Tag Archives: lp review

Femi Kuti – Africa For Africa [LP Review]

Review by: Ben Connolly

Buy the CD here
  I’ve always been fascinated by the anthropology of musical styles – the evolution of a distinctive style and sound based on many factors, but often described easiest by geographic boundaries. Take, for example, Memphis blues with its jug-band country feel, as opposed to the Detroit blues and it’s altogether grubby and gritty undertones. While both evolved from the same musical stirrings (and both served as underpinning styles of modern blues and rock n roll), their sounds are geographically distinct and unmistakable. You can hear the swamps and sandflies in Memphis blues, and you can almost sense the grease under the fingernails plucking the Detroit blues guitars.

Heck, there’s no musical style so underpinned by geography than slow, languid, feisty and hot reggae which, no matter where it’s played, evokes the Jamaican countryside to a tee.
Continue reading Femi Kuti – Africa For Africa [LP Review]

Parkway Drive – “Deep Blue” LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

Buy the CD here
  There are lots of surprises in the musical world. Who would’ve thought that Billy Ray Cyrus would still be making money, that Ozzy Osbourne would still be alive, or that Parkway Drive – who mix hardcore and metal styles into brutal barrages of songs – could have emerged from the womb of hippiedom, Byron Bay? But it happens, and the success of Parkway Drive has recently been confirmed with their third album Deep Blue acknowledged at the Australian Music Industry Awards with the honour of ‘best hard rock/ punk album’.

The award for the album is not one of the music world’s surprises. Deep Blue is a masterpiece of jack hammering ear assault.

Continue reading Parkway Drive – “Deep Blue” LP Review

Bad Religion – “The Dissent of Man” – LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

Bad Religion
  It’s too easy to gloss over the name Bad Religion, tossing it quickly into the punk rock basket without thinking about semantics. Maybe it’s because the band has been around since forever (well, 1979) their name synonymous with punk and early influences and just ‘there’. But Bad Religion’s latest offering, The Dissent of Man, has a hard-to-miss lyrical focus on biblical styled topics across several of the tracks.

There are references to judgement day, evil, famine and plague (‘Only Rain’), Jesus and his impartial workings (‘Won’t Somebody’) and angels, devils and hallelujah (‘The Devil in Stiches’). These Christian references are the band’s way of exploring concepts

of freedom or the lack thereof, religion being a convenient metaphor when describing struggles around emancipation. Apart from the religion-as-oppressor imagery, the band’s lyrics have plenty of references to truth, lies and other social conventions which no decent punk rock act’s repertoire should be without.

The first few tracks on The Dissent of Man are stock Bad Religion songs, punk and energetic and immediately displaying the quality and technical skills that have seen the band last as long as they have. Opener ‘The Day that the Earth Stalled’ powers relentlessly along before bursting into a strong finish. ‘Only Rain’ moves fast with a strong chorus hook and ‘The Resist Stance’ lets loose in a blast of epic riffage. It is easily the catchiest song on the album. The tempo then drops a couple of notches with ‘Won’t Somebody’ and ‘The Devil in Stitches’ (first single). These tracks are quite melodic, a bit slower and more on the rock side of punk rock. ‘Pride and the Pallor’ introduces another wave of fast moving guitars that lasts for five powerful and compact songs before the speed is arrested with ‘Cyanide’. ‘Cyanide’ is melodic, a poppy anomaly only lightly tinged with rock and with a chorus line of ‘missing you is like kissing…’ inciting a bout of heavy cringing until the final word ‘cyanide’, which saves the line.

A lighter pace and sound continues for the rest of the album. ‘Where the Fun Is’ is the album’s nadir, disappointingly lacklustre considering its title. All the later tracks seem to be experiments in expanding what is traditionally considered the Bad Religion sound. This was an unexpected turn, but the songs do demonstrate the strength of Bad Religion as a band. All tracks on The Dissent of Man, regardless of style, are well executed. The only faults that can be placed on the songs are in regards to the personal preferences as a listener and expectations of Bad Religion as a band, and nothing to do with playing or song crafting abilities. The Dissent of Man has some new elements and some old, but all of the tracks demonstrate Bad Religion is a band who knows how to play.

The Dissent of Man (Deluxe Version) - Bad ReligionThe Dissent of Man (Deluxe Version) – Bad Religion

Related –
More articles by Lana Harris:
* Weezer “Hurley” – LP Review
* Soilwork “The Panic Broadcast” – LP Review
* Danza Contemporanea De Cuba @ The Playhouse (Brisbane Festival), 15th September 2010 – Live Review
* Polarity @ The Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane 13th September 2010 – Live Review
* Betrayal @ The Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane 10th September 2010 – Live Review
* Crow “Arcane” – LP Review
* Search for more article by this author…

Infected from Bad Religion on Vimeo.

Weezer “Hurley” – LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

  Weezer have been around for a long time now. Their unique geek alt rock sound first surfaced in the nineties, when they experienced their peaks of mainstream success with the albums Weezer (1994) and Pinkerton (1996). Since then, they’ve copped a lot of flak regarding their direction and style, with one fan offering them $10 million for the band to not make another record. The band’s response? Up it to $20 mil and we’re in. Like all bands with a distinctive ‘sound’, there’ll always be criticisms when the group evolves. Perhaps it might be expected after coming up to two decades of existence with an image and lyrics that played on the innocent awkwardness of early adulthood?

Continue reading Weezer “Hurley” – LP Review

Nicholas Roy “In A Shoebox Under The Bed” – LP Review

Review: Ben Connolly

In a Shoebox Under the Bed - Nicholas RoyNicholas Roy
  It’s a great romantic ideal, isn’t it? A fresh-faced boy with a heart of gold, a far-away stare and a modicum of musical ability notches up a home recording completed in his dreary Melbourne abode. Everything about it screams eyes-rolling type cliche, that we’ve read the story a million times to know it backwards and that nothing new or exciting can ever come out of that set up again. But that’s exactly what Melbourne lad Nicholas Roy has attempted in his first long player Nicholas Roy, released in August through indie label Little Tribe. And it’s a solid effort which manages to take a slightly different route than the troubled singer-songwriter path, but has it worked?

Continue reading Nicholas Roy “In A Shoebox Under The Bed” – LP Review

Soilwork “The Panic Broadcast” – LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

  Helsingborg? Where the Helsingborg is that? Turns out this Swedish town is the fertile ground where Soilwork first plied their craft. Soilwork (both the name and the band’s philosophy) represents commitment and determination. Building from the roots of things and seeing them through to fruition via a lot of hard work. More of a biologically based metaphor than the grave digging that initially came to mind when the name ‘Soilwork’ is heard in connection with the words ‘death metal’.

The Panic Broadcast represents Soilwork’s eighth album and is a lesson to others in how to keep the momentum up after several releases. The energy presented could have it confused with an early career offering but the song structure and quality belies the truth: this is a band with extensive

experience in song craft, especially from singer and founding member Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid.
Continue reading Soilwork “The Panic Broadcast” – LP Review

Crow “Arcane” – LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

  Deep in the American south, legends about crossroads abound. It is said that if you stand at a crossroads and wait there until midnight, a man (or the devil in the guise of a man) will appear who will imbibe you with phenomenal guitar playing abilities (and the women, money and fame that come with it). All that for the rather reasonable cost of your soul. Nowadays we know that’s not true, because there are plenty of people who have immense amounts of money, sex and fame that got gypped on the talented part.

Continue reading Crow “Arcane” – LP Review

Black Label Society “Order of the Black” – LP Review

  Review: Lana Harris

Zakk Wylde is known as one of the metal world’s best guitar players, particularly
when talking shredding abilities. He was Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist for two decades, and didn’t let decadence overcome discipline – as well as working and touring with Ozzy, he completed an album a year from 1999-2006 with his side project, Black Label Society (BLS). BLS have their guitars firmly wedged in heavy metal/ hard rock – think Alice in Chains, a bit of Ozzy’s influence apparent in the vocals. But now Wylde’s no longer with Ozzy, and Order of the Black is the first album release by BLS in four years.

Continue reading Black Label Society “Order of the Black” – LP Review

Five Star Prison Cell “Matriarch” LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

  Based in Melbourne, Five Star Prison Cell began destroying young people’s hearing in 2005. They’ve since completed an impressive array of tours including supporting Bloodduster in Oz and Dillinger Escape Plan in the US. Matriarch represents the third album for the four piece line up which includes vocalist Adam Glynn, guitarist Mark Holain, bassist Cameron MacDonald and drummer Marc Whitworth.

Their sound is often described as ‘math metal’ (which refers to the group’s use of complex rhythmic structures and structuring songs using unusual time signatures), and the tracks contain a lot of syncopated sounds. But beneath these labyrinthine twists and turns in the songs is enough

good, strong riffage to impress upon those of less technically inclined the fact that Five Star Prison Cell also makes tracks you can bang your head to easily.

As soon as the album starts, you are hit on all sides by the power of drummer Marc Whitworth. He drills the sounds into your mind from every direction simultaneously, forceful, but more layered and interesting than just a wall of sound. The momentum he starts during opening track ‘I Curse This Vessel’ just keeps building until ‘Modus Operandi’, which appears just before mid way on the album. This was the stand out track, a mountain of sound, a blistering explosion that would crack apart even five star cell walls. As it finishes, its hard not to wonder where it could go from there, how the pace could be maintained. Then ‘Paramountain’ begins, and the band takes a step back, providing a space in which to rebuild and change direction, a space whose intro is narrated in Greek.

Having made some room, the second half of the album provides for more appreciation of other band members. This is particularly evident on ‘Loss of Gravitas’ which is a tremendous display of the power of Glynn’s vocals, an exploration in low range growls amidst strong screaming, and also on ‘Forlorn’, which brings MacDonald into the spotlight and strange as it sounds, provided some groove elements to the track, demonstrating the band’s commitment to creating interesting music by doing things differently. Although lyrics throughout are not easily distinguishable, an exception is found in the final track ‘Lamia’ on which the amusing sentiments can easily be deciphered (but they’re not really suitable for printing!). Matriarch was an enjoyable album and one which those not versed in the sub genres of metal can still enjoy as a good dose of satisfyingly heavy music.

MatriarchMatriarch – Five Star Prison Cell

Dillinger Escape Plan + Maylene and the Sons of Disaster @ The Hi Fi, Brisbane 25 May 2010 [Live Review]
Review: Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Metro Theatre – Friday May 21, 2010
Interview: Ben Weinman – The Dillinger Escape Plan
Audio Interview: Ben Weinman – The Dillinger Escape Plan *The Audio version*
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Australian Tour – May 2010 (TOUR DETAILS)

The Dillinger Escape PlanBuy: The Dillinger Escape Plan from iTunes

Dan Parsons – “Firestarter” LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

DanDan Parsons
  When writing about music, there’s a variety of words to use in order to avoid saying ‘song’ over and over again. For the most part, these words are interchangeable – the exact meaning matters little. Dan Parsons’ music took exception to this and the word ‘ditty’ just kept springing to mind. The exact meaning of ‘ditty’ is a short simple song, a poem intended to be sung, and this description fits his musical style like a ripped pair of skinny jeans fits indie pop.

The tracks on Firestarter are all short pop numbers, hanging around the three minute mark and taking inspiration from the catalogue of relationship

experiences that pop loves to work with. Parsons’uses a reflective, ruminative style to shape his words, which invoke images from the time of life found in the space after school, drifting past innocence but having not yet arrived anywhere else.
Continue reading Dan Parsons – “Firestarter” LP Review

The Break – “Church of the Open Sky” [CD Review]

Review: Lana Harris

  Ah, the beach. Golden sands, blistering sunshine and pounding waves are all an integral part of Australian culture, so it’s perhaps surprising that we haven’t heard more surf rock acts spring up locally. Instead, the genre is much more heavily associated with American waves, Hawaiian surf shacks or perhaps the laid back vibes of San Francisco.

Well, The Break are out to change that. They’ve taken rockers who are a part of Australian culture (drummer Rob Hirst, guitarists Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey, from Midnight Oil) added in

an American who recently moved to Hobart (ex Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie) and created a surf rock record that should see Australia in general, and The Break in particular, usher in a resurgence of this laid back style of music. Continue reading The Break – “Church of the Open Sky” [CD Review]