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CD Reviews

CD Review: Michael Cullen and the Soul Searchers – Live @ Lazybones

Former Hardheads and Watershed frontman Michael Cullen as assembled his new Soul Searching backing band to perform this emotionally charged cinematic experience. Performed in the art deco splendour of the Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville, an inner Western suburb of Sydney, the EP features 5 lives tracks, all taken from Michael Cullen’s second solo album True Believer.

The live performances do the songs great justice, with Mr Cullen’s emotionally charged charimia being the driving force that unleashes a new sense of life and an electrifying kind of soundscape.

The set opens with the brooding (Tomatrax Top 100 winning) ‘Black dog.’ The slow and dark sounds paint the perfectly bleak soundscape that sets the scene for the gig. Mr Cullen’s movement from “spoken word” to barotone vocals gives the song a massive emotional charge.

‘Nothing special’ brings about the sad tale of loss, delivered in a sharp tongued and facetious manner showing off Michael’s great dark sense of humour.

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‘Black coffee and cigarettes’ sees country and western meet post punk. The complementing melonchollic and bleak elements interact and amplify the feelings of loss and despair.

”Believer’ brings in the signs of reflection and hope for better things. The live version brings in an extra layer of atmosphere that provides a hypnotic yet energetic trance.

The EP closes with the slow and trippy ‘I walk alone’. The slow burning and roaring guitar provides the perfect shoegaze esq hazy atmosphere that carries you too in a fug of smoke before then disappearing.

This is a great live EP that sees all tracks take on an extra layer of atmosphere and an extra shot of energy. Mr Cullen has used his subtle charisma to create an electrifying yet hypnotic show! Here’s hoping there is more touring to come!

Check out Michael Cullen’s website to find out more!

 

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CD Review: Linger – tuple

 

This is the debut EP from Sydney’s Línger. With an abundance of feeling, colourful soundscapes, and vibrant atmosphere, this shows off an artist worth taking note of.

The EP shows off a vibrant collection of textures and sweet electro-pop vibes. There is a chilly earthy atmosphere felt across the tracks. This is topped off by Línger’s cold but beautiful vocals that are full of passion and feeling.

‘Avoid’ opens the album with an infusion of colourful sounds wafting about among each other creating a rich and delicate soundscape. This is topped off by Linger’s powerful vocals giving a chillingly beautiful feeling full of passion and emotion.  ‘Earthlike’ brings in a subtle electro-pop vibe that builds up energetically as the song progresses to have a heavier industrial feel. The beautiful vocals have a cold feel to them like the fog of an early winter’s morning, adding further colour to the song. ‘Seaway’ has a new-age feel to it, sounding like Robert Mills crossed with the Cranberries. There is a fresh chilled out vibe splashing across the sound like gentle waves, held together with a solid electronic tune in the background.

‘Flyon’ is a sensational new age / indie pop tune. There is some great energy exerted in a cool and chilled out manner. On top of this Linger’s beautifully powerful voice charge along giving the song immense power while also being claim and relaxing. ‘Downfall’ is a relatively stripped back and minimalist offering that delivers a beautiful yet tear-jerking close to the EP.

This is a beautiful EP showing off five heart felt songs that are full of energy and feeling providing a stunning yet chilling atmosphere from start to finish.

Check out Linger’s Facebook page to find out more!

CD Review: Rosetta – Utopioid

Genres such as “post-metal”, “prog-metal”, “experimental metal” and ‘”heavy no-wave/shoegaze prog rock” have been used to describe Rosetta’s sound. While none of these descriptions are incorrect (nothing that I may have made the last one up), they don’t fully capture the sound that is Rosetta. There is an amazing mix of heavy and soft, and light and dark, all rolled in at once. The band has the intensity of Ministry while also achieving the hazy atmosphere of Sonic Youth. Somehow they are able to mix the best of seemingly contrasting worlds to create an amazing sound that is packed with intense rage while also providing a light fuzzy vibe. The songs are all quite long with 7 of the 9 on offer going past the 6 and a half minute mark. This allows the ideas to be fully realised while in many cases the sounds developed in their own time at a steady but engaging pace.

‘Ámnion’ eases the album open, taking on a calm and collected vibe bringing out a thick hazy atmosphere reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine. The music flows along nicely in a slow but steady pace building in depth at its ease. ‘Intrapartum’ brings out the rocking out in a Mike Oldfield-esq way. There are some cool guitar riffs rocking about in a new age fashion backed by subtle charismatic vocals that act as an ambient soundtrack that guides rather than dominates the sound. As the song progresses a fug of low growling guitars emerges and floats around to become all encapsulating. ‘Neophyte Visionary’ brings  out the heavy metal sound while doing so in a placid manner. There is lots of yelling, screaming (and headbanging) while at the same time there is a thick overlaying no-wave style cloud that allows you to drift off at the same time, achieving the best of both world. ‘King ivory tower’ produces a thick blast of earsplitting metal sounds, thrashing out with great energy and intensity, achieving an epic hazy atmosphere at the same time! ‘54543’ is a beautiful instrumental, taking on a Robert Mills / new age vibe it brings out a sweet soft sound to calm the nerves a little.  ‘Hypnagogic’ throws metals out of the window and instead takes on a soft yet deep prog-rock journey. The song slowly draws you into the deep dark cave with the soft echoing vocals proving a chilling soundscape to explore. ‘Óohelet’ brings our a deep dark post-punk atmosphere, reminiscent of The Cure’s Faith days mixed with some heavy Devin Townsend-esq outbursts, creating a chilling yet compelling experience. The album closes with the soft but growling and ever evolving instumental ‘Intramortem’.

This is a phenomenal record! The band manage to capture the best bits of atmospheric soundscapes, and hard hitting heavy metal and combine them into something greater than the sum of their parts. The music evolves from soft to heavy, light to dark, and even mixes all together in a seamless evolution to create an epic journey with no dull moments. This is the ultimate album to crank up loud and absorb the fuzzy metal vibes.

Check out Rosetta’s website to find out more!

CD Review: Rachel Mason – Das Ram

New York’s Rachel Mason has been described as being “among the most eclectic underground creative forces of our time.” This latest record is certantly a testament to that statement. This record showcases eight tracks that are bursting at the seams with colourful and unique creativity while at the same time containing all the elements of catchy pop tunes.

‘Roses’ is a curious yet gorgeous pop tune. There are some unusual electronic sounds floating about which are somehow packaged up in a slick poppy package full of colour and life.

‘Heat explodes’ is an energetic and quirky tune, driven along by cute piano sounds and charismatic vocals.

‘Sandstorm’ brings in a raw guitar sound creating a dusty atmosphere that roars on in a clam yet rocking manner. ‘Tigers in the dark’ sounds like Queen crossed with the Human League. There are some great rocking sounds splices seamlessly with some off-beat 80s-esq dance sounds. The result is something truly out there and utterly amazing. Ms Mason’s colourful voice adds a further dimension giving the song even more character.

‘Marry me’ is a deep and chilling song, slowly the music builds up an eerie atmosphere taking you through abandoned streets at night. ‘Queen bee’ is a curious mix of country and trip-hop. The various elements work brilliantly at creating a feeling of loneliness and isolation topped off with the lyrics “friends were never real friends’.

‘Cancer’ is an active and at times chaotic, dark offering with all manner of things going off at once creating a strange trippy experience. The record closes with the more harmonious and upbeat sounds of ‘Heaven’.

This is an amazing record full of wierd and wonderful sounds that are also slickly held together. Across the 8 tracks, a lush banquet and sounds and styles are explored and presented with dynamic flair! Rachel Mason finds and exploits the right balance between conventional pop tunes and musical eccentricity!

 

Check out Rachel Mason’s website to find out more!

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