your life.

6. J Mascis – Tied To A Star

J Mascis releases ‘Several Shades of Why’ Part 2 and proves he’s his generation’s Neil Young. A beautiful Sunday morning record.

7. Jimmy Barnes – 30:30 Hindsight

The new Jimmy Barnes album is fucking excellent. He’s singing better than ever, and the new versions of his hits are, mostly, more interesting or better than the originals. The Living End make ‘Lay Down Your Guns’ sound as if they wrote it themselves, and Joe Bonamassa gives a new meaning to the term ‘guitar hero’ on ‘Too Much Ain’t Enough Love’. This is without doubt the best record Jimmy Barnes has released since the early 90’s.

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Most disappointing albums of 2014:

1. Bush – Man On The Run

Did anyone realise Bush had a new album out? It sounds like a better version of their last album. Buy it if you liked The Sea Of Memories. If you gave up on them after Razorblade Suitcase then move along, there’s nothing to see here.

2. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

Foo Fighters albums seem to be getting shinier and shinier, as if an extra coat of studio polish is layered on each time they make a new record. Just once, I’d like to hear them sounding like a rock band in a room; without the slick production. Opener ‘Something From Nothing’ and closer ‘I Am A River’ are the pick of the 8 tracks on Sonic Highways, with everything in between blending into one long over-produced riff-fest. Foo Fighters have proven they’re a great live band, full of dynamics, talent and excitement; unfortunately this record doesn’t do that justice.

3. Pixies – Indie Cindy

If you’re going to waste your time on this record get the version with the bonus live disc so you don’t feel completely ripped off.

By: Clint Morrow

SINGLE REVIEW: “Alone” by June Low

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The brand new single from JUNE LOW is called “Alone” and it is a fine piece of songwriting. This is music shaped by the saturation of the Sunday afternoon sun when you feel your most desperate and the freedom of the weekend gives way to the dirge of time trickling away, edging you closer to that moment where you’ll have to adopt the 9am to 5pm routine. There is something philosophically stored in that “Sunday Afternoon Feeling” – as if all that disturbed bummed out energy is somehow a reflection of just how short and lonely life can be. I’m not sure what the muse for June Low’s song was but that is the feeling it provides. I like that feeling, there is a comfort to feeling disconnected and frazzled by the fractured pulse of existence.

What strikes me instantly about “Alone” as a song is the way in which it slithers with such heat. You can almost feel the perspiration dripping from each note. This is the kind of song that could of only come from a long summer spent indulging the sleepless nights with sweat and vacant disintegration. This is the kind of song that stops you in your tracks and requires you to just be still. The narrative whilst personal lends itself to anyone who has love and lost. When I get swept up in the seductive swoon of “Alone” I get taken to that zone where you are desperately trying to find the “hope” after the heartbreak.

This is simply a preview of what JUNE LOW has in store for her debut album and it is strong indication that she’ll be something special and a true star.

9 Cassette Tapes out of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/juneislow
Bandcamp – http://junelow.bandcamp.com/
Official Website – http://www.junelow.com/

EP REVIEW: “Whine EP” by Tempura Nights

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There was a quote from Kurt Cobain at some point during his life where he said that the next great rock revolution would be lead by a woman or something like that. Whilst I don’t want to get too political I think it’s a relevant stance because in this godforsaken local music scene known as Brisbane, the only relevant music being made and the only music that resonates with me is the stuff driven by Female Human Beings. Make of that what you will but you know, there is only so much “hell fuck yeah” I can fucking take and I feel like TEMPURA NIGHTS might be the antidote to all that white middle class macho rock bullshit that is swelling both above and below ground at the moment.

From the moment I heard the songwriting talents of Alice Rezende in GO VIOLETS I knew she was coming from a really “Kool Thing” kind of place. She had the ability to combine smart lyrics with simple pop melodies all the while slapping together some righteous chords that mixed the bliss of shoegazing and the dust and dirt of the whole Sebadoh aesthetic. It had one foot in the past and one foot in the future and displayed her desire to at least re-shape some of the established dynamics of the genres she was influenced by. Whilst her music lacked the mood saturation of her fellow GO VIOLET bandmate Phoebe Imhoff there was still a degree of shiver weaving in and out of her sound.

With her new band TEMPURA NIGHTS we see Rezende explode back into action with a fresh set of songs that sound more confident and a lot more futuristic in their delivery. Joined by two gentleman simply known as Jay and Alan, TEMPURA NIGHTS have just released a fantastic EP titled “WHINE” which is four tracks of reverb drenched pop music in the lo-fi tradition. The production is supreme and perfect for this musical communication delving deep into the whole late night dream pop shtick. This approach truly blisses out the vocals and adds a nice contrast to the crunch of the guitar as it creeps along like a distorted washed out sigh.

The greatest example of why TEMPURA NIGHTS works is the EP’s fourth and final track “Jonas (The Sandman)” which goes for the gold by boycotting the radio rock format. This feels like the most honest statement on the record and a true shining moment where you hear the band sound comfortable. I think the band needs to lean more on these longer jams because they sound more relaxed and incredibly fierce when they delve into progressive territory. It gives the band more time to flex their creative muscle and gives you the listener a chance to ease into the triumphant slacker groove that lulls you to that zone of total fucking zen. The clever “proof pudding” of placing “Jonas (The Sandman)” as the final track is that it makes you want to press play and repeat the journey so in that sense they got it right plus once the EP rolls back round to track one you’re totally excited to be on that journey again.

This is an enjoyable movement of music that has got me excited for the evolution TEMPURA NIGHTS as a band. It’s quite clear that Alice Rezende has found the right kind of chemistry with her new group of humans and with time we may just see this band totally re-invent what it means to write Brisbane Pop Music.

8 Cassette Tapes Out Of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tempuranights
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/tempura-nights

SINGLE REVIEW: “Hold You Down” by Love Signs

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I was instantly hooked in by the brand newish single from Brisbane band LOVE SIGNS. The song is called “Hold You Down” and it rings out like 1980’s R.E.M. – in fact I’m fairly certain that the chord pattern of this song is somewhere to be found on the first four R.E.M. albums but logistics aside it still races along with sincerity. I can tolerate nostalgia when it is done with sincerity and although the vocals are a little too “trained” sounding for my liking they provide a delicious hook that ensures maximum enjoyment. I’d love to see LOVE SIGNS take some risks with this formula and really expand beyond just a good beat, some cool / faultless chords and a sticky pop melody and really dig deeper and show us the heartache. I know it’s in there somewhere because there is some heavy emotion attempted at points during “Hold You Down” but future communication of this ache all depends on whether you want to regurgitate or alienate.

All in all this is music is lovely and young, framed by some extreme promise that with time LOVE SIGNS may outlast all of the current purveyors of jangle pop and truly deliver something right on.

8 cassette tapes out of 10

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lovesignsband
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/lovesigns
Tumblr – http://www.love–signs.tumblr.com