Note: The following review is based on an album sampler consisting of six tracks from the record.
If this sampler of British electronica trio Years & Years' upcoming debut album Communion is anything to go by, itis bound to be a cracker. Heading into this musical taste-tester I was admittedly hoping for more of the upbeat, radio-friendly vibe that lead single "King" brought because it is, quite frankly, a killer tune. I was very much surprised then when the majority of the six-track offering in the sampler were laid back and, in a stroke of genius, totally chill. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not.
Lineup change for a band can impact their musicianship and when looking back at the band’s history, Dead Trees isn’t a strong comeback album from post-hardcore outfitters From First To Last. Comebacks normally mean power and success but it’s hard to ignore the weak points this album encompasses. Some tracks capture a strong reunion within the band and with new frontman, Spencer Sotelo, there is a grip of substance showing through here but not enough to keep the attention of most listeners. In hindsight, it’s frustrating to see a band with a strong following throw themselves in the back-end.
I had never heard Darts before single "Westward Bound" popped up on my newsfeed. The first play hit me flush in the face at breakneck speed; I was hearing a reincarnation of an angst-ridden Isaac Brock circa Lonesome Crowded West. Animated whaling and strained vocal yelps backed by the gravel-road scratches of guitars and a pounding rhythm section. It's all treated with a steady dose of frenetic hysteria, yet grounded by a melodic poise. And so is the Melbourne five-piece's debut album, Below Empty and Westward Bound.
Few artists have experienced a rise to prominence like American duo Twenty One Pilots have over the last two years. Following the release of their third album Vessel in 2013 the group performed with some of the biggest names in alternative music all around the world including Paramore and Fall Out Boy, and now the genre chameleons are back with Blurryface, a record that is nothing short of comprehensive proof of their growth as musicians.
Before I get to my thoughts on the album I firstly want to say that even though I've never found lead singer/guitarist Zac Brown to be a handsome man and I often don't say this, but I love the cover art and dare I say, he even looks a bit powerful and attractive on the cover. The one brown and one blue eye with the switched writing plus the black and white definitely stands out in the sea of albums available at your local record store.
"They’re fresh" is an understatement, and a misinformed statement at that too. Flicker Vertigo, a new psychedelic face in Australia’s psych scene are so new they’ve only been established since the beginning of 2015. Not only is it early days for this groovy gang, the gang is in fact just one man – Nathan Nicholson from Victoria. Late March he released the second album by Flicker Vertigo titled Glow.
British band, Holy Pinto provides a varying amount of musical influences. From the quirkiness of Say Anything to the poetic words of Death Cab For Cutie, this two-piece are the game changer of indie music. With their latest offering of Stenography, it is a short and sweet summation of their sharpness and attitude in their musicianship. Many will delight in this three-song sampler and you'll feel less of a freak knowing that it's possible that a band like this exist and that's pretty fucking cool.
Tyler the Creator’s latest album Cherry Bomb has sorely mistaken anyone who discarded him as ‘just another young rapper’. 24-year-old Tyler is the leader of hip-hop crew Odd Future that boasts the success of names like Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt. The crew are known for pushing boundaries, and Tyler’s third solo album is no different. It is heavily influenced by rock, soul and hip-hop and a stark contrast to his previous records Wolf and Goblin. Cherry Bomb features brass, strings and soulful female vocals, but there are still hard-hitting distorted synths that are an integral part of Tyler’s sound.
Artwork by: Isabella Pagnozzi
For those of you who may be hearing The Luke Louie Trio’s sound for the very first time, this is love to the ears of a blues and rock ‘n’ roll fan. Or simply for anyone who enjoys some good and raw talent… I mean who doesn’t, right?
Much like a painting by Claude Monet, the true beauty of Sufjan Stevens’ last record The Age Of Adz is best realised by stepping back and watching the up close jumble take shape and make sense in its greater landscape. This approach is completely abandoned in Carrie & Lowell, an album that replaces the experimental electronics of its predecessor with complete unmasked vulnerability that demands you stay close and feel every emotionally charged moment.
The reason why Young Fathers are so critically acclaimed is clear – they’re not scared. The attention garnered from winning the Mercury Prize last year for previous record DEAD hasn't changed the strength and ambition of the Scottish trio slightly. They continue to push boundaries and spark conversation with their latest record White Men Are Black Men Too.
If there’s one band you should keep on your radar, it’s Too Close To Touch. With their sounds influenced by bands such as Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens, the Kentucky band are leading the way already with their diverse alternative rock sound. Since the debut of Nerve Endings, they have received such praise among fans and critics that it's safe to say the band know how to make first impressions last. It all comes down to consistency and passion, and Too Close to Touch has both.
Since the success in topping the Billboard charts last week, All Time Low have shown once again that they're champs to the world of pop punk. Following their 2007 breakthrough with So Wrong, It’s Right, it’s been predicted that they were a band destined to ‘fade out’, as contenders of the pop punk scene have a low shelf-life due to mediocrity and lack of experimentation. From their releases of Dirty Work to their 2012 comeback to Hopeless Records with Don’t Panic, they have come out of a ‘music plateau’ with the success garnered from their latest release Future Hearts. From this, we see a band that has consistently put forward an amazing effort in their current discography and with this one, it’s more than just effort - it’s all out of love...
The first time I saw Tom Jenkinson (aka Squarepusher) play live was at the Newtown RSL in Sydney on a cold winter's night nearly 15 years ago. He was running late and there was an eager crowd of around 50 people keen to hear the Warp records breakbeat wunderkind. As the room filled up the lights began to dim, whilst a low static hiss exuded from the bass speakers building into an ear-piercing drone. People were covering their ears as the sound was getting louder and louder - suddenly one of the light bulbs shattered in the chandelier overhead and Squarepusher walked out onto the stage grinning maniacally. Now, I review his latest album Damogen Furies...
Contrary to previous rumours, the insatiably rude, aggressive and sometimes confusing hip hop group Death Grips have released not one single album but a double album for their fans titled The Powers That B. Though the official release date was 31st of March this year a series of leaks meant fans got their hands on both discs as early as mid-March.