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Saturday, 22 April 2017

#636: Go Forth and Suffer for Your Art - Catching Up With The Smith Street Band


While it’s far from unusual for bands from overseas to find their footing in countries other than their own, their sense of national identity can often feel slightly diminished, watered-down somewhat, in an effort to maximise their appeal. Fortunately for Melbourne’s Smith Street Band, they embody an Australia that’s both stereotypical yet fitting of their generation.

#635: Diet Cig - Swear I'm Good At This


“I don’t want to make you feel nostalgic for something that never happened,” sings Alex Luciano on ‘I Don’t Know Her’, the penultimate track on Diet Cig’s debut LP. It’s an interesting sentiment, especially taking into account the ability of Swear I’m Good At This to make you feel just that.


#634: The Smith Street Band - More Scared of You Than You Are of Me


While Melbourne’s The Smith Street Band effortlessly craft images of a suburban Australia rarely experienced by those of us on the other side of the world, it’s not a sense of pseudo-exoticism that affords the band their resonance. Rather, it’s the familiarity of the scenes that play out against such a backdrop, and the emotional response to said scenes, that offer the appeal.

#633: Maximo Park - Risk to Exist


Having made their name thanks to their trademark angular and heartfelt pop music, that Max├»mo Park’s sixth LP ‘Risk to Exist’ should be predicated on politics comes as something of a surprise. It probably shouldn’t, however. The band’s native North East is a region built on industry, and like many others in the UK, has been hit hard by government cuts and rising unemployment. For a band whose lyrics are often hinged on a nostalgic romanticism to become a mouthpiece for the voiceless, the situation must be pretty grim indeed, and not just up north.

Friday, 24 March 2017

#632: Empty Lungs - Don't Get It (EP review)


Though the politics and nihilism of punk might well leave a lot to be desired in the scheme of things, the movement possessed a DIY spirit and sense of community that’s difficult not to admire. One band who seem to embody the very idea of those things, it’s Belfast’s Empty Lungs.

This review was originally written for Louder Than War. Click here to read in full.

#631: Great Cynics - POSI



The world’s going to shit. Plain and simple. You’re probably sick of hearing about it now, hell, I’m even sick of writing about it. Unfortunately, thin patience does little to change that, and the fact remains that the world is indeed going to shit. London punks Great Cynics are aware of this fact. Thankfully however, their fourth record POSI lives up to its name. Rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae of failing political systems and rise of the Right, its focus feels much more personal while at the same time feeling universally resonant.

#630: Beachheads - Beachheads


With Kvelertak so entrenched in the rock and metal scenes of their native Norway, and indeed further afield, it’s easy to overlook the inherent melody behind their weighty riffs. With that in mind, that two members should conceive and eventually form a side project in which fizzy, pop melodies were intrinsic, isn’t all that surprising.