Review by Pete Coates
JOE BONAMASSA – Different Shades of Blue
Release Date – 12th Sept 2014
J & R Adventures Records
Joe Bonamassa has produced an extraordinary range of blues and rock music in his career – whether as a solo artist, or in the blues rock fusion work of Black Country Communion. The common threads of all his work lie in the distinctive voice, and the pure but often slightly scuzzy guitar riffs, with the clean solos reminiscent of Gary Moore and Carlos Santana.
Review by Wanda Hill
Sixty minutes of floating on beautiful melodies, intense emotion and powerful composition can be yours when you decide to listen to Distant Satellites – Anathema’s 10th studio album. This UK progressive rock band have carved their own unique blend of uplifting yet contemplative music that continues to inspire and attract new fans around the world. Their style has grown to embrace new influences while never really straying far from original inspirational sources such as Pink Floyd.
Distant Satellites features ten beautifully crafted songs that explore a range of states of being and experiences using sublime instrumentation, harmonies and vibrant vocals. The song’s transition well from one to another, providing continuity and an extremely pleasurable listening hour.
Review by JOSE EDUARDO CRUZ
Melbourne has been responsible for constantly producing great bands over the years. Madre Monte upholds this responsibility alive and well with their latest EP Raza:Madre.
The influx of Colombian migrants into Australia over the last decade has seen an outpouring of cultural exchange, in particularly, musical exchange that it is beginning to fit seamlessly into the Australian musical landscape. Madre Monte formed in Melbourne, but their origins begin in Cali, Colombia, and it is from here that this beautiful music takes its cue. What makes this release so special is that Madre Monte mixes English and Spanish lyrics quite easily making their music very accessible to the wider Australian music audiences.
Review by JOSE EDUARDO CRUZ
Canberra based Latin ska/cumbia outfit, Los Chavos, deliver their first long play and follow on in the great tradition of Australian Latin bands like Watussi and San Lazaro. Whilst this release is completely in Spanish, don’t let that deter you from picking this outstanding Australian Latin release. Supermeng is a mature release that reflects the evolution of Los Chavos as an experienced outfit. There are slight influences from Manu Chau, Calle 13 and Juanes which will delight every Latin music lover in Australia. Supermeng starts with an upbeat “Carlos Calvo” and builds up hitting a crescendo with a good paced merengue “Como Puedo”. The closing track “Reina” is a soulful exploration of love which closes an excellent debut for Los Chavos.
Review: Billy Geary
When Sound Awake was released in 2009, Karnivool began to receive acclaim on an international scale, with the record’s more expansive sound resonating with fans of progressive music worldwide. It was a huge step forward for the band when compared to their debut, signalling their establishment as one of Australia’s most innovative bands. Appropriately titled, Asymmetry sees the band change tack again – moving towards a sound of dissonance and adventure, while still retaining the melody of their past releases.
Review by Carl Dziunka
When you list the great names of rock music from across the decades, Deep Purple has got to be hovering close to the top. Blasting out rock numbers for more than 40 years they have certainly found the formula for success. Releasing the long awaited new album; this comes 8 years after the Rapture of the Deep album released in 2005; the magic is still as strong. With a title like Now What?! it makes you wonder whether the band is thinking that they have done it all. Well actually, they probably have. The current line up works well together and this can be heard from the new 11 tracks that they have laid down.
By Natalie Salvo
Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Björk is an artist that never fails to be eccentric and interesting. Last year’s Biophilia album was a sprawling, mixed media affair where the music was released as an album alongside shows, educational projects and a special app for every single song. In 2012, Bastards draws together remixes of virtually all of these tracks.
Björk has acknowledged that these particular remixes took the listener somewhere else. The cuts were all chosen by the fine lady herself, because she says they contain much sturdier legs to dance on thanks to their rather heavy reliance on synths and beats. These particular songs have all been offered on the Internet as downloads at different times and this release collects them together in a handy but rather unnecessary package.
By Natalie Salvo
thenewno2’s debut album sounded more like Beck than the output of Beatle progeny. The comparison to the Fab Four was inevitable as the project is the brainchild of Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison). And while Dhani looks and sounds like his famous father, the music actually falls on the opposite end of the musical spectrum. Again, Harrison has teamed up with his friend and famed engineer, Paul Hicks (son of The Hollies’ Tony Hicks) and it’s clear the two share their tastes in modern music.
Their sophomore effort, thefearofmissingout is generation Y to a tee. The concept is a contemporary problem used to describe an individual’s restlessness at wanting to do it all (no doubt a product of seeing their friends on Instagram and Facebook at exotic locations and doing all sorts of exciting things). It means you don’t want to miss a thing, whether it’s going to the next party or meeting the next guy or gal and this often manifests itself as an awful lot of indecision.
review by Helen Brown
The art of blending hip hop with a multitude of genres is on the rise and has recently been done by Bliss & Eso and East Londoner Plan B. The latest to be inducted into the fold is Chance Waters, a Sydney hip hop artist with a social conscience.
From crumbling societies and the end of the world, to the joys of young love, Chance Waters has collaborated with the likes of Kate Martin, Lilian Blue and Bertie Blackman among many others to produce Infinity, an album peppered with indie folk, bluesy guitars, piano organs and catchy heartfelt lyrics that fluctuate between bleak and hopeful.
‘Conjure Up A Fire’ is a stand out track reminding us that we have the power to make a difference, that we should never follow the masses and never be afraid to find our voice.
Review by Sibel Kutlucan
Heroes For Hire have delivered again with a third full length album, No Apologies, which holds its ground as a great pop punk album.
No Apologies is enthralling and contagious, and is bound to appeal to many. Though a little bias, having liked most of Heroes For Hire’s music previously, it’s great to have a fantastic pop punk band representing Australia, and No Apologies has delivered such a fantastic pop punk album to make us proud.
Review by Sibel Kutlucan
Whilst many have argued about labels and band choices for the covers, Fearless Records has delivered another popular album in their Punk Goes Pop series. Released this month, Punk Goes Pop has delivered more interesting covers of hit songs such as Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” and Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend”.
Punk Goes Pop is a fun, light-hearted listen that promises some infectious beats, that whilst isn’t for everyone, still delivers some unique covers. This is one of those albums that will have varying views and opinions, some wondering whether the bands and artists are typically ‘punk’ or ‘pop’, however personally I thought some songs were better than others.
Review By Lana Hall
NOFX are like that top quality hoodie you bought many, many years ago. Twenty nine years ago actually. Familiar and dependable, the years and washes haven’t changed it much at all and it’s easy to put on again and again. Self Entitled is the twelfth studio album from NOFX and it brings more of the classic NOFX sound – another album of short, fast, funny, sometimes political and sometimes personal songs. These themes have served the band well and continue to do so.
Musically, the songs on Self Entitled feel more pressured than other albums, particularly the tempos of ‘I believe in Goddess’ , ‘Ronnie and Mags’ and ‘Cell Out’ where riffs are super fast and words shout over each other to be heard. Remaining true to punk rock, there are no guitar solos or technical displays of prowess, just good solid chord progressions at a pace that crams eleven songs inside thirty minutes.
Review by Billy Geary
Just about every time you think music is becoming stale, over-saturated or downright boring, there’s always a band ready and waiting to put your faith back in music. Twelve Foot Ninja are one of those bands. Forming in 2007, Twelve Foot Ninja quickly rose to prominence, releasing two EPs packed with genre bending moments of reggae, metal, funk, dub and hardcore, sometimes within the same song. Their debut album, Silent Machine shows the same tendency, with added heaviness and polish.
After the first few verses of opener ‘Coming For You,’ for those new to the band one thing is immediately obvious, Twelve Foot Ninja aren’t afraid to mix contrasting genres mid-song. In fact, they thrive on it. ‘Coming For You’ is vintage Twelve Foot Ninja, blending reggae and metal, with a smattering of electronics evoking thoughts of Mr Bungle and Tomahawk. Throughout the record, the comparisons with various Mike Patton projects will inevitably continue, however to pigeonhole Silent Machine in such a way would be unfair to the band.
By Meghan Player
With the local, and indeed international, alt rock/indie/folk sciences currently thriving thanks to the likes of Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Mumford & Sons and City & Colour – it was only a matter of time before the young Australian acts started enjoying some well-deserved attention.
Enter Central Coast quartet, Elliot The Bull.
Review by Billy Geary
Sydney four piece Breaking Orbit’s debut album The Time Traveller has been a long time coming, with a name change and some member shuffles preceding its release. The wait was certainly worth it, though. The Time Traveller has blown anything done by any other Australian progressively minded band out of the water, save for maybe Karnivool’s Sound Awake and Cog’s The New Normal. However, Breaking Orbit do things slightly differently, placing a heavy emphasis on the tribal and percussive elements in their sound. The result is a debut album of monolithic proportions.
The familiar amalgamation of heavy alternative and progressive genres is certainly apparent, however hints at tribal music and some dabbling in electronic samples ensure The Time Traveller stands out as a record in a vastly oversaturated scene. Opening track ‘Echoes’ is a slow burner with thudding bass guitar, soaring vocals and a distinct touch of post rock influence, immediately showing the band’s diversity. This trend continues throughout the record, with each track offering a different side of Breaking Orbit to the listener. Instrumental track ‘Machiguenga’ is the perfect example of this, featuring an array of tribal percussive instruments and flute passages.