Falloe – Falloe

The press release for Melbourne-based band Falloe playfully quips that it’s members “got into music for free booze and women, but have had limited success in both”. Maybe their haircuts are keeping the ladies at bay. Beards-a-plenty, dreadlocks thicker than those sported by the Predator and one member boasting what can only be described as “Weird Al Yankovich” hair, these guys need a barber. Stat.

Hairy follicle follies aside, the self-titled second album from Falloe is rather enjoyable. Woozy slide guitars and hushed vocal harmonies make ballads poignant without being sappy and the folk-tinged rockers make me want to get drunk with “salt-of-the-earth” types. Looks like someone has to dig through his wardrobe to find his jean jacket.

Artist: Falloe
Album: Falloe
Label: Independent

Snag some mp3s (courtesy of Triple J Unearthed)

Buy Falloe Falloe

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1206

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Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit

After two records of hamming it up for the Americana folk crowd, San Diego natives Delta Spirit have suffered from a bit of an identity crisis. For their newest album the band have enlisted the production skills of Chris Coady, who has previously worked with the likes of TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The result is a self-titled third album that the band believes to be the one true representation of their sound. They have reinvented themselves as alt-country rockers, which has come at the price of their spirit. To put it simply, if you’re the type who prefers Infinite Arms by Band Of Horses to their debut, Everything All The Time, you’ll probably like Delta Spirit.

Artist: Delta Spirit
Album: Delta Spirit
Label: Shock

Buy Delta Spirit Delta Spirit

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Catcall – The Warmest Place

For all of you wannabe pop vocalists belting Katy Perry songs into your hairbrush while standing in front of your bathroom mirror, the debut album from Sydney’s Catcall is your blueprint to mainstream success.

Like Katy Perry, the voice behind Catcall, Catherine Keller, isn’t particularly strong. What Keller lacks in god given talent she makes up for in catchy electro-hooks and sheer enthusiasm.

So remember, kids, just because you can’t sing, doesn’t mean you can’t ride the electro-pop slutwaves. Get yourself Pro Tools, autotune the shit out of your voice, and listen to lots of 80s New Wave records. Computers! The wave of the future!

Artist: Catcall
Album: The Warmest Place
Label: Ivy League

Buy Catcall The Warmest Place

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2:54 – 2:54

UK sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow taught themselves how to play the guitar when they were teenagers. They’ve since recorded a bunch of songs under a name that may or may not mean anything. Maybe 2:54 was the exact time that they decided coming up with a proper band name was too hard and just said, “Fuck it”.

After a flurry of praise for their Scarlet EP, the Thurlow sisters’ self-titled debut is brooding, dark, dreamy, haunting. These are the words I am using to describe this album because writing music reviews is hard. Fuck it.

Artist: 2:54
Album: 2:54
Label: Fiction

Buy 2:54 2:54

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1204

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Patti Smith – Banga

I know that Patti Smith is a musical icon, this symbol of the modern artist, but the more I listen to her eleventh album, Banga, the more disinterested I become.

I know some will scowl at my intolerance. I know that some will call for my head on a stick. All because of my blasphemous remarks about a pillar of popular music. However with songs lamenting the death of Amy Winehouse and being chummy with Johnny Depp, Banga is trite and often boring.

I admit that it takes talent to write an entire song about Amerigo Vespucci (the guy from whom America gets its name), but it doesn’t guarantee that a song about a sailor from 1497 will be any good. Smith has forgotten that just because something can be done, doesn’t always mean that it should be done.

Artist: Patti Smith
Album: Banga
Label: Columbia

Buy Patti Smith Banga

*a version of this review was previously published by Rip It Up Publishing issue #1204

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Eugene McGuinness – The Invitation To The Voyage

I’m not entirely sure who Eugene McGuinness is trying to be: ’70s David Bowie or late ’90s Robbie Williams. The Invitation To The Voyage is full of confounding juxtapositions; sonically shifting from spacey disco anthems to garage surf and trippy rockabilly.

McGuinness is so completely all over the radar that if he were a character from a movie he would be equal parts greasy sax guy from The Lost Boys and that dude who wore Abba’s poop around his neck in that movie about drag queens.

Artist: Eugene McGuinness
Album: The Invitation To The Voyage
Label: Domino

Buy Eugene McGuinness The Invitation To The Voyage

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1203


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Cate Le Bon – CYRK

Apparently the Polish word for circus is “cyrk”. I have a hard time believing this because of the absence of vowels, and don’t give me that “and sometimes y” bullshit. Disregarding my disdain for the album’s title, CYRK is the second offering from the creepy Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon.

Le Bon first gained recognition with her curious preoccupation with death and unconventional song structures. Le Bon is essentially the British version of America’s St. Vincent. They’re both talented doe-eyed weirdos who just happen to write pop songs that get under your skin and make you feel slightly uneasy.

Artist: Cate Le Bon
Album: CYRK
Label: The Control Group

Buy Cate Le Bon CYRK

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Simone Felice – Simone Felice

The self-titled debut of Simone Felice, is a dark trip down well worn American roads. And by dark, I mean an unnerving preoccupation with death and murder.

The album opener, the deceptively upbeat Hey Bobby Ray, details brutal domestic abuse that ends in homicide. New York Times is a reminder of how morbid modern news outlets can be, and Dawn Brady’s Son has an itchy trigger finger.

Ballad Of Sharon Tate takes Felice’s fixation of mortality a step too far. Eliciting the mental image of Tate ‘with a rope around her neck, and heavy with child’ is just in bad taste.

Artist: Simone Felice
Album: Simone Felice
Label: Warner

Buy Simone Felice Simone Felice

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Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair

Hair is a masterfully crafted ode to psychedelic and garage rock from the 60s and 70s. The record tells the story of Ty Segall and White Fence, two longhaired hippies of the Age of Aquarius living a bohemian lifestyle and fighting against the conscription of writing shitty pop songs in the modern musical landscape.

The duo uses their music to rebel against record labels and society’s so-called “Top 40”. Will Ty and White Fence succumb to the pressures of conventional songwriting? Or will they succeed in their quest to liberate the brainwashed masses that greedily consume manufactured bubblegum pop?

Artist: Ty Segall & White Fence
Album: Hair
Label: Drag City

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Alex Winston – King Con

It really is refreshing when a female pop star sings about something other than their cooch or getting shitfaced. Michigan born Alex Winston doesn’t write songs about her extra terrestrial rape fantasies, or getting high as a “starship” and engaging in promiscuous activity. Instead, the 24-year-old sings about parasitic playfulness and an infatuation with The King.

King Con is bubbling with enthusiasm, so much so that it runs the risk of being grating to some. However, only the coldest of hearts will find anything to dislike about this album. Winston’s genuine passion and zeal drive all twelve tracks, each one just as charming as the one that precedes it.

Winston’s imagination and eagerness results in a record that full of in-jokes and personal flights of fancy. Listeners may not fully understand what Winston is getting at, but the entire record is fun and infectiously catchy.

Artist: Alex Winston
Album: King Con
Label: Island

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