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.   –  Free Download of Sammi Constantine’s “The Game”

Yanni Markovina

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

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

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

Yanni Markovina

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.

Yanni Markovina

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

Track Reviews | Animalia – Paradise

Australian born, Ireland raised and Canada based songwriter Animalia signposts her upcoming album (dissonance) with the haunting piano dirge Paradise. Through tastefully echoing atmospherics Animalia sweetly coos an emotionally weighty tale, supposedly influenced by extensive gun violence. With a voice that can be likened to a more restrained Bjork, Animalia is arresting throughout the song, swerving between fragile during the unaccompanied piano intro, and forceful and stalwart in the grandly sweeping synth-wash outro. Running at just under 2:30 minutes, Paradise never gets a chance to overstay its welcome, and can easily be enjoyed on repeat listens, a tough pitch for a song as emotionally weighty and dark as Paradise, but it succeeds very nicely.

dissonance releases in April 2016 through Culvert Music

Yanni Markovina

Track Reviews | Merival – Kicking You Out

Toronto singer/songwriter Merival showcases a lovingly fragile sound laced with a slight twist of bitter realisation on her singer Kicking You Out. Kicking You Out makes the most out of its musical indebtedness to Bright Eyes’ similar acoustic strum Lua, choosing to marry gorgeous melodic vocal lines in entrancing harmony, with a lyrical output that serves as a relative wishlist of grand wants…all which can and hopefully will be achieved after a certain lover is kicked out. It is polite and pretty, and assuredly worth it’s nice 3 minute running time.

Kicking You Out appears on Merival’s debut EP Lovers, out the 29th of January 2016.

Yanni Markovina