By Jye Smith Nov.12.2008
In: Album Reviews
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Review: Winston Giles - Lovers

Winston Giles – Lovers: The first thing I noticed about this album when it arrived was the simple but beautiful cover art.  It just teemed with intimacy and complimented with a balanced font face.

Pop Disco House. Yum.

The way the bass pops over some very funky beats will strike you.  And much like the artwork — it’s a very balanced sound that is both soothing and uplifting.  I absolutely love the way the beats drop, in particular on track 3 Get My Demons Out — where the things get a bit harder. The guitars on this particular track even remind me of Pink Floyd’s guitar work — using a brilliant lead channel with delay.  Really sings well and compliments the vocal lines.

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By Dan Clarke Nov.10.2008
In: Album Reviews, Opinion
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One Day As A Lion - Not too sheepish.

ONE DAY AS A LION
SELF TITLED EP
ANTI-

After Rage Against the Machine broke up in 2000, Zack De La Rocha entered into a kind of self-imposed exile for nearly seven years. Work with Trent Reznor and Dj Shadow produced very few tracks that saw the light of day. Now that the band’s back together it seems De La Rocha has regained his mojo, embarking on a side project as One Day As A Lion.

ODAAL is a collaboration between the Rage frontman and onetime Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, carrying on in the tradition of vitriolic protest music that makes Rage such essential listening. Replacing the squealing guitar work of Tom Morello with a keyboard plugged in through old 80s metal amps and guitar delay pedals De La Rocha manages to bring that very distinct Rage sound to more sparse arrangements.

One Day As A Lion is certainly a more minimalist approach but it’s just as appealing. As expected, the lyrics are littered with commentary on U.S. imperialism, inequality and injustice so anyone who tired of the rampant politicism of Rage Against The Machine might be turned off but that has always been what makes their music so relevant and compelling. It’s kinda the whole point really.  9/10

Check out http://myspace.com/onedayasalion for more info.

Musicfeeds – It’s Spanish for Awesome!

By Stuart McPhee Oct.28.2008
In: Album Reviews, Other, Recommended
6 comments

Flying Under Your Radar: Epicure

Epicure - Postcards From A GhostLast Sunday evening as I sat in a bar in Elwood, a pint of beer in hand, listening to a good friend of mine sing the weekend away I noticed a woman at the table next to me.  Gillespie’s music often has that effect.

Yet it was another band that attracted me to her.

Many years ago (sometime after O.J. got off but before the towers came down) I was a journalism student at Griffith University when I became friends with a girl named Emma. Hello to Emma if she’s watching at home.

Emma, like me, also worked in a Record Store and we both shared a fondness for the music of Jeff Buckley. It was Emma who would put me on to the then unknown Ballarat band Epicure.

I say ‘then unknown’ but, short of one semi-hit single (‘Armies Against Me’ from 2002), Epicure are still not a household act in this country and I am at a loss to know why. I am hoping their latest record changes all that.

Postcards From A Ghost is the band’s fourth long player (not counting the 2001 B-Side collection Airmail - yes I own that as well) and it is certainly their most well rounded release, comprising the various styles they have dabbled in over the years. Whilst they continue to trade in the sort of bluesy piano numbers that typified 2005s Main Street like the gorgeous ‘Landslide’, the lads also show an urgency not heard in their songs for some time.

‘Snakes & Foxes’ is hands down one of the best opening salvos you’ll hear this year and certainly contains one of my favourite first lines: “When we first met you were dancing in some guys lap peering out beneath your cowboy hat going by another name.” Tell me you don’t have the visual in your head.

‘Blood On My Hands’, ‘Loves Me Not’ and first single ‘Cobra Kisses’ also bristle with the same energy and fervour. Vocalist Juan Alban sounds at home on these heavier tracks as he also does on songs like the introspective album closer ‘How This Will End’. I’m sure Juan is sick of the Ed Kowalczyk/Michael Stipe comparisons by now but it is worth noting this: I gave up buying Live and R.E.M. albums a while ago, I still wait in anticipation for Epicure releases.

Finally, an alt.country flourish (see: ‘One Last Chance To Reach You’ and ‘Soft Place To Fall’) courtesy of new guitarist Mick Hubbard (ex Jen Cloher And The Endless Sea – another great act) adds another dimension to the band’s overall sound.

Epicure are primed for the success they so richly deserve with the release of Postcards From A Ghost. I can only hope it comes their way.

Postscript: As it turned out, the woman in the bar looked a lot like Emma but it wasn’t her. I thankfully worked that out for myself without having to embarrassingly ask. Besides, if she had said no what was my reply to be without it sounding like I was trying to pick her up? I guess: “Buy the new Epicure album” would’ve worked.

By Jye Smith Oct.24.2008
In: Album Reviews, Recommended
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Sneaker Pimps kick more arse than you

I can’t begin to tell you how much the Sneaker Pimps kick arse. This British trip-hop outfit formed back in 1995 and have released three stellar smooth albums since. After the grooving Becoming X (1996), the group booted out vocalist Kelli Ali and guitarist Chris Corner took the lead. I think that’s awesome. Read the full story

By Jye Smith Oct.17.2008
In: Album Reviews
1 comment

Cog - Sharing Space

I’m not even through my first track of CogSharing Space (No Other Way), and already I’m falling in love with this band and their truly emotive sound.

The rich vocal melodies over some really innovative rhythms make it both powerful and smooth. Great tension and release that really drive the tones to deliver the overall moods. Overall the tracks are very progressive and offer a deep range of moods that seem to fall into one another with perfect harmony.

As I listen to each track I’m constantly longing to hear more – especially from a very unique vocal flavour who I can’t help but admire for the dynamics, liquidity and melodic bounds.

Cog - MySpace

Thoughts: Vocal tones remind me of David Draiman (Disturbed) but with much more soul (and clean tones); guitars that of Tool, The Butterfly Effect; Drumming and bass similar too.


By Jye Smith Oct.8.2008
In: Album Reviews
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Black Light Burns

Without a doubt, Wes Borland’s new project Black Light Burns is one of the best sounds I’ve heard in years. Straight to the favourite band list. Sophisticated, dark and powerful; both the songs and the album collectively take you on a journey.

The latest interview with Borland I’ve read provides great insight.

The record starts real aggressively, but toward the middle it gets a little more hurtful and hurting, lyrically, trying to express painful feelings, but still in an aggressive way. Then it kind of opens up in the end. And that was the purpose: to attack, then explain, then release and be done with it.

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By Jye Smith Oct.3.2008
In: Album Reviews
2 comments

Review: The Butterfly Effect - Final Conversation of Kings

During a recording session last night with Steve, he highly recommended I buy the new album from The Butterfly Effect – The Last Conversation of Kings.  Jumped onto iTunes and bought it right away — it’s in fact the first album I have bought off iTunes as a whole.

The introductory bass tapping and steady guitars led me to believe this album would be filled with the balance of delicate power like the previous Butterfly Effect albums Imago and Begins Here.

However, only a few tracks in, I couldn’t help but think there was something lacking.  Some kind of dynamic I couldn’t put my finger on.  The notes were there, the rises and falls — but there’s something about how the album was perhaps mastered or structured that left me yearning for power. I didn’t feel this album like the previous two.  Overall it’s a 3 out of 5 for me — great ideas, just few of them executed to their full potential.

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By Nathanael Boehm Sep.30.2008
In: Album Reviews
1 comment

Friendship Records presents Nobody Can Dance

Jye put the call out a little while ago for people to send in music for reviewing, and Julian Rapp from Friendship Records was one of those who answered the call.

He’s sent me some music by a rock band on the Friendship Records label called Nobody Can Dance. Nine tracks, with titles like Dance, Fucker, Dance!, Creepy Little People and Post-Apocalyptic Pussy.

Here’s my favourite track from the nine tracks I received, If You Got a Problem:

Nice start, the guitars complement each other well – which isn’t always the case in some of the other tracks, though of course it’s going to be tricky having two leads especially when they’re both running effects.

The band comprises of a drummer, bassist and two lead guitars which leaves the mix fairly open although both guitars use overdrive and one is usually fairly heavily distorted giving the band a grungy garage feel.

The vocals reminded me of Beck for some reason.

Nice variety of tempos and feels, although the start of You Put Me On worried me a bit with its country sound but its all good after the first minute.

I rate Nobody Can Dance 3 out of 5 stars.

Another track Animal Love:

The tracks “If You Got a Problem” and “Animal Love” have been offered for streaming on The Music Blogs under permission from Friendship Records.

Nathanael Boehm

By Jye Smith Sep.26.2008
In: Album Reviews, Opinion
5 comments

Jerk: When Pure is Defiled

I just can’t get into this album. Sydney-based industrial metal outfit Jerk is like a band that tried to be like every other band. The result, When Pure is Defiled, is about as meaningful as a brick wall. The overall impression I get from my first few listens is that I’m hearing the offcuts of Powerman 5000, NIN, Mazza Manson and occasionally RATM. Singer Johnathan Devoy screams a good scream and there are some interesting beats, but overall, it’s emotionless, the melodies are contrived and the whole sound is about as original as every Australian television drama series produced over the last ten years. Read the full story

By Jye Smith
In: Album Reviews
2 comments

Puscifer - V Is For Vagina

Now listening to: Puscifer – V Is For Vagina.  Really loving Maynard James Keenan‘s new album – it’s not Tool and it’s not A Perfect Circle, which I’m sure disappointed so many.  It’s dark, haunting and acoustic with some industrial undertones. Keenan’s voice is delivered in a soothing baritone and really sets it apart from anything he, or anyone else, has done in the past.

Originality is not dead.

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By Jye Smith Sep.18.2008
In: Album Reviews, Recommended
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Corner of an Endless Road

Top on my playlist right now is Lior’s “Corner of an Endless Road.” This Israeli-born Australian singer-songwriter has put together a cracker of an album that explores his middle-eastern roots and showcases the depth of his writing finesse. Read the full story

City and Colour

City and Colour might just be my new favourite acoustic artist.  I was recommended them by Chizm and picked up two albums — Live and Sometimes.

City and Colour is an acoustic side-project fronted by Dallas Green, rhythm guitarist and singer for the Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. The current line-up also consists of Spencer Burton, Daniel Tavis Romano and Matt Sullivan.

Its clarity, brilliance and rich sound of the acoustic guitars you’ll notice only before being completely drawn into Green’s delicate yet powerful vocal tones.

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By Jye Smith Sep.15.2008
In: Album Reviews
4 comments

Disturbed - Indestructible (Review and Video)

New album arrived today: Disturbed – Indestructible

Just over the first two tracks now, and the grinding guitars over the familiar drive of some fucking thunderous drums broke through.  Now that’s a lot of adjectives, but this album sounds like the soundtrack to Armageddon itself.  Getting solid reviews everywhere.  Also the brand new video below (speaks for itself).

A much darker tone overall, with some epic vocals from one of my favourite frontmen David Draiman.  One can hear a much wider use of Draiman’s vocal ranges, and also a few extra layers.  His vocal asethetics range from his classic tones right through to traditional growls.

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By Jye Smith Sep.9.2008
In: Album Reviews
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aSHES dIVIDE

Billy Howerdel‘s (A Perfect Circle) new project ASHES dIVIDE is also at the top of my playlists at the moments. The guitars and vocals deliver a very emotive sound over the alternative rock base. As producer and performer (on all instruments unless otherwise noted) Howerdel’s signature, singing guitars can be easily recognised; co-produced with Danny Lohner (former Nine Inch Nails) some industrial tones can also be picked off.

Reading more about the ASHES dIVIDE project, it immediately demonstrates Howerdel’s experience with planning and arranging the album – and you hear it too:

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By ssheargold Sep.8.2008
In: Album Reviews, Opinion
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M is for...

M

Obsession is a wonderful thing. With the glut of [c]rap and hideously ordinary music in the charts these days, it is rare for me to find an album that absolutely captivates me, one that I can listen to for weeks on end without it becoming dull. So it is something of a surprise that this last month I’ve found two, quite different, albums to become obsessed with.

The first is Michael Nyman’s lush, extravagant score for Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract - a film of landscapes, devious wit, sex, and murder. It’s full of sensual harpsichord and frenetic woodwind; it is intense and sharp and makes my head spin when listened to up loud on headphones. Interesting I had familiarised with this album so totally that I was disappointed with its use in the film – cut up, edited sharply (but then, unlike a score taken on its own, the music in the film is there to support the picture.) Michael Nyman is one of those interesting composers who works in the minor key a great deal, and the minor key to me has always been very intense and expressive and emotional (for instance I’m sure “the brown noise” is in a minor key). But he is also rather one-dimensional in that his score’s tend to sound very much the same (not that this is a bad thing; every composer is a plagiarist of their own work). But he would never sound this cohesive again (except perhaps for The Piano). This score, whilst a magnificent complement to the film, is also a beautiful operatic experience in itself. It pulls you through so many shifting emotions – whimsy, sensuality, arrogance, violence – with consummate ease, and a playful deviousness.

I’ve been waking up in the morning and stepping into the shower and abruptly this will enter my head and I’ll be humming along to a particular cadence or rhythm. A mark of a good piece of music, perhaps, being maddeningly intrusive and somehow becoming the soundtrack to one’s life, too.

The second is M83’s new album – Saturdays=Youth. I’m only a recent devotee to M83. I can’t even remember how I first came to discover him – possibly a trawl through my Amazon recommendations. After the ambient bliss of Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, and the ode to drug-fuelled nights that was Before the Dawn Heals Us, both albums that delivered great intensity in parts but didn’t quite make for a satisfying whole, we get the staggeringly good Saturdays=Youth. The title says it all – this is dreamy, hazy, 80’s ambient- styled electronica full of beautiful reminiscing tracks about youth. We get everything here, from angsty death-dreaming (Graveyard Girl) to happy pop (Kim & Jessie).

However, nothing compares to the perfect Skin of the Night – an intense wash of synths, sharp drum-machine and a breathy Kate Bushesque chorus that climbs and climbs into ecstasy. It’s one of those songs that you can’t get enough of, that reaches in and pulls out something in you that you thought only you could express. There’s something of an elusive freedom in it. Very much a driving song, out on vast plains, nothing but you and the car, and the road.

Ladytron in a few weeks time. Not sure what to expect. The most troubling thing is deciding what to wear. Ladytron after all are perhaps one of the coolest bands in existence. Aesthetically speaking.