CD Reviews

Polica-ShulamithThis month we listen to new music from Polica, Goldfrapp, Shine 2009, Jessy Lanza, Mambo Chic, White Denim and many more.



Poliça’s second album layers wailing, shifting synth over Channy Leaneagh’s echo-mike vocals. With bottomless bass that pulls from the navel, and the complex results that two drummers provide, Shulamith is a haunted house steeped in both fragility and wrath. Laeneagh admits the album is angrier than the band’s debut, ‘Give You The Ghost’ (2012). A marriage breakdown two years ago is still fueling her creative fires, to the benefit of musos everywhere. From the synth-spangled opener ‘Chain My Name’ to the bittersweet victory sigh of ‘So Leave’, Shulamith is a journey through trauma, embracing pain and heralding catharsis. – Carmen Reilly


DSC_0493Mambo Chic

Nyoka Musango

This short EP from local band Mambo Chic traverses a bundle of styles in just four tracks. The opening song, the title track is an African influenced tune sung in French, laid back with a solid brass section, vocal chants and strong instrumentation. The second track ‘Populapaz’ is in English and a mix of rock and blues. Track number three ‘Rumba in the Rain’ is gorgeous, sweet French vocals (things just sound better in French!) and crisp piano are at the fore. The closing track is a reggae fused sing a long that goes quite wild! – Graeme Watson



Corsicana Lemonade

If you’re in the mood for a gentle roll in some hairy rock that hasn’t shaved since the seventies, ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ will tickle your fancy. Since their debut album five years ago, White Denim have become masters of dirty, trailer-park rock who flirt with experimental, psychedelic, garage and progrock noise. In this effort, the band’s sound has mellowed and matured but hasn’t lost its guts. This self-proclaimed “barbeque record” will trigger nostalgia for family road trips listening to the Allman Brothers and Stevie Wonder (‘Cheer Up Blues Ending’), while making you want to air-guitar solo (‘Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)’). – Carmen Reilly


chase-status-brand-new-machinec-coverChase and Status

Brand New Machine

Brand New Machine is the third release from London boys Chase and Status and takes you on a journey through dance music, bursting in with dark beats and keeping you enthralled with perfectly written lyrics, house undertones, laid back beats and ultimate party tunes. Saying that, it’s their choice of guest vocalists that rounds this album off perfectly with Elli Ingram and Moko really bringing it home. Brand New Machine begs to be seen live with its manicured chaos being sure to bring in the summer season with a drum n bass, jungle filled, melodic bang. – Alice Newport


Havana-Brown-–-Flashing-LightsHavana Brown

Flashing Lights

When it comes to the mainstream music of today there is certainly a shortage of originality; turn on any major radio station and you’ll hear an irritating similarity amongst the vast majority of the tracks played – a beat drop that blasts into a segment of rapid club beats all while the artist sings about the “truly significant moments in life”; like popping bottles in the club. That is precisely what Australias hottest female DJ has deliver to us in her debut studio album – and while the beats may be pretty epic, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. – RyWri


Jessy LanzaJessy Lanza

Pull Back My Hair


This album of minimal electronica was produced by Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys and it is a delight. It’s quiet, spacious and melodic. The tunes are sleek and stylish, walking a perfect balance between cutting edge electronic sounds and subtle pop hooks. Stand out tracks include ‘Against the Wall’, the very mellow ‘Strange Emotion’ and the funk infused title track. This is a CD to play while racing down a freeway or late at night in a swanky apartment with the lights turned out. – – Graeme Watson


Shine2009_album_pack_shot_hi_resShine 2009

Our Nation


The second LP from Finish duo Shine 2009 is an easy going laid back affair. The opening track ‘Eurozone’ is vocally interesting, almost a spoken word chant. On the second track ‘Older’ the summer flavoured guitars kick in and pick up the pace. This a collection of indie vocal pop that is reminiscent of bands like Sound 5 and Carter USM, but without the clever word play. It’s pleasant and interesting enough to add to your summer playlist. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the tunes get remixes to take them on to the dance floor. – – Graeme Watson




Bella Union / [PIAS] Australia

The third album from the country slash psychedelic band hits the target perfectly. Kicking off from the opening track with it’s drudgey guitars and muted vocals Midlake show they knows what works for them and they don’t stray far from the perfected formula. ‘The Old and the Young’ is reminiscent of the recent Tame Impala record, while the rest is murky, quirky and perfect. The closing track ‘Provider (Reprise) ends in a beautiful haze of vibrating sounds. This is the hipster record of the month without a doubt. – – Graeme Watson


Cruicible H&CVarious Artists

Cruicible: The Songs of Hunters and Collectors

Liberation / Mushroom      

Tribute albums always have three kinds of songs, carbon  copies, innovative recreation and repulsive remakes. Birds of Tokyo create a whispering version of ‘Talking to a Stranger’, while The Avalanches hand in a mishmash of samples re-titled ‘Stalking to a Stranger’. The highlights are Alpine’s awesome reinvention of ‘Hear No Evil’ and Abbe May’s dark take on ‘Dog’. Something For Kate put ‘When the River Runs Dry’ through the photocopier and Neil Finn and Eddie Vedder singing ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ is disappointing. A second disc features all the classic original recordings, a health salve for the experience. – Graeme Watson



Tales of Us


Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory return with a collection of 10 tunes all named after people. This collection is a long way from their disco inspired best sellers. This is more like listening to Antony and the Johnsons or Mum. It’s folky, symphonic and kind of twee, but in a good way.  The tracks slide into one another all sounding a bit the same until we kit the sixth ode, ‘Thea’ that is decidedly electronic, but after just short of five minutes it’s back to folksville. This is a beautiful album, but it may send you into a peaceful slumber. – Graeme Watson

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