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Album Review: Nose Dive by Saskwatch

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Artist: Saskwatch
Album: Nose Dive
Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria
Genre: Indie Pop

One listen to Saskwatch‘s new record Nose Dive will have you caught between boppin’ like no one’s watching, air guitaring, and swaying in soft appreciation, all in the space of eleven strong tracks. 

With such an abundance of electronica on the Australian music scene at the moment, it sure is a relief to be reminded that there are still people out there who play real, physical musical instruments. And there are nine of them in Saskwatch!

Balancing the sound of such a large band can be dangerous, but Saskwatch seem to manage it effortlessly in this album. You could almost believe they were a four or five-piece in “Give Me A Reason”, but then the horn section makes an appearance, in all its glory.

“You Don’t Have To Wait” introduces just how silky-smooth the soul vocal stylings of Nkechi Anele can get – something that remains prevalent throughout the rest of the album. (As a quick side track, if you want your ears to go to soul heaven, check out this sweet duet of Chet Faker & Nkechi here).

The catchiest track on the album would probably have to be “Born To Break Your Heart”, but “Hands” comes in at a close second. Then your heart is in for a softer, sweeter treat with “Now That We’re Alone” having the final word.

 

Saskwatch’s only downfall in Nose Dive is sometimes seeming repetitive with their sound; even while their style varies from song to song, tracks can be hard to distinguish between, favouring similar chord changes. But this considered, each song has its own hidden treasures.

Catch Saskwatch as another wonderful addition to the Splendour In The Grass line up and be sure to listen up to their tunes first so you can belt along! Nose Dive is out now.

By Erin Rooney

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Album Review: Built on Glass by Chet Faker

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Artist: Chet Faker
Album: Built On Glass
Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria
Genre: Electronic

After Chet Faker‘s stunning EP Thinking In Textures of 2012, his highly anticipated debut album Built On Glass has already generated substantial hype and praise following its official release last Friday.

Maybe it’s all in his stage name (after legendary trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker), but I for one can’t get past the fact that Chet Faker (aka Nicholas James Murphy) seems to modernize a vaguely jazz influence with his electronic sounds. Just one listen to that ambient keyboard line in “Release Your Problems” and I’m instantly transported to a smokey, underground New York jazz club. It strikes me further to hear that incredible wailing sax in Talk Is Cheap, reminding me of Vancouver group Destroyer’s track “Kaputt” from 2011.

“Melt” is quite simply perfection. It’s one of the tracks on Built on Glass that reveals the intense amount of effort that Chet Faker has put into the album, with a stellar vocal cameo from Kilo Kish – a voice that has managed to match Murphy’s own unique timbre.

By the end of the album, we are reminded that Chet Faker is primarily an electronic artist, albeit a unique one at that. 1998” exhibits a memorable beat and perfect spacing when needed.

This record is one that grows on you. Upon first listening I must admit that my initial reaction was disappointment. Particularly from the second half of the album, I was a bit taken aback by the almost annoyingly repetitive loops and experimental nature of tracks such as “Lesson In Patience”. However after several more listens, I can see more clearly now how each track fits into the release – Chet Faker really has created a work of art and an important contribution to the electronic music genre. Be sure to give it the time it deserves to appreciate it in full.

And if you haven’t seen the video for “Talk is Cheap” yet, it’s about time you had a gander. Dark, but oddly mesmerizing:


You can catch Chet Faker’s glorious beard (and music of course) at Splendour In The Grass later this year (full lineup to be announced in late April), and grab a copy of his album now on iTunes, Spotify or in store.

By Erin Rooney

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Venue Picks: Upstairs Beresford

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The words ‘Upstairs Beresford’ and ‘indie music’ go hand in hand with each other on Sydney’s Inner City nightlife scene. This trendy Surry Hills hang is another one of Justin Hemmes’ Merivale stars, encouraging local bands to ‘take up residency’ at The Beresford, such as Hey Geronimo, Louis London and SAFIA.

The vibe: You’re going to have a fun night. It’s going to be a chilled one, but you’re going to dance to some great tunes and get a really elated kind of feeling from the people around you. And if you want to take a break to hang somewhere, mingle, and chat for a bit, there’s always the downstairs option.

What to drink: They do some killer classic vodka mixes here (ask for a Vodka Sunrise), but they also have a fine selection of cocktails (if not a little pricey), including highlights such as the Salted Butterscotch, Mixed Berry Sling and Poached Pear cocktails. Find the menu to tingle your tastebuds here.

Who you’ll see there: Young professionals and hipster hotties.

When’s best to go: Friday and Saturday nights are usually a sure-fire win at The Beresford for great live music, but it’s also worth knowing that they have $5 Happy Hour on every day from 5-7pm for some nice chilled drinks after work or uni.

Venue in a song: “I’ll Be There” by Hey Geronimo

 

By Erin Rooney

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Music Video of the Week: Holy Holy – House of Cards

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So this band is pretty cool, they have just released a new EP called The Pacific which is brill, they are currently touring with Ball Park Music and Papa vs. Pretty and they are Australian!

The music video for “House of Cards”, which was directed by Gemma Lee is our top pick this week because of its simple, yet retro feel. All the footage is very interesting to watch and ties in nicely with the lyrics of the song. The song is great, the beach is great, and the use of mirror imaging and the black and white colour scheme make this video look a little bit fancy, which is what we like to see!

Check out Holy Holy’s music video here: 

and go listen to their music and find them on tour here: http://www.holyholymusic.com/listen/

By Sophie Henry

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Album Review: Puddinghead by Ball Park Music

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Artist: Ball Park Music
Album: Puddinghead
Hometown: Brisbane, QLD
Genre: Indie Rock

Brisbane five-piece Ball Park Music released their new album Puddinghead last Friday, exhibiting a renewed indie-rock style and healthy amount of angst in their catchy tunes.

The first half of the album is particularly strong. Just check out their opening track “She Only Loves Me When I’m There” for one, a great introduction to a fantastic record. With a powerful hymn-like style vocal line and eerie keys, it feels like Sam Cromack forms a full choir. Then it’s back into a more rock-y feel, some catchy lyrics and it’s here that we get an idea for what the rest of the record is going to be like.

We are lead swiftly onto a standout track of the album with “Next Life Already“, where we can experience a high-school-teenager level of indie rock angst. With lyrics like “I just wanna float downstream, I just wanna forget everything” to a great rocky beat, this track makes for some very good headbanging to get it all out of your system.

By track three, A Good Life Is The Best Revenge”, we’re really starting to see some recurring themes here. It’s almost as if we’ve had a bad break to a friendship or relationship and it’s time to start expressing some of these emotions through motivation! Then Teenage Pie” leaves us back wallowing again. But hey, those back up vocals from Jennifer Boyce are really something.

After these, it’s time to “get your mojo back” and “feel 100%” with “Trippin’ The Light Fantastic”. Another highlight of the album for sure, and a solid singable tune.

The second half of the album hosts some gems too. I haven’t figured out what a “Cocaine Lion” is, but the song itself has some beautiful moments, particularly the build towards the end of the song and magical rock harmonies. “Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You” is also either really depressing or really sweet, I still haven’t decided which. Nevertheless, it’s a very fun listen.

Eventually we are led out of the album by “Girls From High School”,  with a ‘wub-y’ bass line and a folky-indie feel vaguely reminiscent of the hopeful tunes of The Format, and told aptly “I never got to say goodbye, bye bye“.

 

This is a lyrically strong piece of work by Ball Park Music and an album absolutely worth listening to in full. Sing, hum and dance highly embarrassingly along (in the comfort and privacy of your room of course).

Puddinghead is out now. Grab a copy in store or hit up Spotify to experience Ball Park Music’s latest masterpiece.

By Erin Rooney