EP REVIEW. The Coathangers – Parasite

Release Date: 30 June 2017 (Digital out now)
Genre: Garage Punk
Rating: ★★★★
Words by: Steph Baker

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The Coathangers are not new faces on the scene, with their first entrance being over a decade ago. However, the Atlanta trio are starting to attract the ears of new listeners, with their latest offering ‘Parasite’, and from the opening riffs of the title track, it is clear why. Often bands and their fans alike get stuck in a rut of familiarity and routine when it comes to new releases, but surely we should embrace a change in songwriting and musical styles, as it reflects the journey that the band continues on every day. Humans change with experience, time and moments of reflection, and so too should creative endeavours, guitarist Julia Kugel even states “I’d like to think the PE takes you on a journey through the band’s existence“.

The opening track, ‘Parasite‘, seems to be a much-needed rant to get built up aggression of The Coathangers’ chest, “I don’t want parasite, keeping me up all night… I don’t want parasite, eating me from the inside out!” The raw and rowdy song is just over a minute long, and does not mess around in getting things straight before the girls continue with the EP in peace. Interestingly, the vocals seem somewhat softer in the following song ‘Wipe Out‘ (still unbridled and not to be fucked with, don’t worry), perhaps expressing a more content time within the band’s development.

17904105_1308631595840779_9156523798918359088_n.jpgThe third track, ‘Captain’s Dead‘ is full of wise words coming from someone who is clearly over your bullshit. The lyrics “Easy come and easy go, what you reap is what you sow” are sang over punk guitar lines that send you into a daze that will spin away all of your previous cares. Grimy bass-lines are carried onto into the next track, along with an empowering punk chorus that is reminiscent of the crooked hooks that made us fall in love with the Coathangers in the first place.

This five-track offering ends on quite a somber and melancholy tone. ‘Drifter‘ has dark melodies and a simple electric strumming, and is still as incessantly catchy as the rest of the tracks. Julia, Meredith and Stephanie have grown up together and have developed their art together, this EP perfectly showcases that journey. From moments of (partial) content and maybe a hint of love? to screaming and pent-up rowdiness that we all need to expel – In either case, it’s exactly what you need.


Listen to Parasite here

Make sure to give The Coathangers a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The Atlanta Punk trio are also touring the Europe, check out dates below:

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INTRODUCING. Cameron Avery with debut album review – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray

With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.

That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.

This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.

“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.

The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.

A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”

There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.

However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.

As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.

Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.

Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.

 


Listen to the highly anticipated debut album from Cameron Avery here
Also make sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

S.M.

 

EP REVIEW. Retrograde – Ariana & The Rose

Release Date: 24 March 2017
Genre: Synth-pop
Rating: ★★★★
Words by: Martina Di Gregorio

 

Ariana Di Lorenzo, or as she is most known as Ariana & The Rose, has finally released her first EP ‘Retrograde’, after teasing fans with the singles ‘Love You Lately’ and ‘Supercool’. Retrograde is coming out as the perfect embodiment of a young woman coming to terms with who she is. Originally from New York, Ariana is based in London and has been working to create a sound that truly represents herself; this album is full of powerful electro-pop anthems that would work to get anyone dancing while fully grasping the depth of both the highs and the lows of love through her vocals and powerful use of synths.

How Does That Make You Feel’ is the first single off this EP. Starting with a falsetto, Ariana’s voice engages the listener even before the percussions and synths jump in. The use of percussions intertwined with harmonies bring a whole new level of depth to the song. The song tells the relatable tale of a passionate love, and it is a good start to the EP, as Ariana’s voice and her ability to use her voice and as a diverse instrument instantly charms the listener.

Love You Lately’ released earlier this year has the power to make you emotional thinking about a lost love. The song played with the duo RKCB is an electro-R&B song that talks about a relationship ending. Ariana’s voice completely embodies the feelings of someone that is in a relationship but doesn’t love her partner anymore. This song shows a more serious side of Ariana, as well as her flexibility to go from a dance song to an R&B songs. The background beat gives a great rhythm to the song while Ariana and RKCB since “I don’t understand why you push away” and “I guess I don’t love you lately”.

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These Ruins’ has a slow beginning, with Ariana’s deeper voice accompanied by a low keyboard that is emphasized through different electronic instrumentation. The song describes a love that cannot be repaired, emphasized by a slow, melancholic, dark, creating a new universe where the melody gets more dramatic with every verse. Her voice has the capacity of perfectly encompasses the emotions of a tragic love, with her voice breaking at the end of the bridge. The roughness of the melody and the darker synths, as well her echoed voice that gets overpowered by the background vocals and drums gives a new dimension to the song, which ends with her tired voice and the keyboard again. This track takes you through all the emotions felt after the end of a love.

Supercool’ is the last song of the EP, and it goes on a different path by describing the partying in New York, with the use of electro beats. The song describes the reality behind the glamour of New York by describing a woman that is so beautiful and charming at a party, but looks like their lives could be falling apart any second.The falsetto voice, backing vocals and electro beats come back once again to show a whole new side of New York.

Ariana & The Rose’s EP embodies the journey of love and loss through the use of synths and a sound that is heavily inspired by Robyn and Goldfrapp, but still keeping a sense of originality. ‘Retrograde’ proves Ariana’s flexibility and ability to use her lyrics and melody to create a journey of emotions that can completely engross the listener and spark past memories and a world of feelings.

Ariana is renowned for her live shows, especially the immersive Light and Space, which was first done in London in 2016 based on 80s disco scene. She has created another world and this EP is the first step to gaining more visibility and showing a new side of the synth-pop world.

 


Listen to Retrograde now here
Give her a follow on Facebook and Twitter

 

ALBUM REVIEW. The xx – I See You

Release date: 13 January 2017

Genre: Indie-alternative

Rating: ★★★

Words by: Martina Di Gregorio

The xx have been making headlines the last couple of months by releasing singles from this album, announcing world tours and breaking records for the most dates at a London venue showing how the influence of The xx has not diminished since their last album and the silence that followed.

I See You really hits the right spot with indie guitar pop, R&B, stripped down music with electro-pop influence of Jamie xx that really gives that extra kick to the sound that we all used to love from The xx. There are heavy guitar or bass drops, but the music gets stripped down to the core by making the real protagonists of the albums the vocal chemistry between Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft, as well as adding that extra dance vibe that makes Jamie xx’s solo work a blessing for The xx as he found that magic sound to really give the band a sense of purpose.

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The lyrics all revolve around all those dark emotions and heartbreak that people go through during their life, making this album a very powerful weapon for The xx to really make an impact in a world where poetic and powerful lyrics are very much outshone by catchy beats and a repetitive clichè choruses that make people feel safe.

The album kick-starts with ‘Dangerous’,which tricks the listener into thinking it might be a happy song as the melody starts with trumpets but slowly fades into darkness as Oliver and Romy haunting voices sing about an unsteady relationship that could break apart at any time but their refusal to let go, and their need to fight for something that maybe shouldn’t stay together. Other songs such as the ballad ‘Performance’ really showcase the hard work and thought the band has put into their sounds, with violins being used to give that sense of melancholy as well as absolute silence to really make a statement and show that sometimes less is more: there isn’t always a need for energetic beats to make a song great, sometimes just vocals are enough to show off talent.

Yet, although The xx discovered and played with many styles in this album, they seem to always focus on  their rough vocals, like with ‘Test Me’, which has scattered vocal samples and cryptic, gloomy noises that make it the darkest song of the album.

Overall, I See You really is about The xx growing and working with their sounds, as the vocals sometimes get lost in a sea of electronic noises and beats that take away from their poetic lyrics, which were what really made this band stand up. Although they do tend to go for a minimalistic sound in certain songs, it seems that Jamie xx’s solo work has made a huge impact on their sound and it is not clear whether it was really necessary. It gave the band a sense of purpose and, something that was lacking in their previous work. It was unclear what they wanted their sound to be like, but this change seems to have taken away a bit of the magic that we all loved from The xx. Nonetheless, the album is still able to strike a chord and show off the huge talents of the two vocalists, and although this is not a five star album, it will still live in the hearts of many fans for years to come.


Listen to the latest offering from The xx here
You can also keep up to date with the trio on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

MDG

 

INTRODUCING. The Seefelds with debut EP Temple

Release date: Out Now!

Genre: Indie Rock

Rating: ★★★★

Words: Scott Murray

 

The Seefelds have slowly immersed themselves in Brisbane’s bustling live music scene, playing gigs all over Brissy throughout 2016, culminating with the release of their debut EP “Temple” at the Empire Hotel in late November.

The public got the first taste of the EP when the lads released their lead single, and title track, ‘Temple’ onto Triple J Unearthed in early October. This slow jam opens with a quiet, cut-back riff by guitarist Alex Lim before building to resounding heights thanks to the crooning vocals of Nick Boxall. The Brissy four piece then gave us the rest of Temple, an absolute cracker that highlights the genre hopping range of the group. The EP kicks off with ‘Tell Me (That You Want It)’, another tune similar in tempo to ‘Temple’.  However, this tune takes the time to concentrate on the instrumentals of the band, with drummer Lachie Atkinson, bassist Josh Bartlett and Lim providing an intriguing and striking contrast to Boxall’s slow croon.

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The EP then moves onto the fast paced ‘Curiosity & Boredom’, a deceiving track that begins with light relaxing guitar before building into a drum driven bustle that lifts the pace of the entire record. Following on from the title track, the lads build on the slow, drawn back vibes of Temple in ‘Cradle’. This track is just full of soul, and again highlights the intertwining voices of Boxall and Lim in a manner reminiscent of the DMA’s ‘Delete’.

The EP ends on its seemingly most zealous track, ‘Fly Away’ kicks off with driving guitar riffs and a bustling drum line showcasing the more upbeat tendencies of The Seefelds . However, as the song draws the EP to a close, Boxall utters “I need to slow down and find myself again” and suddenly the pace shifts. The lads like to keep listeners on their toes through tonal juxtapositions like this, making them refreshingly unpredictable. In fact, this track manages to encompass what The Seefelds are all about: delivering relaxing contemplative tunes for when you need to slow down, whilst also providing energetic party jams.

Overall, the self-described “Brisbane boys making mediocre music” have stepped far beyond that with their debut EP, creating a fantastic introduction that is undoubtedly a sign of bigger things to come.


You can catch The Seefelds on Facebook and Instagram and listen to ‘Templehere.

You can see the lads perform on the 22 December at the Zoo, Brisbane.

S.M.

 

SINGLE REVIEW. The xx – On Hold

Release Date: Out now!

Genre: Electro-indie pop

Rating: ★★★★★

It begins with the graceful, familiar voice of Romy Madley Croft, as it’s been so long since we have been graced with fresh material, her voice instantly brings any fan a feeling of satisfaction. This track is about grasping at the tail end of a failing love, in a desperate attempt of regaining momentum and making it work, “it could be love I think you’re too soon to call us old“. With some almost psych-pop sounds woven in, the song has very romanticized undertones while still keeping to the signature xx chilled-out sound.

 

img_2758In many ways, the xx have not changed, to the relief of many. With the same warm charm brought by the voices of Romy and Oliver Sim, as well as the distinct, simplistic guitar melodies and electro-ambient vibes that can only be constructed with just the right mix of elements. However, after the lyrics “when and where did we go cold, I thought I had you on hold“, there is a drop that reveals a whole new lease of life for the xx. During this energetic segment of the track, inspirations uncovered by Jamie xx during his solo projects of the past year materialise themselves, and the result is a refreshing mix of the chilled out, low-fi vibes expected from the xx, and the electro beats of the house scene Jamie often frequents. It sounds remarkable, and has also worked well live on the few recent performances of the trio on radio and US talk shows.

 

This long awaited new track from the London group has been met with warm welcome, and rumour has it we can expect more surprises such as this in their upcoming album ‘I See You’.


Book tickets to the 2017 headline tour

You can also connect to The xx on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. Siboney + Andy – Secret

Release date: Out now!

Genre: Pop-Folk

Rating: ★★★1/2

Siboney + Andy recently joined forces, along with their influences and styles to create this debut EP, encompassing a variety of pop/folk/electro vibes. This title track of the EP certainly makes a statement and ensures their names will not be easily forgotten.

With a delicate opening, Siboney tells a painful tail, supposedly from personal experience. The opening verse could be claimed to be predictable, but as the bridge builds up, Siboney’s voice steps up before delivering a powerful blow with the lyrics “I will keep this sib-and-andy-02-lowres1secret ’till I die” during the chorus. With a blaring electric riff accompanying the voice, a new level of passion is brought to this track. The second verse is more playful as the due get settled into what they’re doing, with electro-pop synths coupled with folk-y vocals
and guitar, this is a creative song showcasing what it is Siboney + Andy are capable of. As Andy emerges into the track not only as a producer but a vocalist, the track gets that bit warmer. It is at this moment you can see why the due work so well together, as their voices intertwine to create a pop/electro-pop juxtaposition.

The music video for this track brings a visual element to better explain the journey this track takes. The pair describe the following: “The lyrics in Secret are quite literal, and pull from rather painful self-experience, so we wanted to hint at that feeling within the video, but let people come to their own conclusions within the narrative.”

 

Check out the music video for Sectret and follow Siboney and Andy’s journey:


Check out the debut EP ‘Secret’ here.

You can also find Siboney + Andy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. The Big Moon – Formidable

Released: OUT NOW

Genre: Alternative-rock

Rating: ★★★★

The Big Moon have been on the rise for the past year now in playing notable shows around the nation with big names, and having a growing, passionate fan-base. With an extrovert-like, 90s girl-punk style and all the right sounds, The Big Moon have comfortably made a name for themselves within the London alternative scene, however this single – released ahead of the debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ out April next year – demonstrates how the female quartet are moving out of their comfort zone, and exploring a new world of dark, indie fuzz.

love_in_the_4th_dimension_tbm_low_res-jpg-768x768The track opens with the familiar voice of front-woman Juliette emerging with the oh-so-cynical rhyme “Did she make you swallow all your pride, does the love still shiver down your spine” before a gentle crescendo of reverb and bass. The slightly ominous “oooh” echoed by all of the girls calm the air before the chorus ignites. The band really bring it in the chorus, and this is the point you realise how much The Big Moon have really progressed since their early releases; with powerful vocals that could get any room chanting out loud and some of the heaviest guitar and thunderous drums we have heard yet. This band have the capability to bring all the noise and carnage you could ever need, while still having the control to execute haunting harmonies and more delicate tones, something that works so well with this type of music.

The only drawback to this release is the length of it. Leaving the listener wanting more is always a good move (it certainly worked), but the girls still could have reached even higher levels of intensity and experimented more with this new sound if they had given the track some more time. However, this seems to be a song that could be developed and expanded greatly during a live set. Let’s hope for more dark magic such as this in the album.


You can listen to ‘Formidable‘ now here and pre-order the debut album here.

Give The Big Moon some love too on Facebook and Twitter

 

Baker out.

EP REVIEW. Stevie Parker – Blue

Release date: 11th November 2016

Genre: Ambient/electro-pop

Rating: ★★★★

Stevie Parker comprises of a young artist from the West of England with a raw voice oozing wisdom and heartbreak. After building a substantial platform from her debut release ‘Never Be‘ on Soundcloud in 2015 and later performing alongside noteworthy British artists, especially in the Bristol Summer Series, Stevie Parker’s debut EP, ‘Blue‘ has been released highly anticipated and is seeming to gain success within the electro-pop world.

stevie parker press shot.pngThe EP begins with ‘Better Off‘, a sinister-toned tune with delicate vocals and an empowering message of realisation of worth in the face of sorrow.  Stevie’s vocals are reminiscent of a more energetic Lana Del Rey against the musical resonate notes of groups such as London Grammar. This is the perfect opener to set Stevie Parker aside from other up-and-coming alternative-pop artists, especially the young ones – who can often blend into one homogenous group. The title track of this EP takes a more heavy-beated, electro-pop turn. This foundation is well-suited to this artist’s hypnotic high-notes that are showcased during the outcry “I’ve been blue over you”. Despite being at risk of being slightly repetitive at times, this track demonstrates the versatility of Stevie Parker well, and is catchy enough to make you keep her music in your head all day.

Siren‘ is possibly the highlight of the EP, as it is the most distinct and complex track. With raw lyrics, telling a tale of desperate love and lust, Stevie Parker shows her human side for all to relate and sing along to. The graceful combination of thudding beats with warm piano melodies creates a sound that belongs to only her. We are shown a contrasting aspect of Stevie with the final track ‘Different For Girls‘. Whether this track is making a political statement, or simply expressing the emotions often experienced within a troublesome partner, this acoustic number shows a totally different song-writing style, one of simplistic and honest statements. This is an artist is wise and elegant, with the ability to get you both dancing and crying out in sorrow.


Hit up Stevie Parker on Facebook and Instagram, and listen to ‘Blue‘ over here

 

Baker out.

 

INTERVIEW. INHEAVEN ahead of Debut Album – “We always made sure we never compromised our creative vision”

After taking the UK by storm last Summer, the DIY, dream-punk quartet INHEAVEN are continuing to create funky sounds and getting people hyped for the debut album coming next year, with hit single ‘Treats‘ already sweeping up a positive reaction after being premiered by Annie Mac this month. We got to know guitarist James and talk idols, festivals and what remains important to a band such as INHEAVEN despite rising up in the world.

Hey James! What would you say is the main message of your music? 

We think music should make you feel free, so we try to create songs that evoke that feeling.

 

Do you guys have a specific creative process when writing?

It’s weird but we can never explain how we write a song, it just happens! It is really something that happens completely in the moment.

 

Since you have emerged onto the scene, you have gained the seal of approval from many ‘royalty’ fans such as Wolf Alice and Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), you even released your debut single on Mr Casablancas’s label, Cult Records! How did that come about? 

We set up a website before we changed our band name and were called ‘Blossom’, and just used to put up weird videos and music on a daily basis. We ended up taking the whole thing down, but months later we got an email from Rory Atwell (who mixed our demos) forwarding an email from Cult Records! They said Julian and the label loved us and wanted to put out one of our songs. But yeah, it was one of the best feelings ever, it’s not everyday you get an email from one of your idols. 

 

What has been your favourite gig so far and why? 

Reading and Leeds, we grew up going to those festivals so it really felt like a coming of age moment that we will remember forever! The best story from that year was probably us and The Magic Gang getting chucked out of a party for running up on stage and playing someone else’s drum kit.

 

INHEAVEN are known for having a strong DIY ethic, what is it you guys enjoy so much about that and why is it so important for the band to stay true to that even as you progress and grow in size?

We never set out to be a DIY band, we just did everything ourselves and never stopped even when we got signed. We always wanted to have complete control over everything we do, the only way we felt we could separate ourselves from every other band was to make sure we never compromised our creative vision.

 

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Debut Album ‘TREATS’ out in 2017

Do you think anything changes once a band has signed to a record label and starts to grow in popularity and size? 

Nothing changes, it just ramps up a gear. We are our own little creative hub, so we could be on any label and it will still always sound and look like us.

 

What have you guys got in store for us in the near future and what are you most excited about right now? 

We are off on tour with Blossoms in December, and our Debut Album will be out next year. It doesn’t get more exciting than that really!


INHEAVEN are going on tour with the lovely Blossoms next month, buy a ticket here

You can also check them out on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

 

Baker out.