band

Little May; live at The Metro

Little May played a truly ethereal live performance at The Metro following the release of their latest album ‘For The Company’. This concert is one of many around Australia on their headline tour of indie rock and folk music.

The Sydney gig was supported by Australia and E^ST, and both acts had exhilarating energy on stage. E^ST, a young musical prodigy from the Central Coast, has been picked up by the likes of Triple J Unearthed and received airplay from Triple J where she was invited to play for Like a Version. She played these tunes at The Metro for us with an infectious energy, reminding us of her raw talent with a cover of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, as well as hits like ‘The Alley’. Although inherently groovy and relaxed in demeanor,  E^ST has a powerful chest voice that screams passion and power, especially when she hits the higher registers. In tracks like ‘The Alley’, her vocals are haunting and show incredible range, and coupled with her signature vibrato, she seems unstoppable  Even though her layers of electronica would be smoother when studio produced, rather than live, E^ST’s fun excitement is a definite crowd pleaser at live gigs.

Little May graced the stage with golden lights and blue hues, making for a truly beautiful show. This band has a very sophisticated understanding of balance, as each layer was distinctly different from the others.  Each of their songs has a moving bass line and the drums come in and out like crashing waves. Their composition is so clean and tight and their harmonies are elegant and smooth. At times, their music is flavored with country vibes, with electric guitar that sounds inspired by bluegrass, and when they bring out the acoustic guitar, their music is textured with notes of home. Mixtures of tambourine and electric guitars bring a unique twist that brings their sound to life on stage.

As live performers, Little May are sincere and genuine. Their stage banter is sweet and authentic, as the lead singer classified one of her songs as being; “soft angst, I would say”. As a band, it seems their music thrives off dynamic build-ups in tension that lead to a crescendo, for instance in tunes such as “Hide”, which can have controlled majesty through haunting melodies. Little May’s new album shows a maturity that they’ve developed since their earlier music. I’m excited to see what’s next for them.

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Dice

Review by Regi Su and Photography by Kate Wehl

Original Melbourne band, Dice, recently played at the Gunn Music Productions Espy Artist Showdown in late November 2014 at The Espy where they satisfied the audience with a solid wave of rock. Having a pretty good track record doing gigs in Victoria, the band is breaking into the big league, and is definitely showing potential to do so.

Their album ‘Bright Lights’ shows a lot of versatility, a wide range of skills and talents, despite only have three members in the band. Lead singer, Daniel Butcher, is very strong, both lyrically and vocally and shows a lot of control. Meanwhile, Mike Dean on drums places the band firmly in the rock genre, especially with tracks like ‘Blood Shot Eyes’. Yet, tracks like ‘Spin Me Around’ keeps a calm restraint, which can be really powerful in itself.

I feel like this band is capable of electric crescendos, and they do, but they use them cleverly, which adds dynamicism to their music. A perfect example of this is ‘Bright Lights’. This track is a really solid example of a clean composition that showcases all members of the band and the strengths they bring to the group. In contrast, ‘It’s All About You’ is a really catchy tune, full of energy and confidence.

Dice boasts an excellent stability in its grit and earth, and if anything, its reliability to fit into a well-established genre. They’ve got a pretty grounded identity and their sound is easily recognisable and very satisfying. Excited to see where they go from here.

Logic Defies Logic

Although Melbourne-based band Logic Defies Logic originated in New Zealand, they’ve spent the last few years making their mark on the Australian soundscape with their electrifying performances and sonic integrity. To cement their places in the Australian rock arena, they recently won the Gunn Music Productions Espy Artist Showdown in late November 2014.

Logic Defies Logic are deserving winners. Their music is so solid and clean. They create a holistic sound which shows instrumental versatility and traditional strength, placed neatly in the rock genre. Their website homepage boasts; “Dizzying madcap metal washed down with funk, prog, and all things glorious. Musical alchemy. Magic and science combined.” I tend to agree. Tracks like ‘Quantum Leap’ showcase an excellent fusion of electro influences, traditional percussion and a talented lead guitar, followed up with a well-used slap of the bass. The collaboration displays dynamicism and perfect timing, changing keys and proving an array of skills and talent within the band.

Tracks like ‘Quantumn Leap’ and ‘Broadcast’ are a classic rock/metal genre, mixed up with modern sounds for a contemporary audience. They’re clean, deep, balanced and really fresh. The band sounds like they’ve worked together really closely for a long time. They sound completely in sync, with a united vision of what their identity is and where it’s going. Logic Defies Logic is raw in power, but controlled in execution. Can’t wait to see what they do next.1966937_820570701319706_5894496674252966373_n 10303379_820570694653040_2776148604257198035_n

Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/katewehlphotographyage

Three Kings

Three Kings

Three Kings is a Melbourne-based blues and American roots band that has blown away critics and listeners with their authentic blues sound. In their website, their bio states; “The  Three Kings sound like an old 45 found in the bottom of an abandoned shed. So real you can practically hear the record crackle and the needle pop when they are onstage.” Honestly, I’d have to agree, it does sound like it’s straight from a period dance, with ruffled high-waisted skirts flying to the fresh beats pumping from the jukebox in an American Milkbar. Not that I was ever there to do that sort of thing of course. Yet, this music makes me want to go there.

There’s nothing much I can say about this album. Well, nothing negative anyway. I enjoy this three-piece band and how each member flaunts his talent by supporting the band, rather than trying to stand out for the spotlight. Their solos are well-placed, really solid and actually rather impressive, especially in the tune “You Got Me Nervous”. With Benny Peters and Ian Collard on Vocals and Guitar, the tracks have a rustic air of what seems to me to be a sepia atmosphere. Their husky, rusty voices just do that for me. Ian Collard’s harmonica is an impressive sound. It just makes me want to jive, he’s got the American roots genre genuinely downpat. Jason Liusoon on drums provides the perfect support, slowing the pace or ramping it up for the pending solos. For example, “Swamp Time” is the soundtrack to a stream train as it rattles along, while “Drink It Up” speeds up the tempo a little and is just wonderful to boogie to. These guys are genuine and authentic and, I highly recommend them.

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Image Source: http://threekingsaustralia.com/photos

Metric at the Enmore

Words by Regi Su

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I’m not going to pretend to be an unbiased reviewer for this one, because Metric has been on my playlist for a number of years now. I love the band. What I will try and do, however, is explain the different experience of seeing them live.

Metric is a Canadian band with all the components of success- killer drums, sick guitar, sweet bass and an eclectic female lead vocalist (who can take guitar, synth, tambourines or piano). They’ve been around for 10 years of so, but the band is still fresh. In fact, lead singer Emily explained to the crowd how Metric wrote a particular song (“Police and the Private”) in the Bush Era and how now, she still finds it relevant, finds new meanings and the content remains contemporary. I must say, the “Police and the Private” was my favourite tune from their Live It Out  album, but hearing it live, hearing it acoustic and hearing the tempo slowed right down, with a bit of expression from Emily, I was totally blown away. In essence, I was listening to the song for the first time.

Metric managed to do this with a number of songs, when they performed live. They closed their set with “Gimme Sympathy” and lead guirtarist James Shaw whipped out an acoustic guitar, the first and only time he used it all night. The audience lapped it up, in fact, Emily stopped using the microphone and the band stopped playing their instruments. The audience singing in unison was enough to drive the final song on the final show of their Australian tour.

Speaking of the audience, I was truly horrified with the auditorium. There weren’t nearly as many people as I thought there would be, making the Enmore seem a more little half empty, than half full. On the other hand, however, this helped make Metric the most personal concert I have ever been to. They had none of this hoity-toity rock-band business. Yes, they’ve been in the industry for a decade, but they treated this audience like royalty. With the microphone all night, Emily told us (relatively short) stories between every couple of songs, told us what she was singing, bade us sing with her.

Genre-wise, they’re an indie-rock band, but they do blur between alternative and techno at times; only enough to give each particular song a little bit of dynamicism. A good example of this is the song Metric opened with- “Nothing But Time”. The beauty of seeing it live is the electric atmosphere, the sparks in the crowd and the building up of tension as we play putty in the hands of the band. “Nothing But Time” is a tune with a release that was just incredibly phenomenal when live. This band has such range, just on their latest album Synthetica– there’s generic pop-rock with “Speed The Collapse”, alternative electronic in “The Void”, then calmer, slow tunes like “Clone”. They pandered to the audience and everyone, from grandmas to tweens had a great time.

Having a song feature in the film Scott Pilgrim vs The World definitely aided their fame. If you’re new to the band and you like rock, catch the “Black Sheep”, for entrée.

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Snakadaktal- “Sleep Underwater”

I was on the train.  I was staring glassy-eyed out over the blur of green that is the leafy North Shore.

That’s when I first heard Snakadaktal on Triple J.

The song was “Fall Underneath”- a catchy synth-pop delirium that made me sit up in my seat and really listen.

After that, I tracked down the band on Triple J Unearthed which led me to their older stuff, like “Air”and “Chimera”. I was hooked, so I bought their latest album- Sleep Underwater.

Snakadaktal has an extraordinary talent for manipulating tone or mood through tempo. This is really obvious in “Chimera” for example. It’s hypnotic and I love it. Their synthetic soundscape is lethargic and the female lead, Phoebe Cockburn’s voice is melodious, like a lullabye.

Their guitar-work is not exhaustive or overstrained but underlying and crucial. There’s enough to show talent and supplement the tune. The beat can shift from dance-pop in “Feel The Ocean Hold Me Under” to a slow, eerie nostalgia in “The Sun II”. Right after that, a tune like “Ghost” emerges with a simple supporting tone and a female voice hauntingly rhythmic and high. “Ghost” can only be described as the colour metallic navy blue, I don’t know how else to explain it. Wikipedia categorises their genre as indie-pop/dream pop and I’d have to agree with the latter.

“Fall Underneath” remains a song with the Snakadaktal signature, with electro-pop sounds that are experimental, but I promise they work. They bring up the beat and get the whole upper torso bopping along. Not something for a dance rave, rather, this tune is a mood-lifter, something I’d listen to turned up loud as I walked through the early sunlit streets of somewhere like The Rocks; empty, fresh and I with a spring in my step.

A mood-lifter, that’s what you really want in an opening to an album. After the first track, the up-beat groove remains in songs like “Isolate”, then after that, their tunes become more stereophonic, a sort of haunting beauty that reminds one of a darkened coastline- the muddy grey of the ocean on an overcast day. It echoes, it’s authentic and it’s so well-polished, showing a clear development from the band’s debut songs on their Triple J Unearthed profile.

From Melbourne in Victoria, I’m glad we’ve for a new Australian act and I hope they see some bright stage lights in the near future.Image

Image source: http://www.getshotmagazine.com/2013/11/16/snakadaktal-sleep-underwater/

The Dorothy-Jane Band

The Dorothy-Jane band

“Woman On The Run” is the latest album from the Dorothy Jane Band. Dorothy-Jane has a reputation as Australia’s Queen of the Blues Harp and in 2012 she was a top 3 finalist in the Australian Blues Music ‘Chain’ Awards. This new album is a great showcase of Dorothy-Jane (DJ)’s talents as a singer-songwriter working in neat cohesion with her band.

Her vocals are like a full-bodied red wine, they’re a little husky, deep and powerful. Her voice is mesmerising, it tells a story and her harmonica is hypnotic. This music is very nice, it’s comfortable and it’s familiar as being part of the soul and blues genre. Baz Cooper on the keys is a shining talent as well which sparkles throughout every tune; both in DJ’s originals or tracks from Canberra bluesman Dean Edgecombe, like “The Same Old Blues”. Tunes like “Boom Bam Bop” are wonderfully frivolous and are guaranteed to get you up and dancing with a beat like the chug of a train and featuring keys and harmonica. The band is so well polished, very professional is it’s execution of song dynamics and the atmosphere is groovin’ funky.

Songs like “Mango Ice-Cream” make me want more of DJ’s voice. The backing drums and bass are great, the keys solo is impressive as ever, but I want more vocal power, some raw, passionate, unleashing of a vocal dragon or something later in the tune and I get this feeling with every tune. The music is wonderful, I just want more of her voice, a bit of unchained glory to give more dynamics to the song. It does happen a little towards the end of this tune, and don’t get me wrong, this is a good sign, because I admit, I want more. Throughout the album it’s like she whispers in your ear, like in “Shake Don’t Stir, and it’s so tantalising, but I can hear the raw power within. Let it roar!

“I Just Want To Make Love To You” is a tune where she does let it rip in the chorus and it was so refreshing. It’s the sort of music I could see at a darkened bar with DJ and her band featuring on stage, and I think that live, they would be electric. I can hear that she could control a room, so don’t let them go! Especially in this tune, she can keep the audience engaged with emotional dynamics, and this makes me happy.

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Image sourcE: http://www.dorothyjanegosper.com/index/