SINGLE REVIEW: THE JOHN STEEL SINGERS- WEEKEND LOVER

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They’ve done krautrock, guitar pop, folk-rock and even psychedelia and now Brisbane’s John Steel Singers have added another feather to their caps with, “Weekend Lover”. The single is from their forthcoming third album, Midnight At The Plutonium (named after their record label and studio) and sees a mix of seventies funk and soul.

These boys are not really channelling the Godfather, Messer James Brown, but instead offer a breezier and more laidback fusion of different sounds. There are some off-kilter guitars, a grooving bassline that rolls and some falsetto singing which can only be described as, “Reaching for the stars”.

The band should be applauded for their creativity and their lack of worries or concerns about the change in musical direction (something that could alienate fans). Instead, this is an unselfconscious party song that is so casual it could be horizontal. Overall, this is one intriguing step off the beaten track.

Originally published on 8 September 2015 at the following website: http://lifemusicmedia.com/single-review-the-john-steel-singers-weekend-lover/

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SINGLE REVIEW: THE VINES – METAL ZONE

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The Vines is a loaded name that can mean anything from the early successes of their debut album, Highly Evolved, all the way through to front-man and mainstay, Craig Nicholls’ tortured past. If we can set aside the bullshit and listen to ‘Metal Zone’, the debut single from their forthcoming, crowd-funded and independent record, Wicked Nature, I think everyone will be happy. Okay?

The song is supposed to be a homage to the band’s favourite distortion pedal. Like many Vines hits, it toys with different tones and dynamics, skipping through both loudness and softness like they were each going out of fashion. The first 30 seconds are a hazy jangle (the radio edit only goes for 2:24) before things become even more freewheeling and hyper.

A few years older and it seems Nicholls is still convincing as a snot-nosed punk but equally as good at playing a haunted choir boy. Ultimately this means the song packs a punch, is energetic and rip-snorting, but it does throw up the question of whether it is enough of a career progression in terms of sound. Overall, the jury’s not yet out.

Originally published on 14 August 2014 at the following website: http://sfmedia.com.au/the-vines-metal-zone-single-review/

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SINGLE REVIEW: TIGERTOWN – WHAT YOU CAME HERE FOR

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On his most recent tour Bob Evans slapped his head and practically called himself crazy for allowing such a young, talented and attractive band open for him. They were Sydneysiders, Tigertown. And for those that don’t know, they’re a quintet of family members and couples that are like Fleetwood Mac but only if you like your pop music with a little less romantic confusion.

The band are a thoroughly consistent one as new single, What You Came Here For proves. The latest track from their forthcoming as yet unnamed third EP is a continuation of the ideas and sounds that impressed fans on their previous releases, Before The Morning and their eponymous debut.

At 3:22 the mood is once again upbeat and summery here. The harmonies are also very strong and sound like they could’ve been bellowed off the top of some high mountain top, while the guitars jangle like wind chimes and the synths shimmer like a precious gem. The song is equally hooky and expansive and would not feel out of place alongside their producer, Liam Judson’s other work with Cloud Control and Belles Will Ring.

On What You Came Here For Tigertown once again do precisely what they do best without veering too far off the beaten track.

Originally published on 27 May 2013 at the following website: http://lifemusicmedia.com/single-review-tigertown-what-you-came-here-for/

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SINGLE REVIEW: GOTYE – SAVE ME

Save Me is the latest single to be taken from Gotye’s worldwide success story and album known as Making Mirrors. It joins a series of previously released, high calibre offerings like “Eyes Wide Open”, “I Feel Better”and the bona fide international hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know”. It’s hard to imagine that Save Me is actually about a lost man stuck in a funk of depression.

That’s because the mood created by the music is light and airy as various samples and instruments including a virtual mandolin, autoharp and metronome combine to make a shimmering pop sound that also grooves. There is also plenty of vocal harmonising that seems to sit somewhere between “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and Coldplay’s “Paradise”.

At around four minutes, Save Me is a tale of redemption that ends in optimism thanks to the power of love and the wonder of silver linings. And it’s fair to say that Gotye has enjoyed plenty of the latter thanks to his brilliant, creative mind and this strong album.

 

Originally published on 16 September 2012 at the following website: http://beatsfactory.com.au/gotye-save-me-single-review

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SINGLE REVIEW: REGULAR JOHN – SLUME

Sydney rockers, Regular John are building a career by proving they’re anything but regular Joes. They impressed critics and fans alike with their strong, debut LP, The Peaceful Atom Is A Bomb.

Some three years have passed since then and they are now armed with the new single, Slume. It’s a taster of their second album, Strange Flowers, and if this is indicative of the remainder of the material on the record then you can already start cracking open the bottle of champagne.

The band has undergone a slight change in their line-up but they also promoted a sense of continuity by enlisting their long-time collaborator, Tim Powles (The Church)Slume is four minutes of emotionally wrought material. It makes The Smashing Pumpkins seem like an easy reference point, as it openly dissects heavy feelings of heartbreak and sheer angst. But there is also a layered world of fuzz and feedback to be heard amongst the pummelled drums and confined chaos, meaning at moments it is also like Dinosaur Jr.

Slume is ultimately a song that is both melodic and heavy. As you listen you believe Ryan Adamson when he sings about falling in love and getting lazy before he finally concedes: “I’ll spend forever in my head”. This interior landscape is certainly one that contains powerful forces and different influences at play. In short, it’s a feeling and energetic world where love and lust collides.

 

Originally published on 30 August 2012 at the following website: http://sludgefactory.com.au/regular-john-slume-single-review

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SINGLE REVIEW: EMMA LOUISE – BOY

Emma Louise’s musical life has been one vast jungle ever since she released her debut EP, Full Hearts & Empty Rooms. There was the rise of single, “Jungle,” and listeners taking the emotionally stirring, “1000 Sundowns” straight to their hearts and souls. And that’s not to mention the excellent support slots, sold-out headline shows and whispers of a debut album in the works.

New single, “Boy” is the first taster of this forthcoming record. It is a 4:33 slice of pop/folk music that grooves. Sitting somewhere between the pleasant, classic pop of Fleetwood Mac and the interesting layers that peppered Pajama Club’s sound, this pop music makes expert use of keys that dip into water and whiz through space in a fuzzed-out and flashing back-drop that accentuates Louise’s amazing and versatile voice.

Her vocals sit somewhere between the sweet, Sarah Blasko’s; the soaring chime of an angel; and a wistful woman. There is perhaps only one other female artist with similarly astonishing vocals singing her little heart out today and that person is Kimbra. So if the record-buying public are smart, they too while catapult Louise into international stardom with boy in tow.

Originally published on 7 June 2012 at the following website: http://lifemusicmedia.com/?p=22540

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SINGLE REVIEW: PALMS – SUMMER IS DONE WITH US

Forget Autumn, Sydney’s currently freezing and while local lads, Palms may be singing about the hot season being over you’d hardly know it from their music. “Summer Is Done With Us” is two and a half minutes of cheery retro pop, clanging garage and a danceworthy feel – think like a cassette meets Straight Arrows meets Red Riders. It’s hardly surprising really, as the group are made up of an Arrow, one half of the sadly missed, Red Riders and a very obvious penchant for the eighties, no doubt kids of that weird and wonderful era like yours truly.

Here the time changes like the seasons and it’s all about bendy straws, distortion and milkshakes. It’s plenty of fun, fun, fun as you bask on a hill wearing something that reads: “This is my official gear jamming,’ tire smoking,’ night crusin’ t-shirt”. Yeah.

SINGLE REVIEW: AXE GIRL – IS THIS LOVE?

I think I’m in love with this cheery pop song, no questions asked. Truth be told, I came to this group via one of my favourite bands, Jebediah. If you look closely you’ll see that Vanessa Thornton and Brett Mitchell are again at the bass and drums, respectively and with the help of front woman, Addison Axe (vocals, guitars) and Nat Ripepi (guitars) they are Axe Girl.

On Is This Love? these guys could give a lady (and not just anyone but none other than Ladyhawke) a run for her money thanks to their own retro-flavoured pop sound. They seem to consider their music as being reminiscent of PJ Harvey, Nirvana and No Doubt, but for my money there’s everyone from the aforementioned Phillipa Brown to the Pixies, Divinyls and just about everyone in between here. So that’s it, I’m in love and all that’s left to ask is where do I send the “Truckload of woo” to?

SINGLE REVIEW: JUBILANTS – SPAIN

Spain is the new single from Sydney quartet, Jubilants. The song could also double as a detailed postcard from that particular part of continental Europe because it takes in elements synonymous with acts like Foals and Two Door Cinema Club plus local quirksters, Aleks & The Ramps and the shiny pop of Last Dinosaurs. It is fresh and extremely sunny but behind that is a cloak of mystery bolstered by the wistful claim of never having been in love.

You can get it standing on a beach, sitting at a barbie or sipping drinks poolside with your mates because Spain is essentially bright-eyed and fancy-free fun from a group that won’t let the sun go down on their mood or music. Nice.

SINGLE REVIEW: THE MEDICS – JOSEPH

A biblical name or could it just be a homage to Messer J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. fame?

The Medics’ single, Joseph, is just under four minutes of energetic, convention-defying unpredictability. The group are proud of their inability to be pigeonholed and are still content to continue exploring their “sound” and this certainly shines through on this rocking song.

There is expansiveness, melody and a punch like contemporaries, Step-Panther, but also a light pop feel à la The Temper Trap. And for my money the song also boasts the excellent lyric: “You build walls to cover your pride”. Bring on the debut LP!

 

Originally published on 16 January 2012 at the following website: http://www.the59thsound.com/the-medics—joseph-single-16012012.html

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