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. 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.
Already topping the Australian charts since its release, Gang of Youths present a warmth and fiery-edge to the indie scene of music with their debut album, The Positions. Full of raw emotion, an atmosphere of storytelling is played out in each track, with intricate and striking lyrics that you don't need to relate to to understand. In the words of Dave Le'aupepe and his band, love is seen as perfect but through it all, there are imperfections that can lead to darkness and what this record translates to is finding hope in the constant battle of chaos we call our lives.
Everybody knows I have a thing for Scandinavian indie. Swedish indie exports are at an all-time high at the moment and leading the assault are quality acts like electro-pop duo Say Lou Lou. Despite spending well over 90% of their time in Stockholm, it’s also interesting to note that twin sisters Miranda and Elektra Kibley-Janssen are one-half Aussie. It’s only minimal I know, but in their latest effort Lucid Dreaming, there’s something inherently ‘Triple-J-esque’ about it all and on first listen I’d be proud as all hell to claim even 1% of it as Australian made.
As the best thing to come out of Alabama since Forrest Gump, Alabama Shakes have had many expectations placed upon them since their formation in 2009. Tearing stages and festivals apart, while receiving endless praise for their debut album Boys & Girls, the four piece lead by front-woman Brittany Howard return with Sound & Color, a much more coherent and heavier release. While maintaining the honest howling vocals of Howard that were present on their debut, Sound & Color is a much grungier and progressive LP, that is both true to their roots while showcasing the path they are currently heading down.
There's no denying that now is a pop golden age in Sweden. Its artists - think Robyn, Tove Lo, Icona Pop - and more importantly its producers, Max Martin and Johann Shellback, have dominated and furthered the genre in a way that no other country has done for decades. In particular, Martin and Shellback have leant their Midas touch to most of the biggest pop hits of the last few years, most recently being involved with Taylor Swift's excellent 1989 record. It's in this hotbed of pop ingenuity that Kate Boy have now found themselves...
Sometimes overt politics in music are kind of awkward because they're so earnest and I don't know if we do earnest anymore... but at the same time they're nice to hear. A lot of what's happening in Australia right now is pretty much the exact conditions that spawned punk, and it's great to see some punk bands heading back to that - less 'yeah mate let's get pissed' and more 'legitimately pissed off'. Super Best Friends is that band, and on their new album Status Updates it is good.
There’s something about Fictionist that is promising and to have that potential makes their music something to look forward to. Unfortunately, their self-titled album doesn't highlight their best work as some songs are of mediocre quality. The band have succeeded on their own terms by being part of the SXSW festival and for them to get that kind of exposure into the music world is an achievement itself. With their indie-alternative roots, I see a band that has a lot to learn from their work, but that also has a lot of potential.
Recent visitors to our shores for Soundwave, Raglans have found themselves touted as a “next big thing” band back in their home country of Ireland. The indie rock quartet have already found themselves on some high profile tours at home, and around the UK, supporting the likes of Haim, The Libertines and fellow Irishmen The Strypes. Somehow in between all that touring, the band has found the time to record and release their self-titled debut record.
The term Kintsugi is a beautiful one (the Japanese word for the art of mending broken pottery) and as the title of Death Cab For Cutie's eighth studio album it's a good indication of where the band stands in both sadness and heartache. 2011’s Codes and Keys, brought an upbeat indie rock style but now, since the many changes over the last year, the band have officially translated all their feelings about everything that's happened in one record.
Sydney act Nantes have been in and around the local music scene for a few years now and are looking to cement their position within the landscape with their new EP Limbo. Far removed from previous releases, Limbo is a much more cohesive record that touches on heavier topics and is both thematically and lyrically much more darker than the group's earlier work.
Our most-loved songs are often from a heartbroken man. And while Goon has an undoubtedly autobiographic touch to it, Tobias Jesso Jr at least takes on the persona of any sad lover pining helplessly for what once was. Sure a whole album dedicated to heartbreak has its melodrama, but Jesso Jr brought his real-life experience to song writing and the marriage of straight-talk lyrics and a vintage orchestral touch has somewhat of a soundtrack quality.