Single Review: Ukiyo – ‘Go’ feat. Chymes

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With an ephemeral sounding track layered over wistful vocals Ukiyo – Go feat. Chymes takes the listener on a journey of sound, carrying them to a mythical place of everlasting sunsets, mountains and dreamscapes.

The single glides effortlessly along the soundscape to whisk you away on a gentle summer zephyr like a cherry blossom and remind the listener of how life is fleetingly beautiful.

The vocals provided by Chymes accompany this track to make the listener feel both chilled out and comforted at the same time.  It manages to calm and make the listener feel nostalgic for those balmy summer nights all at the same time, when the drinks flow as freely as the music on the breeze does and the wind whistles through your hair.

A marvelous new release from  Ukiyo the track is a stunning piece of music, perfectly recorded and produced by the Perth artist.

Make sure to watch the equally as stunning video.

“Go was a track that came about after my first Melbourne show last year.  It was my first Ukiyo show outside of my hometown and the first time I’d flown for ages.  Being up there is always a harsh reminder of how small we are.. the idea was centred around a feeling of adventure and the possibility of happiness out of sadness.  It’s about fixing relationships, whether that be with yourself, someone you love, or something you love.”
 

 

 

TOUR DATES:
SAT 12 MAY | GROOVIN THE MOO, BUNBURY WA | ALL AGES
Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets
SAT 26 MAY | ART BALL, PERTH WA | 18+
Tickets available from www.artball.com.au | 9492 6761
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Album Review: Kylie Minogue ‘GOLDEN’

 

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Golden is the latest release from the Eternal Princess of Pop, Kylie Minouge and  is Kylie’s first studio album in four years, and her fourteenth studio album in a record breaking career. The album was mainly recorded in Nashville, which was a first for Kylie- and the country influence sure has its impact on this album.

Opening with the catchy lead single “Dancing” the album starts off promising
to be another high- octane dance album from Kylie. However, the influence of recording in Nashville for the first time seems to have had quite an impact and as the album progresses, there is a distinct country feel.

“Shelby ‘68” and slow starter “Radio On” are where the Nashville influence comes out the strongest, the latter being a slower ballad in the style of Faith Hill and is a refreshing change of pace.

Having recently split from her fiancée it would have been easy for Kylie to make an album of regret- drenched clichéd love ballads, lamenting the loss. But, for anyone that has followed her career and personal life over the years, that kind of album would not be her style. In this album she shows that she is the kind of Queen that picks herself up, straightens her crown and just gets on with it.

Even with “One Last Kiss” she isn’t angry – just a little wistful about the past and it’s a positive spin on heartbreak. She laments that there isn’t much she can do, but to just keep going. It’s a classy way to say goodbye to old love and shows a mature Kylie. Its admirable that she hasn’t recorded an album full of anger and regret unlike many of her contemporaries. With the slower “Music is too sad without you” she still has the ability to make love seem like a beautiful lesson, teaming up with Jack Savoretti for the beautiful ballad.

Lead single “Dancing” is sure to become the summer hit for the clubs in Ibiza, anthemic in its production and ever so catchy. Its signature Kylie, full of pep and catchy hooks to make you want to do what the title suggest- dance. Not to be overlooked, the equally fun “Raining Glitter” is another to make shake your hips, when the beat drops.

The album overall is a lot of fun with a mix of high octane dance hits and slower reflective numbers, and it has a lot of heart. Hats off to Kylie for making an album that celebrates life and love, for picking herself up and straightening her crown and doing so with grace and dignity.

Words by Amanda Lee Starkey

Album Review: Shiva and the Hazards ‘future cult classics’

 

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Shiva and the Hazards ‘future cult classics’

How hard is it to make a diverse record that still sounds coherent as a whole?

It’s a struggle many bands fail to master.

Shiva and the Hazards from Melbourne are none of them. With their debut EP Future Cult Classics, Shiva and the Hazards managed to create a great multifaceted record including four completely different songs that still come down to a certain corporate sound. And the title won’t fail to keep its word.

The EP opens with their lead single East India Empress whose funky intro riff is evocative of the Cornershops song Brimful of Asha. East India Empress has certainly psychedelic qualities which reminds on early Pink Floyd or Tame Impala and switches between bemused verses, heavy choruses and strong chord progressions in between. Shiva and the Hazards created here a catchy banger which doesn’t seem get boring anytime soon. Thanks to a couple of dynamical shifts and a complex but not overly intellectual song structure East India Empress won’t fail to impress with great variety.

False Prophets, by contrast, is more of a blues rock song which focuses on a smashing acoustic guitar throughout the song. On Queen without a King Shiva and the Hazards stick to the acoustic guitar and came up with a entirely acoustic song. The cozy and dreamy guitar picking gives you a slight Brit pop feeling which makes you think of when Sticky Fingers were covering DMA’s Delete. Compared to the first to songs singer Doug explores a different scope, singing way smoother.

The EP finally finishes with My Dear Mary Anne, a hypnotic Shoegaze/Dreampop tune with a static Drum’n’Bass drumbeat. With this last song Shiva and the Hazards wander on the path of Sleep Party People and The Naked And Famous.

Shiva and the Hazards show on their debut EP that they’re able to operate on a wide scale across different genres without making it sound any weird, but very natural. All in all they created here a psychedelic and dreamy masterpiece which keeps you even more excited the more you listen to it. It’s definitely a record that will rotate on the music device of your choice for quite a bit!

Like they said… Future Cult Classics.

Words by Tim Fischer

Single Review: ‘Healing of the Heartbeat’ – Tom Richardson

 

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Single Review: ‘Healing of the Heartbeat’ – Tom Richardson

The kind of track that makes you desperate to take a morning dip in the big blue and then curl up on the beach and have a big ol’ stretch and a cup of coffee under the soft sunlight. Too specific?
Tom Richardson’s little teaser single ‘Healing of the Heartbeat’ of his yet to be released EP, Promise of the Light, sends an important reminder to slow down, take it easy and become grounded. The track was released on the 6th of April and delves into the notion of the mind and heart in conversation, and the need to stop, breathe and become present.

“Baby come back home, to the healing of the heartbeat”, displays a wonderful notion of how the consistent and rhythmic beat of your own heart can make you realise you are at home in yourself, and a little reminder that you are alive.

Tom Richardson presents some serious Jack Johnson-esque vocal styles and rhythmic acoustic guitar patterns. It’s slow paced, soothing and has repetitive percussive elements, including a shaker and taps on the guitar, alongside quick, steady finger-picks on the acoustic guitar and bass guitar. The imagery within the lyrics present a unique characteristic within Richardson, including his raw vocals. His vocal style presents the timbre and nuance of someone who has been broken and healed time and again. The four part vocal harmony and multiple guitar sections and percussive elements are created using a loop pedal, which shows his comfort and strengths in his style, and his immense talent in creating a soundscape filled with personality on his own.

Richardson’s laid back nature combined with his unique style and lyrics is what makes ‘Healing of the Heartbeat’ so addictive and easy-listening. His EP Promise of the Light is out on the 18th of May, and he will be touring nationally later this year. Now for that dip in the ocean.


Promise of the Light is out Friday 18 May and will be toured nationally in late 2018. Tom will celebrate the launch of the new single with select shows this April. Catch him at:

Apr 6: No.
5 Church St, Bellingen NSW (w/ Benny Walker)
Apr 7: The Rhythm Hut, Gosford NSW (w/ Benny Walker)

Apr 8: The Birdhouse, Wagga Wagga NSW (w/ Benny Walker)

Apr 14: The Turf Club, Alice Springs NT (w/ Benny Walker)

Apr 15: Memo Music Hall, Melbourne VIC (w/ Benny Walker)

Apr 20 – 22: Fairbridge Music Festival, WA

Tickets and details at 
https://www.tomrichardsonmusic.net

Single Review: “Mama Said” – Arig

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Arig, an Eritrean woman creating soul-stirring and emotive music, has just released a beautiful single, “Mama Said”. It embodies the intricacies of home life and the ways it can overwhelm and shape you.

The track begins with steady synth beats, like an unnerving adrenaline rush before introducing Arig’s haunting and angelic “oohs”.
Her warm, soulful vocals are ethereal and the multi-tracked harmonics that ring behind spoken word lyrics are chilling. The chorus, “Mama said run”, delivers such a daunting notion and the vocals are accompanied by deep pounding synths that almost urge you to run. The following words “from you” provides a profound self-realisation that the only person that can shape your life is you. Incredible heart-rending emotions that are so beautifully presented through heavy synths, emotive vocals and breathtaking harmonies.

Arig’s vocals end abruptly as the track ends and slowly fades out with heavily distorted and static synths. Arig’s awe-inspiring single has a powerful, emotive and deeply personal meaning. Her fearlessness and confidence in sharing her story is admirable and is shown so wonderfully through her unique vocals and artistry. This could very well be your new favourite song.

Words by Kat Tame

 

Live Review: BLUESFEST

 

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Its been hailed as one of the best music festivals in the country and having recently won a string of awards, its easy to see why.  The longest running music festival in Australia celebrated a whopping 29 years this year, bringing with it a stellar line up of big stars and a few smaller acts to delight patrons with a massive five days of music.

Rain bucketed down for most of the opening day, but it wasn’t much of a deterrent for crowds crammed under tents to witness their favorite musicians in action. Steve Smyth got things kicked off under the Jambalaya dome, quickly followed by Triple J darlings Holy Holy.

Always a festival favorite, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real delivered yet again. Proving he is a stellar guitarist Lukas impresses with his ability to captivate an audience.  Rag N Bone man brings  deep soul to the stage, with an impressive set of pipes.

For the serious music lovers Gomez delivered music at its finest whilst Newton Faulker made a return to the stage after a long absence. Leon Bridges paced the Mojo stage like a hungry tiger looking for prey.  Now if it was dancing you were after the New Power Generation were in the house to make that happen. If cool vibes were more your thing then The Wailers had everyone covered as they played tribute and kept the legend of Bob Marley alive ( amidst a cloud of smoke).

Tash Sultana the Triple J fan favorite sets up her huge solo ensemble and rather aggressively tells fans her rules of attending “her” gig. What she sadly fails to realize is that this is Byron Bay, the most accepting crowd in the world and her aggression and anger are somewhat superfluous. Drop the anger and play some music, stop forcing your beliefs on others and let whatever music talent you have speak for itself is the general consensus. Its disappointing to say the least and her attitude and use of foul language needs adjusting.  The love of music has no place for anger at Bluesfest.

The Original Blues Brothers Band rounded out the evening to bring home a rather wet, muddy yet enjoyable opening day and we are all ready for the music tomorrow.

By Friday afternoon the rain had cleared up, and whilst the mud lingered guitar aficionado Harts set the stage on fire, seemingly channeling both Prince and Jimmi Hendrix simultaneously.

Latin American heartthrob Juanes thrusted his way into the hearts of thousands of screaming fans over at Crossroads, the man didn’t even need to speak and there were screams galore. An impressive display of guitar and Latin American soul on display for fans and lovers alike.

Under the Delta Stage Newton Faulkner the charismatic Englishman displayed some very impressive finger work on his acoustic guitar, flashing a killer smile at the audience and encouraging participation from everyone. His rendition of Massive Attack’s ‘ Teardrop’ a show stopper.

Africa’s finest Youssour N’Dour entered the arena in colorful Senegalese dress, the most famous African singer amazing audiences with not only his voice, but the traditional dancers that back flipped onto the stage to a collective gasp.

When Ms. Lauryn Hill failed to enter the stage, keeping fans waiting for over half an hour the crowd became restless with anticipation and booing rang out across the grounds. The singer seemed somewhat distracted during the set, yelling at back up singers and angrily gesturing at the band whilst mopping her face with a towel. Nobody on that stage was having fun, but the crowd seemed to be.  It was the only low light in an otherwise perfect day of music.

The sun rose over the tents for the third day and we were once again treated to an incredible day of music as the mud began to dry and the clouds had all but gone.

If you’ve never heard the music of David Bowie sung in Brazilian Portuguese then you’ve never heard anything like the incredible Seu Jorge. Its mesmerizing and poignantly beautiful all at the same time. Its a pity more Australian’s don’t know of the singer, this is a moment to be remembered.

Up on stage for their set Con Brio make things look flawless lead singer Ziek McCarter is the embodiment of soul, his moves captivating and his charisma infectious.  He takes flight on more than one occasion, his moves expertly times yet seemingly effortless – this guy was born to fly.

Rounding out the evening Michael Franti & Spearhead whip the crowd into an almost cult like frenzy as the singer invites children to the stage to participate, he walks among the crowd, people religiously following his every move.

Sunday hails more encore performances from Seu Jorge, Steve Smyth, Lukas Nelson and Yirrimal. If you had missed any of them the previous day then today is the day to catch them or just revel in greatness once more.  The beauty of Bluesfest is that each day you might see someone again, however its always guaranteed to be a fresh performance, different to the previous.

By the time the sun sets Seal is more than ready to wow audiences with  his amazing voice. Before the Tv Show ‘ The Voice’ made him a household name Seal was better known for his beautiful renditions of swing music and his number one hit ‘ Kiss from a Rose’ which he sings beautifully. He’s got the moves and the suaveness down pat.

Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow represent two amazing women that also happen to be exceptional guitarists. With careers that have spanned several decades respectively the  women both show no signs of slowing down.

As John Butler Trio wows audiences with his impressive set, he also manages to turn the performance into a chance to use his voice to speak for those who can’t. Inviting a slew of performers on stage including Lukas Nelson, Steve Smyth and Michael Franti  they unfurl a massive banner in protest of the proposed Adani Mine. Its a moment that will go down in history when musicians came together to use their platform for the greater good and help save Mother Earth from the destruction the mine would create.

Not to be missed, Morcheeba is breathtaking in red, her angelic voice the perfect way to round out the evenings events. Captivating and resembling some kind of ancient Goddess, Skye Edwards is perfection on stage.

Its down to the final day and Haley Grace and the Bay Collective open the afternoon’s events on the Crossroads stage. A collective of local musicians each bringing a unique skill to the set.

Later in the afternoon Dan Sultan rocks out, his guitar getting a good work out. There isn’t much to mention other than this guy knows how make a Gibson sound good.

Jamaican royalty Jimmy Cliff is the undisputed King of reggae, the 70 year old seated for the first  few songs, including a beautiful rendition of ‘ Rivers of Babylon’ with not much more than a djembe to accompany him.  When he stands its clear to all that he is enjoying the performance and soaking in the love from the crowd, and its rather endearing. He runs a little over time, but its easy enough to forgive when it may just be the last time he graces the Bluesfest stage, so the crowd let him enjoy the moment. Dressed in black and gold, he is a King among men.

Lionel Ritchie brings Vegas feels to the Mojo arena with his sequined jackets and dance moves. He’s here to entertain ‘All night long’ if need be. Its a little bit of Vegas showmanship right up on the main stage, with glitz and glamour.

Once again Morcheeba close the evening and dressed in a different yet equally as breathtaking in red. Skye Edwards proves that beauty, grace, a voice of an angel and a splendid wardrobe are what it takes to make a performance memorable.

For 29 years Bluesfest as bought some of the biggest acts to the coastal town of Byron Bay. What makes the festival so amazing is not only the music, its the atmosphere, the queuing in line for the best damn doughnuts you’ll ever eat, the dancing, the making of new friends whilst waiting for your fave band to start. Its the mud, the food court where everyone gathers for a feed and most of all its about discovering new music that you might not have listened to before. All of these things and more makes it not only the best festival on the music calendar, but one everyone can’t wait 365 days to attend again.

Words and images by Amanda Lee Starkey

 

Movie Review: Ready Player One

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Ben Mendelsohn brings much-needed menace to lightweight dystopian adventure
It’s 2045 and America is a multi-storied trailer park slum where every day is grey and dirty, but no one seems to care because we’re all spending every waking moment plugged into a virtual alternate reality called Oasis where you can do and be anyone if you have coin.
For real-life teen loser, Wade Watts, played by pillow-lipped rising star, Ty Sheridan, what matters is finding three keys that unlock the Easter Egg (an in-game present) left by game creator James Halliday on his death bed, played by Mark Rylance channelling Garth from Wayne’s World. The winner of the game wins absolute ownership of the Oasis and a life of riches and privilege.
Wade is joined in his quest by his virtual Goonies called the High Five and is hunted in the real world by very bad guy Nolan Sorrento, the CEO of IOI corporation (Google? Facebook?) who wants to win the game and fill it with advertising. Sorrento, played with escalating menace by Ben Mendelsohn, has an avatar in the game that’s a mix of Don Draper and cartoon superman.
Every player has an avatar that may or may not look like them. Avatars never share their real names or locations. In the hunt for the egg Wade meets and falls for fellow ‘gunter’ Art3mis who wants the prize to take down IOI that enslaved her father and thousands of others who are forced to pay off their debts by playing Oasis for the corporation while living in prison-like conditions.
The plot is simple – win game, get girl, crush baddy – but there is so much quest and counter-quest going on that the film seems bloated despite well over 2 hours running time. It’s a trilogy stuffed into one film.
You’re flipping between the cartoonish virtual action and the real world cartoonish action. You’re watching a quest, a love story, a bromance, the regrets of Halliday, the torrent of 80s games references. You’re meeting virtual players and their real selves in a speedy blur between fights in both universes.
It’s difficult to care for the characters as they look and act different in each realm and in the real world they’re often covered by goggles and tech. Plus everything vaguely feels like we’ve seen it before – the avatars look like Final Fantasy and feel like Surrogates, the huge battle scene at the end like Lord of the Rings meets Transformers.
Then there’s the endless 80’s movie, game and song call-backs. There’s no point keeping track as you’re bound to miss many (if you’re young and not a fanboy) and there were many moments where sections of the audience laughed while others looked on bemused and excluded. I suggest you see the Shining at least before you go, if not the entire Spielberg back-catalogue.
Without question Ready Player One is a fun and rollicking ride.
But if you were moved by the original book by Ernest Cline, like I was, and you’re expecting a gritty dystopian sci fi where the themes of social exclusion, class, gaming culture and corporate corruption are explored, then you’ll be disappointed.
See the movie for fun but read the book after.
3/5 (or 5/5 for 80s fans and gamers)
Words by Irena Bee

Album Review: MC WHEELS ‘THE DARKSIDE OF HAPPINESS’

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Brisbane is home to many a good musician, with a scene that is well developed. Its on the streets of Brisbane that Hip Hop artist MC Wheels experiences his life, putting his voice behind ‘ Dark side of Happiness’

The album opens with ‘ Been Awhile’ to remind listeners that the MC is back behind the mic and ready to go. It starts the album off with pomp and a killer horn section to announce his arrival. He’s back and ready to let you know his passion and fire are back with a vengeance.

With the track ‘ Love Story’ we see a softer side to the rapper, a love song of sorts and an ode to a beautiful girl. Its the only time on the album he visits the theme of love and he does it with fun and honesty.

In ‘ Letter from Heaven’ he raps about the difficult topic of bullying and depression. Its a candid view into the soul of a man whose faced pain and troubles. He opens up with brutal honesty about the dark effects that bullying had on his soul, the sorrow palpable.

‘ Negative Thoughts’ carries on with the dark theme, the opening drum beat ominous and dark in its tone. These are darker themes, however when listening one feels as though these are confessions from a young man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, yet with the creative outlet that is music he is able to express himself so poininatly.

The overall themes of the album are darker and reflective in their nature, and with ‘ The Real World’ MC Wheels reflects on the harm we inflict on each other and the pain we cause. He laments about how the human species is wiping ourselves out. The lyrics are thoughtful, provoking and evocative, showing he is clearly a deep thinker.

When MC Wheels puts pen to paper he writes about issues that matter to him. Whether its his personal pain and struggles or the softer topic of love he articulates his views on life through his music. He doesn’t posture about bitches and money, like other hip hop artists tend to do, instead he keeps it real and relevant. His music is enjoyable, yet attainable and he’s not pretending to be someone he’s not. He’s a young man on the streets of Brisbane, living life the best he can and that is what comes across in his music. The authenticity is refreshing and real.

Its his authenticity is what makes this album so brilliant. Its relevant and idenifiable whilst managing to retain credibiltiy. Whilst some hip hop artists might not have made the change to more modern Australian hip hop, MC Wheels proves that you can write about what you connect with and do a darn good job of it.

This is hip hop how it should be.

 

Words by Amanda Lee Starkey

ALBUM REVIEW : NEVERMEANT “true angst has always been true home” EP

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NEVERMEANT
true angst has always been true home
Remember Emo? And I don’t mean all those kids with black dyed hair and drainpipe jeans walking around in checkerboard Vans Slip-On in the early 2000s. When Nevermeant are claiming to make emo great again they’re talking about the its more edgy 90’s roots. They’re talking about unbalanced guitars and vocals. They’re talking about Sunny Day Real Estate and American Football.

Clearly influenced from the latter (they named themselves after American Football’s most known song) the German four-piece kicks off their debut EP with a very smooth and melancholy AF-ish intro for their song Books In My Bed. Abrupt distortion guitars lead into a calm verse building
itself gradually up until the anthemic chorus kicks in with lead singer Chris shouting out the EPs title: True Angst Has Always Been True Home.

Throughout the EP Nevermeant are trying to move between quiet, more playful and loud, uptempo passages which allows them do explore more complex song structures. Sunday combines the best of this two worlds by playing with almost stubborn chord progressions complemented with smart guitar licks throughout the whole song which award the song the certain something.
Thematically the EP screams out the fear of being left. Vocally the songs unfortunately won’t quitlive up to the mood created by lyrics and sound. At a couple of moments the vocals feel just too slick and you miss a certain level of imbalance. This strikes especially during the loud choruses when the refrains are being shout out, not completely convincing. But even this won’t harm ones general view on this ambitious debut release with which Nevermeant wander on the trail of classic Emo.
Make sure to do your ears a favor and listen to True Angst Has Always Been True Home.

Words by Tim Fischer

For your eyes you should also check out the video for their song Winterblues:

Album Review: The Elk Collective : Big Trouble

 

 

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The Elk Collective have come together to create a sound that is nostalgic and some what reminiscent of early 90s hard core on their debut EP ‘ Big Trouble’.  The band claim to be jokers and an ‘all-bullshit band’ but there is nothing bullshit about the debut EP from the Sydney band.

The self- confessed ” essentially two mediocre vocalists trying to cover up their lack of talent with jokes and an amazing drummer”  have succinctly described their sound so there are no surprises here as to what to expect.

With ‘ Chokkas’ the band live up to their own description with exceptional drumming the real stand out here. Dirty vocals are in your face for sure, however there has to be a mention of the exceptional guitar that is going along in the background.  Its more subtle than the powerful drums, however it does rate a mention.

Third track “Moshpittin on your Toenails” tricks you into thinking that it might be a little slow with a nice melodic intro, but then slams right into killer drums and takes off running. This is the quintessential mosh pit song and the licks just make you want to smash into things at full pace, hoping not to hurt yourself but OK if you do.

“Muscle Up Buttercup” is a prime example of how the band manage to blend the dirty gritty vocals of Matt and work them in with Dwayne’s more melodic voice, creating the perfect balance. Its reminiscent of early Butterfly Effect, yet manages to remain current and expertly layered, whilst maintaining an element of melodic harmony in the guitar work.

Whilst the EP has that nostalgia feel there is a lot of brilliant guitar work going on here  the band have kept production simple – which is nice. You get the feeling that the band don’t need the bells and whistles of loops, layers and delays. Anything too fancy would detract from the raw authentic sound that they are creating. To see them play live you would more than likely get the exact sound that you hear on the EP and this is a refreshing change to some of the music that is out there.

“Big Trouble” sticks to six short and sweet songs, enough to whet your appetite and is a nice offering from the Sydney band, giving listeners a keen eagerness for more. By the time the EP comes to a close you’ll be about ready to chuck on a black shirt and flanno and head out the door to let out some energy in the nearest mosh pit.

‘Big Trouble’ is out Friday March 16 (and available for pre-order now on iTunes!) and single ‘Moshpittin’ on your Toenails’ is on Spotify right now. For more information, go to facebook.com/theelkcollective

Words by Amanda Lee Starkey

 

Album Review: “You’re Not Alone” – Andrew W.K.

 

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If you’re a big fan of Andrew W.K., well you’re in luck because he just brought out another album that may literally help you get through all of those troubles that built up while waiting six whole years for more music from him. If you’re not a fan, well, join the bandwagon my friend, because you’re in for one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride.

His new album, “You’re Not Alone”, released on March 2nd is a compilation of intense musical and theatrical productions with feel-good titles and self-help lyrics that make you feel annoyed and patronized at the same time. The first song of the album, “The Power of Partying” sounds like you’ve just entered a 90s video game that you may never be allowed to leave. It’s completely instrumental, filled to the brim with dramatic trills and crescendos against a brass band and then of course, an epic electric guitar solo accompanied by tom-tom crashes. If the album’s cover art doesn’t spell out for you, this album is a little over the top.

Andrew W.K was well known back in the day for his immense amount of talent, being a multi-instrumentalist, and just being a seriously cool musician. “You’re Not Alone” is his first album release since 2012, and although he may be talented, it just reeks of too much time and too much money.

“Music is Worth Living For” is the second track on the album. The lyrics are triumphant and poetic, and the electric guitar is wild as he shreds alongside gospel harmonies and chanted choruses that scream “music is worth living for” many times. Although, that comment should maybe be a little more subjective next time. Not to be fooled as the most over the top track of the album, fifth track of the album, “The Feeling of Being Alive” is a spoken monologue to help guide you through your fears in life. The track is baffling and just adds to the severely thematically disjointed essence of the album.

“Party Mindset” provides us with Pac-Man beeps, pop-drenched piano chords as W.K continues to wow us with his electric guitar riffs. It’s a turnaround, emotionally and ends in another tremendous guitar solo. The album is lengthy, continuing on with more uplifting titles such as “The Devil’s on Your Side” and “Total Freedom”, and it ends with title track, “You’re Not Alone”.  It’s huge, to say the least. It’s empowering and makes you feel like you’ve finally come to an end, until W.K. screams to you that “your journey’s not over, it’s just begun”, which again, is accompanied by a wild electric guitar solo. Although an incredibly nice gesture, it’s unfortunately not Andrew W.K.’s best work, and you probably won’t see “You’re Not Alone” on the shelves as the best-selling self-help album of the year.

Words by Kat Tame

Album Review: Glen Hansard – “Between Two Shores” 

 

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Oscar and Grammy-award winner Glen Hansard returns with a full session band to present his third solo album, “Between Two Shores”. A collection of heart wrenching break up songs that takes you through a whirlpool of emotions. The album’s lack of focus, fluctuation in style, rhythm and tempo is a difficult thing to get on board with at first. According to Pitchfork, the album was influenced by his expedition from Ireland to northern Spain by boat and his ultimate love for sailing. It’s safe to say that ocean madness may well and truly be a thing, and boy did it play a big part in his relationships. All hands on deck for this one – there’s a lot of emotional baggage that needs to be dealt with.

 

The album sets sail with, “Roll on Slow”, featuring grungy guitar solos, heavy drum beats and a brass band. Hansard’s vocals are edgy and powerful as he sings about that restlessness of not yet being reunited with his love. It’s starts the album off with a bang, and a hopeful sense that his love is not far away.

“Why Woman” comes in slow as the second track on the album. Emotionally, it’s a step in the other direction as Glen sings of his attempt to hold on to his “darling” as she longs for a change. Although stylistically contrasting to “Roll on Slow”, Glen’s acoustic licks against the electric guitar and brass instruments are warm and his vocals are filled with beautiful vulnerability and melancholy, reflecting on his days in Swell Season.

Having starred in the film Once, his style often alludes to the poetic melodies and characteristics from the film’s album, and “Wreckless Heart” is just one example. It begins with bare acoustic guitar chords and licks against Glen’s sensitive vocals and lyrics. His voice cracks with devastation of losing his love, yet that time heals pain as it will do while he’s sailing at sea. The female vocal harmony is reserved and peaceful, yet creates a warmth to the track.

 

The album is full of cliché relationship remarks and he often alludes to the ocean and you’re never quite sure what stage of the relationship you might get to next. Although this is a little disconcerting as a whole, it’s the intrinsic details of the album, Hansard’s fragile vocals and smooth acoustic  guitar riffs against the brass band and soothing harmonies that makes the album that “Classic Glen Hansard” album that we all know and love: a little rough on the edges, but smooth and sweet on the inside.

Words by Kat Tame