Author Archives

Leonard Cohen – Live in Dublin

As the third live album he’s released in just five years, Live in Dublin begs questions as to whether the world needs yet another recording of Leonard Cohen in concert. On balance, probably not – but this song cycle does give fans a spirited, passionate rendition of many of the master’s best songs. And while […]

Bertie Blackman – The Dash

Bertie Blackman has always seemed like a purveyor of that particular brand of homegrown, ‘credible’ indie that’s compulsory for local reviewers to praise lest they break the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ code of Australian music. So The Dash is a revelation. A sparkling, expansive record, it’s full of big hooks set within a richly textured electronic […]

Daniel Lanois – Flesh and the Machine

Best known for his work with artists like U2, Neil Young and Peter Gabriel, Canadian producer Lanois is also a highly accomplished solo artist in his own right. Flesh and the Machine, his seventh or eighth album depending on how you count them, is classic Lanois, bearing all the hallmarks of the spacey, ambient, somewhat […]

Steve Reich – Radio Rewrite

Radio Rewrite represents something of a departure for Reich, who is often said to be one of the greatest living composers and a master of minimalism to rival Philip Glass. A song cycle which sees him reinterpret rock and pop songs, this album was inspired by two Radiohead tracks: Jigsaw Falling Into Place and Everything […]

Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems

Veteran singer, songwriter, poet and performer, Leonard Cohen, shows no sign of slowing down. His 13th studio album sees him continue to explore the human condition in his bleak, textured, idiosyncratic fashion. Love, death, war, religion, the state of the world – all the Cohen touchstones are here. But rather than being weighed down by […]

Lenny Kravitz – Strut

It’s been 25 years since his debut album and he’s now 50 years old but Lenny Kravitz remains one of the coolest dudes in music. Strut, his tenth studio album, doesn’t contain much by way of surprises but what it does have is a winning mix of funk, rock and soul from one of the masters. […]

Smokey Robinson – Smokey & Friends

When you see the words 'and friends' in an album title, it generally indicates a stopgap: an artist roping in a few friends to do some covers and keep their hand in. And that’s what’s happened here. But this being R&B legend Smokey Robinson, it’s done pretty well – and the friends aren’t just any […]

5 Seconds of Summer – 5 Seconds of Summer

It’s easy to deride music by the likes of 5 Seconds of Summer. Why? Because it’s shit. Derivative, boring, unexceptional and totally by numbers, this is the musical equivalent of a Big Mac or a coffee from Starbucks. You know exactly what you’re gonna get and you know it’s going to be of low quality. […]

Grace Jones – Nightclubbing (Deluxe Edition)

How can an album released in 1981 still sound so incredibly fresh and modern? This reissue is a startling blend of funk, reggae, soul and synth pop, it contains some of Jones’ best-known songs including Pull Up To The Bumper, Demolition Man and her evocative cover of Walking In The Rain by Sydney’s own Flash […]

Kimbra – The Golden Echo

While pop aficionados will be acquainted with Kimba’s debut album Vows, to the world at large she’s that girl from Somebody That I Used To Know. The Golden Echo is a decent stab at changing that. Carolina is a shimmering pop gem, Miracle is a fabulous slice of nu-disco goodness, and 90s Music is a […]