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Music Features

Posted 23 Mar 2017 @ 4:00pm

Trying to track both the recording and touring history of Bonnie Raitt is like trying to chart the family tree of the British monarchy – it’s an extensive process, but the results are impressive.

 

The American blues singer has toured extensively for nearly ten months out of each year she’s been active, won ten Grammy Awards and released an arsenal of material. Last year’s Dig In...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 1:14pm

The Tea Party have long been the dark horses of alt-rock.

 

Between 1993 and 2014 their eight albums have studiously refused to be pinned to one style or sound, and even after enjoying mainstream success – like their Canadian number one hit on the rock charts, ‘Heaven Coming Down’ – the trio maintain a mercurial personality. Australia has been a second home (literally, in the...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 12:53pm

When Dorsal Fins burst onto the scene back in 2015 with Mind Renovation, their debut album, they made an immediate impression. Their music seemed to function effortlessly, making all nine of their voices sound as one.

 

Helmed by Liam McGorry of Melbourne’s Eagle and The Worm and Saskwatch, what started out as an exchange of demos between him and songwriters Ella Thompson and...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 12:49pm

Ticket scalping has become a scourge on the music industry, both in Australia and overseas. But fighting the scalpers - and the bots - isn't a simple thing to do, reports JOSEPH EARP.

 

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Bots And Bastards: The Contemporary Scalping Scene

 

“We’re sick and tired of the public being what we believe to be deceived.”
–  Mark Rowe of Her Majesty’s...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 12:10pm

Normally, it’s pretty easy to find Steel Panther – they’re almost always out on the road, taking their OTT glam metal style to their legion of adoring fans.

 

Failing that, they’ll be found in the back corner of some VIP bar, drinking anyone and everyone under the table as the clock ticks over into the early hours. In a rare moment of downtime, however, drummer Stix Zadinia...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 8:00am

Ask anyone – your nanna, a firefighter, that shop window over there – if they’re keen for Bluesfest this year, and you’ll find uniform expressions of terrified excitement.

 

It’s a lineup that strikes fear in the hearts of your enemies, that seduces you oceanside beneath a full moon (even if Neil Young has regretfully...

Posted 18 Mar 2017 @ 11:00am

It would be easy to say that Windhand are a band of contradictions, but really, they’re a band of assertions.

 

With a famously vocal outlook on everything from their own music to their fans and beyond, Windhand are as unique on record as they are in conversation.

 

“The fact I’m sitting here on a Wednesday night talking to someone in Australia is pretty sweet,”...

Posted 16 Mar 2017 @ 3:00pm

Back in 1996, an Aussie band little known to the world was thrust into the international spotlight with the release of its third studio album, Ivy And The Big Apples.

 

Spiderbait became the face of Australian rock, and in many ways, the popularity of grunge took a step back to make way for them. 

 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ivy’s release, Spiderbait are...

Posted 16 Mar 2017 @ 10:00am

Forget everything you know about Spoon. Alright, maybe not everything. They’re still proudly keeping Texas weird.

 

They still feature vocalist/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno, as they’ve done for the entirety of their 24-year lifespan. They’re also still very much in the business of making catchy, bold songs that flirt between avant-garde and accessible. The main...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 3:20pm

The last few years have been hard for the Sydney music scene, with the loss of music venues left, right and centre, and opportunities for up-and-comers thin on the ground.

 

The adversity makes the few local success stories all the more significant for it. 

 

In the past few years, post-rockers Sleepmakeswaves have shouldered their way into the same party as the big...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 2:43pm

“I like rain but I’m over it,” says Boy & Bear’s Tim Hart.

 

“I’m somewhat a nerd that I started fishing this year – I wanted to do something new and all the mindfulness bullshit… it’s gonna make me want to learn, but I can’t fish when it’s raining.”

 

Hart has had some time on his hands lately, and not just because of the recent Sydney downpours. Boy & Bear...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 2:33pm

A hazard of the music journalist’s trade is that rare occasion when you finally get to chat with an artist whose music you’ve long admired, only to discover that in person they’re actually rather bland, or a jerk, or both.

 

Most of the time, the individual behind the art matches your projection. Rarer still are the folks who raise your estimation of them even higher. Holly...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 12:00pm

When vocalist and guitarist Clemens Rehbein met DJ and producer Philipp Dausch on their first day of an advanced music course at the Jacob-Grimm-Schule in Kassel, Germany, no one could have predicted that a few short years later the duo would be known internationally for their distinctive fusion of folk, reggae and electronica.

 

“No one knew anybody because everyone had come...

Posted 9 Mar 2017 @ 2:35pm

What’s on the menu?

 

The restaurant menu lends itself to the exceptional beers on tap. Head Chef Sam Tingle has created a menu focusing on a range of smoked produce, and all the meats are smoked in a Yoder YS1500. The on-tap beers and ferments play a key role in the kitchen, and there are a large array of fresh and lively greens, vibrant salads, homemade sauces and interesting...

Posted 9 Mar 2017 @ 11:57am

For a guy having to endure the repetitive rigmarole of talking to the press, James Mercer seems rather at ease.

 

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that anticipation for The Shins’ fifth album, Heartworms, is running high, and the prospect of catching the New Mexican rockers live as they ramble about their world tour has got plenty of folks excited. But he also just seems like a laid-...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 5:39pm

The members of Melburnian fusion metal giant Twelve Foot Ninja are a lot of things: adept, intelligent songwriters; crass geniuses behind some of the most confrontational and creative Australian music videos of recent memory; and in-yer-face cultural exports making serious waves overseas. 

 

But above everything else, they are also an uncompromising live act. Their raucous, rage-...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 2:11pm

For perhaps the first time in a career spanning over two decades, guitarist, singer and Canadian legend Devin ‘HevyDevy’ Townsend is on the verge of an epiphany.

 

With his latest album from the Devin Townsend Project, the 44-year-old has grown closer than ever to both his bandmates and his audience, with the latter group rapidly expanding.

 

Transcendence is seeing...

Posted 5 Mar 2017 @ 12:00pm

Oslow are a post-punk outfit you may have seen gracing the stages of the outer suburbs of Sydney.

 

The band is a group of long-running friends who came together at the start of this decade to make music. Now, after a series of smaller EP and LP releases, Oslow have released their self-titled debut studio album.

 

“I know when we were first starting out as a band we...

Posted 5 Mar 2017 @ 8:30am

The year was 1992. Over in Albany, a port city in Western Australia, lived two middle-class, folk-singing, guitar-playing sisters.

 

Long before they were in London still, Donna and Vikki Simpson were breaking out of their hometown to travel around and play whatever pub would have them. In their travels, they met a guitar player around the same age, himself chasing the dream of...

Posted 4 Mar 2017 @ 10:00am

Chain and The Gang are one of those bands who genuinely communicate something, rather than simply performing to a passive audience.

 

Their notorious high-energy frontman Ian Svenonius holds this ambition close to his heart – especially following what he claims to be the complete normalisation of indie rock, bound by a culture of middle-class musicians who take themselves way too...

Posted 3 Mar 2017 @ 9:00am

Since the introduction of Sydney’s lockout laws in February 2014, the resistance to Barry O’Farrell’s venue-crushing, live-music-destroying legislation has largely come from one place. 

 

Keep Sydney Open has remained the focal point for all criticism lobbed against the restrictive practices; the laws that have designated a ‘safe zone’ in the city and prevented venues from...

Posted 2 Mar 2017 @ 2:40pm

Methyl Ethel are in hot demand. So much so that Australian audiences won’t be the first to hear their shining new album, Everything Is Forgotten, post-release.

 

Europe, Canada and the US will be treated before the trio return to play Groovin The Moo 2017. However, frontman Jake Webb says their performances at Groovin will be treated the same as their own shows. 

 

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Posted 2 Mar 2017 @ 2:22pm

Hear the phrase ‘brass band’ and you might be excused for conjuring images of swelling marching bands steeped in tradition and ceremonial capacity. For the most part, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

 

Redolent of the bayou’s rich and diverse music history, brass bands have remained a common feature of the Louisiana landscape. You’ll find groups like The Hot 8 Brass Band playing jazz...

Posted 2 Mar 2017 @ 1:54pm

Carus Thompson is a storyteller.

 

Sure, the decorated Australian musician might also be an accomplished guitarist, but more than anything else, what Thompson does is tell tales. His new record, Island, is a testament to that fact: a rich catalogue of lives lived and lost, full of the stark honesty that has long defined his work.

 

Indeed, the stories in Island are...

Posted 2 Mar 2017 @ 10:48am

A thudding, repetitive beat booms its way out of a massive PA. There’s no band – just two wirey blokes on a huge festival stage.

 

One has his hand in his pocket, the other hand nursing a beer as he bobs back and forth to the rhythm. The other is pacing back and forth, all jitters and shakes, before arriving at the microphone stand and bellowing out the words, “FUCK OFF,...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 11:30am

Legend has it that the outlandishly entertaining All Our Exes Live In Texas do not, in fact, hail from Sydney, but instead have their origin on a distant mountaintop, where they survived in a cave for eight eremitic years.

 

There they lived off harmonies and lichen until their musicianship reached an unholy peak and they set off across the land in search of success and bona fide...

Posted 1 Mar 2017 @ 11:07am

It’s hard to imagine the Aussie rock scene in 2017 without Kingswood.

 

It feels like the Melbourne rock outfit have been doing the rounds for ages, and although they first formed in 2005, it was only several years later that they really broke through, courtesy of a swathe of festival shows and relentless touring. 2014 saw the release of their debut album, Microscopic Wars –...

Posted 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:30pm

Melbourne’s cinematic art rockers Fierce Mild have done their homework.

 

They’re set to release a debut LP later in 2017, but in the meantime, ‘Solaris’ is a window into their world. In celebration of their single launch tour, they share with us their five favourite unsigned bands in Australia, and the best tracks from each.

 

So without further ado, here’s the...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 10:26am

Last week, the Sydney Opera House was officially fined $15,000 for breaching noise restrictions during a 2015 Florence + The Machine show.

 

Four Florence + The Machine gigs were held in the Opera House forecourt in November 2015, a mere week after widespread complaints by punters that volume levels were...

Posted 24 Feb 2017 @ 11:00am

Ah, the ’80s – when the hair was high and the heels were even higher.

 

It was a time when masculinity could be found within a feminine shell, as pretty boys donned lipstick onstage while they riffed through guitar-heavy songs about girls and getting wasted. 

 

There’s something different to be said, however, for Thunder, who never partook in the mainstream...

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