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Album Review: Beach Slang - Broken Thrills (2015 LP)

So apparently Beach Slang are from Philadelphia, but their album Broken Thrills sounds somehow very English. I'm guessing that they listened to a lot of The Clash growing up, or at least the lead singer did. There's a fuzzy, old school feeling to all of Broken Thrills, from the early-days-of-surf-punk drums to the growly, Joe Strummer vocals. There's a sense of basement shows and worn leather jackets spread pretty liberally over the (fairly short) album.

Album Review: Best Coast - California Nights (2015 LP)

For a band to be named Best Coast, it was inevitable that they’d release a summer-tinged album that would fit well within any coastal community’s aesthetics, whether that be north, south, east or west coasts. And so it is here, on the band’s third LP, that they’ve put together an album of warmth and fuzz, the aptly named California Nights.

Album Review: Eliza Hull - The Bones of Us (2015 LP)

Melbournite Eliza Hull is making waves for all the right reasons and her April release The Bones of Us proves that she is definitely one who should be on everyone's radar. On first impressions - of this album and of the artist - Eliza Hull is funky, full flawless vocal goodness and groovy as all hell!

Album Review: Temple Songs - Atonal Noise (2015 LP)

Manchester-based Temple Songs do not sound at all like their band name suggests - but the surprise is a welcome one. On Atonal Noise the pace barely stops, nor do the nods to mid-century icons like The Red Krayola, The Beatles and The Gods. Their affinity for lo-fi production, paired with an eagerness to redefine the classic, culminates in twenty minutes of spirited, crowd-pleasing energy.

Album Review: Florence And The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015 LP)

Florence Welch, of Florence And The Machine, is like some kind of post-modern Stevie Nicks in her explicit witch phase. She's like a Southern Gothic Persephone, and she writes these orchestral, sprawling albums about devils and goddesses and dreams and feelings so deep, so dark and so complex that they can only be conveyed via organ music complete, of course, with a 100 piece gospel chorus. She's the aural representation of an aesthetic tumblr blog.

Album Review: Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp (2015 LP)

Folk is definitely not my thing, so prior to coming across Ivy Tripp I’d never listened to or indeed heard of Waxahatchee. Waxahatchee - the alias of American musician Katie Crutchfield - is onto her third album with Ivy Tripp, and her experience shines throughout her latest release.

Album Review: Ben Salter - The Stars My Destination (2015 LP)

Ben Salter is a singer/songwriter completely comfortable in his own skin. His second solo album The Stars My Destination projects a big band sound upon what are essentially beautifully written pop songs. Memorable vocal melodies and uplifting open chord progressions are on show throughout this album, but I’d be selling the track list short to suggest Salter is just your average Australiana storyteller with an acoustic guitar on hand; there are a multitude of instrumental layers on this album, all of which emanate a gripping emotional hold.

Album Review: Girlpool - Before The World Was Big (2015 LP)

They might sound nostalgic, but Girlpool - comprised of L.A.’s Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad - are the kind of duo that could only exist right now. Reminiscent of Liz Phair, Shampoo and even contemporaries like Frankie Cosmos, Girlpool present the raw honesty that audiences have come to expect from modern female artists but take it further with their voices never being hidden behind drums; their harmonies only accompanied by bass and guitar.

Album Review: Professor Caffeine and the Insecurities – Comic Book (EP 2015)

With a name like Professor Caffeine and the Insecurities how could AU go past these Boston-based prog-rock boys. Earlier this month the four piece band released their first EP, not self-titled as you might expect but called Comic Book. You can name your price for this bad boy at their band camp, and receive five tracks of yelling, thumping and at least 40% guitar strumming. They even describe themselves as yelling experts.

Album Review: Sea Cycles - Ground & Air (2015 LP)

Sea Cycles are an ambient synth-pop quartet out of Jacksonville, Florida. Up until now I'd never associated Jacksonville (or Florida in general) with dreamscape synth bands (I mostly associate Florida with serial killers and old people), but apparently at least one good example of the sound has come out of the Jacksonville scene...

Album Review: Pennywise - Yesterdays (2014 LP)

Pennywise have been around for ages and it’s amazing to think that they have been one of the influential bands that have shaped the punk rock scene of today. For their music to still mean something, says a lot about their reputation. Being a band for over twenty years and having eleven studio albums, this is not only a reflection of their career longevity but it also shows their genuine commitment as musicians. Last year, they released their album Yesterdays with former and original vocalist Jim Lindberg after Zoli Téglás departure as lead singer of two years due to back injury. With punk bands like Green Day and The Offspring hitting the mainstream attention and signing with major labels, Pennywise chose to stay with Epitaph Records. Truth be told, you don’t need a major record deal to speak your mind through your music.

Album Review: Alyx Dennison – Self-Titled (2015 EP)

Following a brief stint in the promising duo Kyu, Alyx Dennison has transitioned to solo artistry with style. Her self-titled debut EP channels profound emotion in both cryptic tangles and nonchalant verse. Seamless production allows the track list to ebb and flow across various genres whilst surging with wacky creativity.

Album Review: Mumford & Sons - Wilder Mind (2015 LP)

Many a band have been faced with the difficult task of changing their sound to meet the demands of the ever changing preferences of their fans and the wider music community. While some may decide to maintain the same instrumental line up and instead change the scope, lyrical content or aural aesthetics of their sounds, Mumford & Sons have gone with a complete about face, moving in a decidedly different direction for their third album Wilder Mind.

Album Review: The StoneWolf Band - Fear Less (2014 LP)

the stonewolf band fear less

Fear Less is the debut album from Portuguese band The StoneWolf Band, who we first met in Singapore last year. The band describes themselves as “mothered by folk and fathered by rock, adding glimpses of blues and reggae in their quest to find the groove.” It doesn’t take long listening to their debut effort to realise this is an accurate description of the band's sound.

Album Review: Martin Gore - M.G. (2015 LP)

Martin Gore is one of the founding members and songwriters of Depeche Mode, a band that has been together for three and a half decades and are one of the biggest cult acts on the planet. They had a huge influence on me when I was young (many moons ago) and essentially shaped my tastes in music today. M.G. is Gore's third solo work, following the cover albums Counterfeit and Counterfeit 2. Unlike his previous two releases, M.G. is entirely instrumental and was conceived during the recording process of Depeche Mode's 2013 LP Delta Machine where he felt there was enough material for a solo album.