Track Reviews | Lou Parker – INTRO//CYBERNETICS

“Cybernetics”, according to the pair of disembodied voices that usher in this track, most probably transmitted from some forgotten 1950s radio broadcast, is defined as the notion that “Image Is All!”, and that everyone has a self image, and one that can be changed. The kind of tone that this sets up is an abstract if not intriguing one, which in a sense perfectly fits the mood of Australian electronic producer Lou Parker’s debut release, INTRO//CYBERNETICS.

Electronica is a difficult genre to pull off memorably. Part of this has to do with the very ethereal and contemplative nature of the genre itself, which rewards patient and attentive listening. As well as this, the sheer volume of electronic music with a desire to be moody and pensive that has been made within the past five years means that it is even easier for the music to all combine together…most usually into one of those “BEST EVER ELECTRONICA SONGS OMG!!!” YouTube compilation videos that have a three-hour running time. And while it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong to state that INTRO//CYBERNETICS is a relatively generic track in regards to electronica, it is also prudent to mention that there is enough polish, enough maturity, and enough conceptualism within the song to prove that it should not so easily be dismissed.

Within the “INTRO” section of this seven minute song, one hears the sound of sharp footsteps on a cold wooden floor, which resurface as memorable percussive accentuations as the track unfolds. Details like this make the song worth one’s time, and convey a subtle intelligence. As more and more sonic layers are added, such as distant piano twinkles and a spectral vocal sample, a smooth tapestry is developed, which only offsets the song’s undercurrent of isolation. With its detached tone, INTRO//CYBERNATICS is unapologetic in that it does not strive to appeal to everyone and every setting. Like its title implies, this is a cold, desolate song of subtle aggression, muted by the weight of sterile electronica.

On first inspection, INTRO//CYBERNAETICS proves to be worthy background music for a troubled disposition, or a very strange and very chill night-time party. After repeated listens however, one can definitely appreciate the simplistic intricacy of the song’s instrumental composition. Aligning itself snugly within the genre of subdued electro and deep house, INTRO//CYBERNETICS is a gracious introduction into the musical vision of Lou Parker, that can only get more intriguing from here on out.

Yanni Markovina

yannimarkovina@hotmail.com

 

Track Reviews | Sammi – The Game

“You always made me feel so small” trembled Sammi on last year’s Small. Backed by subtle acoustic guitar and delicate strings, this was the sound delicate frailty, albeit youthful frailty. Jumpcut to a year later, and now on the sultry single The Game, Sammi, now performing under her full name Sammi Constantine, seductively twists the line “We keep playing this game” over a pulsing electropoptronica beat that isn’t afraid of attempting to compete with those employed by the millionaire pop stars. The subject matter of what Sammi Constantine is singing about has not shifted greatly since last year’s Small, both Small and The Game are tales of questioning and confusion over the matters of the heart. But the difference between the two is far beyond a simple genre switch.

In case it couldn’t be told already, The Game is a strident step into maturity. From the childlike moniker of ‘Sammi’ to the proud reclamation of her own name, to the bold stare she holds on the single cover to The Game as opposed to the fracturing face presented on the cover of the Small EP, one can tell that Sammi Constantine wants her intentions to be known and respected. The song itself is a gem too, featuring rich production and a beat that begs to blasted at festival crowds.

All in all, The Game is a testament to how to make a smooth transition into musical maturity. Don’t sacrifice what is closest to you, just find a new way of expressing it. Oh, and making it enjoyable to listen to is a happy bonus.

http://bit.ly/26sDbqX   –  Free Download of Sammi Constantine’s “The Game”

Yanni Markovina

yannimarkovina@hotmail.com

Track Reviews | Radiohead – Burn The Witch

Leave it to Radiohead to completely and utterly confuse everybody. If you have been following the recent events of all things concerning the band, it started on April 30th when a bunch of mysterious flyers were leaked online. “Sing the song of sixpence that goes Burn The Witch” the flyers read, with the ominous tagline, “We know where you live”. Then, a couple of days later, Radiohead destroyed their entire online presence: Their Facebook page, their website, their twitter…all of it was completely blank. This sent the internet into fervour. What will happen next! Well, two short videos featuring childlike puppets, one of a tweeting bird, the other of a woman tied to a tree and surrounded by masked men with swords showed up. More confusion. And within hours of those videos, seeming to finally give in to the amounting pressure held by fans the world over, the band relented and released a full video to this brand new song. Burn The Witch.

First of all, Radiohead are among the only artists in the world who can ever incite this much mystery and intrigue in the music industry. So kudos to them. Secondly, does Burn The Witch justify a five year wait and this relentless parade of abstract teasers? Well let us see. The instrumentation is immediately this song’s most immediate feature. Definitely a step away from The King of Limbs and Thom Yorke’s electronic noodlings, Burn The Witch is more in step with the orchestral pop of Arcade Fire, with a relentless blast of pizzicato strings being the main driving force of the song. When the strings that stay in the shadows rear their heads and perform majestic legato swashes of sound however, is when the song becomes truly divine.  It is very easy to get mixed emotions from this song, as it leans in and out of being relatively charming to rather cataclysmic, especially at the song’s conclusion. We also now know what that flyer was on about. Those were chorus lyrics, and the lyrics in general, paint an unsettling picture, one of disruption, corruption, and societal paranoia, one where lines like “red crosses on wooden doors” and “cheer at the gallows” elicit highly unnerving emotions.

Ultimately, the song is rather eerie, not only because it sounds unlike much of Radiohead’s discography, but also due to the song’s faint menace that lies beneath a cracking smile, just waiting to lunge forward and wreck havoc. This is a lovely and unexpected step for Radiohead, and in my opinion, it is worth getting hyped about a studio album now that might be just laying around the corner, if this is the kind of music we have to look forward to.

Yanni Markovina

yannimarkovina@hotmail.com

Weezer – Weezer (White Album)

Everything Will Be Alright in the End in many ways could have been Weezer’s last album. Asides from the very resolute sounding title, the album neatly rounded off a 20 year career, featured Ric Ocasek production like their debut, and featured a sound that was a frank and honest reminder to their fans that had stuck by them for so many years and been let down so many times. The message was that Weezer still understood their fans, and could still make a good album. Not to mention, the album concluded with the phenomenal The Futurescope Trilogy, which was a pretty damn high note to finish on. It would have been sad, but if 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End had been the final Weezer album, it would have made sense. But here we, two years later and we find Weezer shattering that legendary ‘could-have-been’ story with their 10th album…Weezer (The White Album). Did it deserve to be shattered? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

The Top 30 Best Legend of Zelda Songs

While it is true that 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Pokemon (see list dedicated to that here), it also marks the 30th anniversary of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series. Perhaps even more so than Nintendo’s famous plumber and his games, The Legend of Zelda have consistently provided high quality titles that have proven to be essential touchstones in not only the gaming industry, but in wider pop culture and the arts in general. One of the greatest joys of The Legend of Zelda is that it provides so many amazing experiences and emotions, whether it the sheer elation of solving a hard puzzle or defeating a hard boss, or absolute frustration that you can’t ever make your way through the Water Temple without getting lost. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have fun, that is the brilliance of The Legend of Zelda. Action/adventure style gameplay may be one thing, but The Legend of Zelda series has always strived to include the finest music it can into its games, with many titles in the series featuring music as an essential component of the main core gameplay and story. So, to commemorate the series’ 30 years of existence and its marvelous treatment of music (not to mention the hopeful 2016 release of the new Zelda game currently in the works), here is The Top 30 Best Legend of Zelda Songs. Enjoy! Continue reading

Tom Stephens – Down To Rest

Sometimes,  the only way to tell a realistically depressing story and make it effective is to tell it with a smile…albeit a forced one. Australian songsmith Tom Stephens has already in his short career been the author of a number of fine and delicate songs, but Down To Rest stands out as a definite highlight and indeed a signal for a new direction in his sound. On his debut E.P., 2014’s Embers, Stephens showcased his lyrical skill with fine acoustic webs of gossamer. However, from last year’s What Lies in the Difference single and now Down To Rest, it is clear to see Stephens’ sound blooming in a way that can only be described as warm and genuine.

Down to Rest tells the story of a weathered marriage only maintained through the sense of duty that comes with building a family and keeping up appearances”. This description comes from Stephens himself, and from it, you could be forgiven for thinking that Down To Rest will be a rather maudlin affair. However, sonically, Down To Rest is a slice of intimately glowing vibe rock, with irresistibly tinkling piano fills, subdued but warm guitar fills, a comforting major key chord progression, luscious backing vocals, and Stephens’ own silky vocal twang.

The sunny disposition that the song offers is a tempting yet ultimately disheartening one, for if one concentrates hard enough on the lyrics and the man singing them, one will hear a saddening story of “tattered skin and sunken smiles,” and a chorus that works as a comforting mantra that is returned to in an attempt to find salvation. Ultimately, as Tom Stephens succeeds in making all this come across so effortlessly, the main message to take from Down To Rest is that it is a song for healing. Times are tough, you’re stuck in a rut, but there will always be someone who understands what you are going through, and be willing to offer you some comfort in a time of need.

Find Tom on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tomstephensofficial/?fref=ts

Yanni Markovina

yannimarkovina@hotmail.com

Seth Bogart – Seth Bogart

Pictures do tell a thousand words, and that is definitely the case with this self-titled release from Seth Bogart. Just look at that album cover, with Bogart himself looking like a cross between Andy Kaufman in Heart Beeps and Bryan Ferry, with his digitally replicated likeness glitching at the seams, and not to mention, coloured in that washy, pastel explosion that can only point to one thing. Yep, this is going to sound like an 80s album. And while it may be true that the current music industry is unquestionably looking back to the 1980s to revive the lost arts of cheesy synths, grandiose torch songs, and epic melodies, so much so that it might just start being a tad stale some time soon, that is no reason to shrug Seth Bogart off as merely another 1980s poser album, or at best, an ironic 1980s poser album. Continue reading

Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

The already infamous album rollout of Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo was truly something to behold. It was drawn-out yet oddly sudden, patchy and shambolic yet somehow seemingly pre-planned. With reports dating that the album would be released as far back as late 2013, West has, without desiring to or not, strung along his fanbase for the better part of three years. Within that time, there wasn’t really much to get too excited about. A cameo here and there, some helping out with Big Sean, a few 2015 singles all vastly different and in some regards, kinda lacking that special Kanye ‘oomph’. Not to mention, West’s fashion industry ambitions were bizarre and perplexing at best. Then, we get to the actual release of the album. Continue reading

Track Reviews | SheLoom – America On Fire

You want some Beatlesque pop/rock by a duo of pop geniuses, one from Canada and the other from Italy? Well SheLoom might just be who you need! Filippo Gaetani and Jordon Zadorozny (and Eric Matthews too) share a knowing appreciation and love for the kind of glistening, sparkling album rock you will most undoubtedly find within a Todd Rundgren, XTC or Al Stewart record from the 1970s. This appreciation showcases an unavoidable influence on SheLoom and their single America On Fire, with the shining acoustic guitars, breathy vocals, elegantly pounding pianos, and a wonderful melody, all of which combines to create a pretty strong testament to pop’s more grandiose past. America On Fire is a lovely first taste of SheLoom’s album The Baron Of The Fjord, which is, like America On Fire, a terrific slice of modernistic/retro progressive pop that is designed to go down like a treat. And it does.

The Baron Of The Fjord‘is available now on Bandcamp.

https://sheloom.bandcamp.com/releases

Yanni Markovina

yannimarkovina@hotmail.com

Grizzlee Train – Burned Him Again (E.P.)

Take a look at that title. “Burned Him Again“. With the destructive nature of fire infused into this statement, there is a definite implication of a burning of the past in order to start anew. And while one may scoff that a young, up-and-coming blues band from the Central East Coast of Australia who have only produced one previous E.P. should not really be touting such lofty artistic notions and proclaiming that they need to ‘get back to their roots’ (considering that many would still see them in the root-creating process), there is no denying that the ‘blaze it all, start afresh’ approach has definitely proven to be an artistic step forward for Grizzlee Train. Continue reading