Month: August 2021

CD Review: Turnstile – Glow On

PHOTO CREDIT: JIMMY FONTAINE

Band: Turnstile
Album: Glow On
Label: Roadrunner / Warner
Release: August 27th, 2021

Rating: 10/10


Virtually anyone could whip themselves up a decent burrito, but it takes a true master of the culinary arts to make a great burrito. It’s not just about all those ingredients snuggled up under a soft tortilla, but their quality, their source, how they’re seasoned and prepared; the intermingling of textures and collision of flavours. When treated with the right care and cogitation, a concept so simple can become something so life-affirmingly beautiful.

In this analogy, the burrito is hardcore punk, and our culinary maestro is Baltimore outfit Turnstile. The band have always tackled their slate of scream ’n’ shred with an outsider’s perspective, spicing up their palate with summery grooves and kinetic percussion. But on LP3, it’s like they’ve finally cracked the code to making an infallibly calamitous, uncompromisingly headstrong hardcore album sound genuinely otherworldly.

Glow On is cinematic, riveting and rhapsodic; the sheer depth and dynamism of its musicality cannot be understated, nor Turnstile’s passion in sculpting it. It’s a notably short record at 35 minutes, but they really make every second count. “Endless”, for example, clocks in a few seconds off two minutes long, yet it takes it the listener on a full-fat adventure through a sonic forest of shimmery bass, effects-soaked vocals and tearing guitar juts.

Even ornamental quips like the empyrean synth intro on “Mystery” and the regal grand piano lick on “Fly Again” have their place, adding contextual basis to tracks like the silky, groove-oriented “Underwater Boi” and the hazy, stoner-friendly “Alien Love Call”. Then because the funky, Prince-esque energy at play on the former let us know as much could be expected, the equally biting and breezy “New Heart Design” feels homely and natural, no matter how odd its composition may sound in description (it is at once raw, gritty and eruptive, romantic, groovy, sparse and fantastical).

For the more traditional hardcore fans that just wanna cut sick to some gloriously gory riffs and wall-rattling fills, don’t worry – Turnstile still have you covered. Sharp and snarling cuts like “Holiday” and “Humanoid / Shake It Up” dot the record’s top-end, while the back-to-back belters “Wild Wrld” and “Dance-Off” inject its second half with a blast of mosh-tailored intensity.

Again, Turnstile have always been innovators. They’re one of the most interesting bands on the circuit – not even just in hardcore – but Glow On makes their previous efforts look embarrassing in comparison. This is the kind of record that makes us feel justified in spending $500 on a pair of headphones; a true masterclass in the art of heavy music. Come 2030, we’ll be looking back on it as the record that sparked a whole new wave of rebellious genre-bending.

Please note: this review is also printed in #144 of Australian Guitar Magazine, syndicated here because AG’s album reviews are no longer published online.

Glow On is set for release on August 27th, 2021 via Roadrunner / Warner. Click here to pre-order.

CD Review: The Bronx – Bronx VI

PHOTO CREDIT: MIKE MILLER

Band: The Bronx
Album: Bronx VI
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Release: August 27th, 2021

Rating: 7.5/10


Perfectly suited for a particularly erratic time, Bronx VI is heavy, hard-hitting and headstrong. It’s a step backwards in the band’s sonic evolution – Bronx V stood out for its tasteful shift into a more summery, groove-inflected Britrock flavour, whereas Bronx VI is mostly cut-and-dried, no-frills punk – but that’s not to say it isn’t a wondrously well-crafted record.

It’s a rabid and unrelenting love letter to fans of the first three Bronx LPs; the riffs are venomous, the chugs walloping and the solos soaring, and the screams lacquered over them are enthralling and impassioned. Best is how it crystallises all the meteoric might and inimitable fury of the band’s live show – especially so via the breakneck‑paced intensity of “Breaking News” and the frenetic, fist-pumping grunt of “Curb Feelers”. 

Please note: this review is also printed in #144 of Australian Guitar Magazine, syndicated here because AG’s album reviews are no longer published online.

Bronx VI is set for release on August 27th, 2021 via Cooking Vinyl. Click here to pre-order.

NME news roundup: August 17th-22nd, 2021

Hey! What’s up? Comin’ to you live from day [I have honestly lost count] of Sydney’s lockdown, where we’re at 830 new cases of COVID-19 and there’s no end in sight to this brutal, droning hellscape! I am feeling… Not good. Honestly, one of the few redeeming factors of this gruelling malaise is that I still have work to bury my head in, which I am incredibly grateful for – especially right now.

News-wise, the highlight this week was obviously the lineup for UNIFY 2022 being announced. Though I have no confidence at all that it will actually go ahead, the idea that I might, potentially, maybe, possibly have somewhat of a slight chance to see Violent Soho, Teenage Joans, Teen Jesus And The Jean Teasers, Short Stack and Ocean Grove at the same festival next year… It’s pretty fuckin’ exciting!

Anyway, here’s everything I got up to at NME this week 🙂

TUESDAY, 17/08/21

Korn postpone six shows after Jonathan Davis tests positive for COVID-19

Rammstein’s ‘Ich Will’ has become the official soundtrack for the German Paralympic team

Hear Angel Olsen put her spin on Billy Idol’s ‘Eyes Without a Face’

Lil Wayne opens up about mental health struggles and childhood suicide attempt: “You have no one to vent to”

Grinspoon, The Butterfly Effect and more announced for Wallapalooza 2021

WEDNESDAY, 18/08/21

Trippie Redd won’t face prosecution for alleged assault and battery charges made in 2018

Lady Gaga’s dogwalker shares GoFundMe campaign to “support the process of growing from trauma”

Listen to Bliss N Eso’s propulsive new single ‘Tell The World That I’m Coming’

Watch Beks reimagine ‘Titanic’, ‘Dirty Dancing’, ‘The Notebook’ and more in new video for ‘Devoted’

Live Nation says it’s looking into trialling vaccination requirements for Australian events

360 announces tenth anniversary reissue for ‘Flying & Falling’

Listen to Cheap Date’s heartrending new single ‘Woman To You’

THURSDAY, 19/08/21

Remi Wolf announces debut album ‘Juno’, shares two new singles

Watch Courtney Barnett perform a dizzying rendition of ‘Rae Street’ on ‘Fallon’

Listen to Client Liaison’s fist-pumping new single ‘Elevator Up’

Murmurmur roar back to life in kaleidoscopic new single ‘Alive’

Mossy leaps into the world of electropop on first single in four years, ‘Shade’

Allday shares new video for ‘Door’, reschedules 2021 tour dates

Jimmy Barnes cancels ‘Flesh And Blood’ national tour

Violent Soho, The Amity Affliction and more announced for the 2022 UNIFY Gathering

FRIDAY, 20/08/21

Bon Iver protest Minnesota pipeline at their first show since March 2020

Justin Bieber announces three-day Vegas weekender with Kehlani, Jaden Smith and more

Holy Holy and CLEWS deliver a stripped-back live version of ‘The Aftergone’ from lockdown

Death By Denim crank up the grooves on new single ‘Cause A Scene’

Keith Urban shouts out “drifters” and “dreamers” in new single ‘Wild Hearts’

Melbourne artists join forces for livestreamed Artists For Afghanistan benefit

SATURDAY, 21/08/21

Corey Taylor has tested positive for COVID-19: “I’m very, very sick”

Dave Mustaine doesn’t think Metallica “could have survived” with him in the band

Big Boi and Sleepy Brown announce joint album release date, share new song ‘The Big Sleep Is Over’

Young Thug reigns supreme in the stylised video for new single ‘Tick Tock’

SUNDAY, 22/08/21

NYC Homecoming Concert shut down midway due to hurricane warning, may resume without crowd

Kanye West appears to hit out at Drake: “I’ve been fucked with by nerd ass jocks like you my whole life”

Kacey Musgraves celebrates her 33rd birthday with a snippet of new music

Australian Guitar #144

Hey, happy Monday! We are inching evermore closer to reaching issue #150 of Australian Guitar (which, if all goes according to plan, should hit shelves next October), and for our next notch on the timeline towards it, we’re embracing one of the most classic colour schemes in our arsenal: purple and yellow. But it’s not like we really had a choice to use any other palate – where there’s Prince, there’s purple. And yellow just goes really nicely with purple. 

We also did end up running with a Bluesfest special – though I’m not entirely confident that Bluesfest will actually go ahead in October. It really does seem like we (being NSW) will be locked down until at least the end of that month. Which sucks, because I am getting really, really, really done with being pent up in this fucking house. I want to go to the city! I want to see Shang-Chi when it comes out! I want to go to Bluesfest!!!! I wasn’t even planning to, but now it looks like a really chipper time! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, yeah, Australian Guitar #144 is out today. You can read all about what’s in it over on the Guitar World site. Copies are on shelves at newsagents all around Australia, online via Techmags and iSubscribe, and digitally wherever great magazines can be downloaded. 

Buy a copy (or ten) so we can make it to #150!

NME news roundup: August 8th-15th, 2021

I’m running out of Bruno photos, hey. I’ve been meaning to spend more time actively taking photos of him – and of things in general – but everything has been so turbulent lately, the thought keeps slipping past me. With no end in sight for Sydney’s lockdown (or the restrictions accompanying it), it’s been hard to feel optimistic about too much. But I’m keeping busy, which is helping with the mental side of it. Case in point: a few really big days of music news, which I had the wicked privilege of helping to cover at NME.

My highlight for this week is the announcement of The Beths’ live album, recorded at their Auckland Town Hall show from last November. I absolutely adore The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers was my album of the year for 2020 – and I was so irreparably devastated when they postponed their Australian tour back in June. I have my fingers crossed they’ll be able to whip over here soon (probably not in November as planned), but in the meantime, this LP will be a nice little consolation prize. I’m stoked the film is going to be streaming on Apple TV+ as well, I knew that yearlong free trial would come in handy at some point!

SUNDAY, 08/08/21

Live Nation will allow artists to set their own COVID-19 entry protocols, won’t allow unvaccinated staff to work shows

Rihanna responds to being named the world’s richest female musician

Nearly a fifth of US venues that applied for government funding have been rejected

Listen to Vince Staples catch ‘em all in his Pokémon soundtrack inclusion, ‘Got ‘Em’

Polish Club team up with Sydney restaurant Burger Head to launch their own burger

TUESDAY, 10/08/21

Judge denies request to have Britney Spears’ conservatorship hearing expedited

Australian government commits $20million boost to mental health charity Support Act

The Kid LAROI reacts to ‘Stay’ hitting Number One on the Billboard Hot 100: “I. FUCKIN. LOVE. YOU. ALL.”

I Know Leopard tap into their pop side on shimmery new single ‘Day 2 Day’

WEDNESDAY, 11/08/21

The Beths announce live album and concert film, ‘Auckland, New Zealand, 2020’

Tropical Fuck Storm head to the astral plane in new single and video, ‘Bumma Sanger’

Stevan oozes emotion in the new music video for ‘Hope It’s Not’

STUMPS share an ode to loneliness with new single ‘By Myself’

Melbourne International Film Festival cancels in-cinema element of 2021 event, expands MIFF Play program

FRIDAY, 13/08/21

Paul McCartney shares an inside look at the making of his ‘Find My Way’ video

Tierra Whack shares thumping new track ‘8’ for the ‘Madden 22’ soundtrack

Dionne Warwick set to headline the inaugural Dogepalooza Festival

Polish Club bring ‘The Charlie Marmaduke Trilogy’ to an end in the new video for ‘Baby We’re Burning’

Short Stack dial up the emotions on an acoustic version of ‘Live4’

Listen to Masked Wolf’s aptly titled new single, ‘Bop’

Debbies come to terms with themselves on explosive new single ‘Sinner’

The Bamboos share new single ‘Piece Of Me’ from ‘Hard Up’ deluxe edition

SUNDAY, 15/08/21

Philadelphia venue names its cloakroom after Japanese Breakfast

Sebastian Bach says Americans should be mandated to be vaccinated: “There’s no politics in health or medicine”

US venues denied the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant can now appeal their rejections

Whitney announce “intimate” 2021 North American tour

June/July ’21 post dump!

Okay, so June and July were pretty slow months on the posting front. But I spent most of June struggling with a whole bunch of health issues, culminating in an ICU stint and a bunch of other hectic shit in July, which in turn left me me with only the latter half of July to bring almost the entirety of Australian Guitar #144 together, while also working another steady writing job, getting my life back in order, and dealing with some other little tidbits. So I have that excuse!

August has already been a much more eventful month on the writing side, and I’ve picked up another editing job (so now I work three jobs, woo!) so the next post dump will be way more jam-packed, I promise!

‘Til then, I hope you enjoy cringing at all the shit I scribbled up in the articles below!

I’ve decided to embed three songs in this one: “Big Kitten” by Feed Me, from his downright magical new (self-titled) album, “Blackout” by Turnstile, from what I’m almost 100% certain will end up being my favourite album of 2021 (Glow On – keep an eye out for my review here next week, or read it in AG #144), and “Dead Friends” by Clay J Gladstone, which I caught on Triple J one afternoon and have been frothing since.

LITERALLY MY OWN SITE

AFI: Keeping The Flame Alight

The Great Ed Square Snack Crawl Of 2021

BLUNT

10 adorable queer love songs to warm your cold, dead heart

AUSTRALIAN GUITAR (via GUITAR WORLD)

Garbage’s Steve Marker: “It was important to keep the initial spirit that we had when we wrote these songs”

The Offspring’s Dexter Holland and Noodles: “Everything from Smash ’til now seems like it’s all part of the same era”

Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake: “If we share the load, it should mean that we can come up with a stronger album”

Liz Stringer: “I didn’t have any design for the outcome, which was very different to other records I’ve made”

Rag’N’Bone Man: “It feels like we really concentrated on the songs before anything else was done”

Gojira’s Joe Duplantier: “I think humans are pretty shitty sometimes, but we’re as horrible as we are incredible”

Dropkick Murphys’ Ken Casey: “I’m having a blast being able to connect more with the audience”

DZ Deathrays’ Shane Parsons and Lachlan Ewbank: “It’s almost like the record opens up as you get further and further into it”

Polish Club’s David Novak: “We’ve moved beyond the OG Polish Club setup”

Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis on being inspired by Thin Lizzy and working with Kurt Vile

An interview with Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Kyle McMillin

Australian Guitar’s Fresh Frets: Vol. 8

Spotlight: Rosie Tucker

Spotlight: Aston Valladares of Towns

Spotlight: Wallice

Spotlight: Harper Bloom

Spotlight: Saska Brittain of Dulcie

Amends – Tales Of Love, Loss, And Outlaws album review

Sly Withers – Gardens album review

Paper Citizen – Wandering Ghost EP review

Beabadoobee – Our Extended Play EP review

A heaps rad chat with Tim and Craig of LOSER

PHOTO CREDIT: IAN LAIDLAW

Okay, so I’ve been staring at this little WordPress CMS text module thing for like 20 minutes at this point, and I still can’t think of anything to write here. It is a Sunday afternoon and I’ve just finished a bullshit hectic week, and my brain is just totally caramelised. My writing skills are definitely not in tip-top shape right now.

Y’know what is in tip-top shape, though? Melbourne-based alt-rock band LOSER.

Yeah I know, that segue was shit.

Y’know what’s not shit, though? Melbour-NO DON’T CLICK AWAY, I’LL STOP!!!

But yeah, the new LOSER record – All The Rage, due out September 10th on Domestic La La, the label I’m pretty sure is just physically incapable of putting out a bad release – slaps so hard. Thematically, it hits super hard and cuts straight down into the soul; but musically, it’s just so much fun. It’s like an amalgamation of everything great about ‘90s and ‘00s pop-rock – there’s a little Weezer in there, a bit of the Pumpkins, a dash of Nirvana – all spun through an ultra-crispy, tightly produced web of modern slickness.

In short: ‘s’a pretty fuckin’ good time, eh.

I got to write the official bio for the record, too, which was really cool. I really enjoyed listening to it approximately 600 times in the span of a week (I know that reads as sarcasm, but it honestly isn’t), and I especially enjoyed getting down to the wire about it with vocalist/guitarist Tim Maxwell and bassist Craig Selak. I only wound up using about 200 words from our chat in that bio, so there existed about 4,000 words of their wisdom just gathering dust on my harddrive…

UNTIL NOW!

The band (and their absolute legend of a publicist, shoutout to Abbey!!!!) said they were cool with me posting the full transcript here, so… Here we are ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


It honestly feels like it was just a few months ago that Mindless Joy came out. How did All The Rage come together so quickly for you guys?

Tim: It didn’t, really! We’ve been writing this for… What, like a year and a half now? I mean, the first song and the next single, they were literally written in 2018. So we’ve been working on it for a while. We pretty much wrote another album before we wrote Mindless Joy, and most of those songs just didn’t really fit, or we thought they would be too far removed from what we were doing at the time.

We figured that people wanted to hear something a little bit more simplistic and more like Weezer – stuff in that pop-punk sort of vein – rather than jump straight into the stadium rock sort of thing. So we held off on that and we chose a few songs that we wanted to work on, and then we wrote some more, and so on. I mean, during COVID, what else could you do?

In my honest opinion – and I’m cautious about this coming off as an insult, but I mean it in a totally positive way – I think on this record, your influences are a little less forward-facing, and you guys really come into your own as a band. A song like “Generate” on Mindless Joy, for example – I dig it a lot, but I listen to it and I’m like, “Yeah, this could 100 percent be a Weezer song!” But every track on this album is just… It sounds like LOSER. Do you agree that you’ve sort of galvanised your own identity more on this record?

Tim: Yeah, I feel like the way I’d explain it is that Mindless Joy was like our trendy ‘90s record – y’know, I was listening to all of those bands like Weezer, The Smashing Pumpkins… I actually didn’t grow up listening to all of that, that was Craig’s bread and butter, but I got into that at a later stage and that’s what inspired me to start LOSER. 

But for this record, I went back more to the 2000s, I started watching Video Hits and all that, and I was listening to all the bands that I know and love. And I feel like a lot of that shows in [All The Rage]. It’s still a good combination of all that ‘90s stuff, but with a bit more of the 2000s.

Craig: Yeah. We definitely didn’t take any offence to that comment, by the way – it’s totally true. I remember, there were a couple of moments during the writing and recording of Mindless Joy where we would be like, “This part reminds me of Alice In Chains, let’s go more down that path,” or, “This is kind of Weezer-y, let’s put some more of that energy into it.” But this time around, it was much more about what we were feeling personally and what felt good to us, and a bit less of a focus on any of that stuff. 

Which I guess is probably a combination of having grown into our own as a band, and the fact that having been a band for longer, and having Mindless Joy on our belts already, we feel a bit less worried about how it’s all going to come across. We’re more comfortable in expressing ourselves.

Did that confidence lead to you feeling more inspired?

Tim: Yeah, we definitely felt more inspired. The last band I was in was like instrumental, ‘70s rock sort of stuff. And I guess I’ve always sort of been… Not really a frontman, but writing the songs and sort of leading the band and stuff. So yeah, it was cool to come into our own.

What is it about those big, anthemic ‘90s and ‘00s rock bands that you wanted to channel? Or what is it about that style that resonates so much with you?

Tim: I think it’s the catchiness – it’s universally pleasing to everybody. I feel like the 2000s are coming back pretty strong at the moment, y’know what I mean? I basically wanted to give the kids of 2021 an opportunity to feel what I felt back in the day, when I would hear bands like Green Day for the first time and just lose my mind. 

There’s a lot of bands out there who are just trying to jump on what’s trendy at the time, and we’re pushing something that’s not really trendy at the moment. And, like, it takes longer, y’know? Not many people want to listen to guitar solos and stuff – songs have to be under three minutes long, they need to be short and simple… And don’t get me wrong, we did a lot of that – I mean, there’s not a one song over three-and-a-half minutes long on this record, I’m pretty sure.

Craig: I think some of the inspiration, too, just comes from those full-circle moments. It might be different for Tim, but as I get older, I’ve started to become a lot more relaxed in who I am, and anything I got into when I was 11 to 14 years old is now just sacred. Each year seems to become more and more influential. 

The first live gig I saw was Silverchair, Magic Dirt and Something For Kate, and it was like, I’d gone from Queen to that, and then straight into the grunge stuff, and then once I started meeting friends at school and playing in different bands, I got into more punk and ska and everything like that. And that’s where all the Bennies stuff came into it – which was just great, I mean, playing with those guys was amazing, they gave me some of the best moments in my life – but then you get to a point where Tim sends you a song called “Phase Me” and it sounds exactly like the first things you ever loved, and you’re like, “Woah!” 

It was like I was plugging back into the source, y’know what I mean? And I think the more you indulge in that, the more it just fills you up… It’s all about the love we have for this kind of music, and wanting to push forward with it in our own way.

You want it to be so that if 15-year-old Craig could hear this record, he’d be fucking stoked!

Craig: Exactly! You want to write a song that you would have liked, y’know?

With “On The Edge”, Tim, you noted that you wanted to write a song that would have a universal impact. Do you reckon you achieved what you set out to do, or tick the boxes you wanted to?

Tim: Totally, yeah, I think I did! I mean, it’s been played on the radio every day, and I didn’t think that song would be picked up to begin with, so that’s fucking awesome. I literally spent weeks and weeks just watching Video Hits and going, “Alright, cool, so I want a Ben Folds, ‘Rockin’ The Suburbs’ sort of verse, and then this weird, almost rap-ish verse, and then the chorus has to be real simplistic, but still punches you in the face…”

So in terms of the lyrical themes you guys explore on this record, I could be totally misreading it all here, but it feels like there’s an overall theme of self-affirmation and overcoming adversary – whether that’s inflicted by other people or by your own mental headspace. Was there an intentional theme of optimism you wanted to embrace, or was the goal to write an album that people could listen to as a tool of encouragement?

Tim: It was mostly about how bad my mental health was going – especially that song, “On The Edge”. Mindless Joy hid away a lot of those things, and I wasn’t being as sincere when I was writing those songs. Whereas [on All The Rage] there’s some really deep lyrical moments. Especially the song “So”, too, where I’ve written it like a storyteller-songwriter thing, where it’s just like, “He could not be any more obvious about what’s going on in his life.” 

When Craig and I were tracking, I think it was two songs – “On The Edge” was one of them – and it was like… That’s the first time I’d ever broken down in the studio. I didn’t know what was wrong with me – I felt like half my body was numb. And I think you can really hear that through a lot of the vocal tracking and the lyrical content.

Is it important for you to maintain the human side of it, and allow yourself to get to that point where it can be very cathartic?

Tim: Totally, yeah, that was mostly the point of it – being real open and honest. And y’know, hopefully people can relate to that and feel the same way, and the songs can be cathartic for them too.

Craig: I feel like when the songs were written, there wasn’t a cohesive theme in mind. It wasn’t until we put them all together that we realised what was going on with the album. And coming up with the name All The Rage – it felt really fitting for what we were saying, and what Tim was saying, because it was a response to being in an environment where there’s a lot of rage. 

It was less about the pandemic and more about just being a young person in an environment where people are rewarded for outrage, and it actually makes people more popular and more wealthy; the more they can bring rage out in people, the more engagement they receive. And these songs the a reflection of somebody looking inward, whilst also being inside a larger environment where it’s all about stoking the fire.

I think it was cool when we sort of picked up on that. It was like, “Wow, each song has kind of got this thread running through it! This is what’s happening, but this is how I’m feeling, and I want to talk about how I’m feeling, not what’s happening.” Y’know what I mean?

I guess it comes down to that authenticity of, like, when you’re putting all of yourself into a record and you’re not trying to force anything, there can end up being an overarching theme that runs through all of the songs subconsciously. Because that’s how life itself works, and a good record about one’s life is just a snapshot of a period of time in that life.

Craig: Absolutely. And this was a really clear snapshot, so I’m glad that’s come across. Because yeah, there were definitely moments where y’know, Tim was super vulnerable – particularly in tracking it. I think a lot of the writing is subconscious and emotional, and then when you get down to going, “Alright, let’s nail this part, how are you feeling? Let’s track it!” That’s when it becomes real. And then I’m sitting there while Tim’s singing and I’m just like, “Shit, man! He’s pouring into it!” That was a nice thing to try and capture.

Speaking of the tracking, what was it like building Restless Noise Studios from the ground up?

Tim: Yeah, it was awesome! My parents were just super supportive and awesome, and they were like, “Hey, we’re buying our old house, and there’s a six-by-six metre shed, and we want to turn that into a studio for you. We’ll pay for it.” And basically, I had a mate from Tassie come up and help me build that, and we built it over, like, two or three weeks. When do you think we started actually working in there, Craig? It would have been a while after we finished building.

Craig: Yeah, we did the first round of tracking for the album a year ago – it would’ve been May. So when we started, the first drum tracks were recorded via satellite, because at that point we were still in lockdown. So the studio kind of fired up and had a warm release, with Tim in there by himself and me in this exact room, sending bass parts and tracking vocals. 

And then there was that mid-year period where everything opened up again for about a month and a half, and that’s when we really got in and the studio and really came into its own, and we started pounding out the rest of the songs because we thought things might lock down again – and they did, so then we couldn’t really finish the album until late last year, early this year, once everything had opened up again. 

So we had to take a couple of runs at it, but in that whole time, Tim was just working away on the record. Because he was basically living at the studio during lockdown, just adding bits and pieces and working it through. And it was a really strange and awesome experience – I’d never recorded an album over such a long period of time. 

Tim: We’d be on Facetime with each other for hours. Because me and Craig produced it; we had a lot of input on Mindless Joy as well, but we were under the guidance of somebody else, and the whole band was in the room. But this one was mostly just me and Craig, and y’know, we’d pull apart the songs and play around with them. 

There were so many songs that had to be faster and so many songs that had to be slower, and we were like, “Ah, this is boring,” and, “Ah, here’s a fresh song” – we had so much time to work on it, and we took advantage of every second.

Craig: But then by the end, we got to the point where we were just like, “Okay, let’s not overthink it now!” We’d done so much overthinking that we came full circle and went, “Let’s just vibe it!” And then we ended up just flowing right to the finish line. It was a pretty strange way to do an album, but I feel so proud of how it came out, and pushing through all that weird stuff.

So you spent months and months working on this record, but you were still just going with the flow and maintaining that essential looseness.

Craig: Yeah! We’d just put out an album, so we didn’t feel pressured to rush it. But also, we didn’t want to just wait for that – for everything to happen again, y’know? There was no finish line at this time last year, for when things were going to happen again. 

So we were like, “Well, [Mindless Joy] has come out, that’s happened, that’s great – but we’re still feeling this itch we’ve gotta scratch, so let’s keep going.” And then we just kept pushing, and it ended up blowing out, y’know? It’s funny – you think about some of the classic albums that were recorded over a year or something like that, but this was not like that!

Tim, did you find that having your own studio to work in gave you more freedom to experiment, or explore your ideas in more depth?

Tim: Totally, yeah. Because most other times, we’d work with this guy named Sam Johnson, who’s an absolute legend. But y’know, when you’ve got someone else’s workflow, things happen a certain way, and you have to sort of do everything their way to keep the family happy together. Whereas this was just like, “Alright, cool, I can work on whatever song I want, whatever part I want, whenever I want.” 

But that also didn’t help in a way, because we were still in lockdown, and I’d have to be tracking this stuff by myself, there’s no one else there to jam out with, and I’m just like, “Is… Is that good enough?” I don’t know, y’know what I mean? Like, you can spend as long as you want on something, but it’s still gotta be sincere and not over-produced.

Was there anything you learned from making Mindless Joy with Sam that you were able to adapt to your production techniques on All The Rage?

Tim: Yeah. Mindless Joy was all heavily doubled and tripled, vocal-wise, and we learned a lot more about, like, having a signature character to make the songs flow a lot better. Other than the choruses and things like that, there’s just the one voice running through the whole thing. So we tried to put a lot of attitude and character into that, and really push for that. 

I think it was while we were working on “Upside Down”, we were watching all these Max Martin interviews about tracking vocals, and we spent probably six hours on a 30-second intro, and it was so shit. We got the intro out, and I was like, “Yeah, let’s not track the vocals like that, man, that’s gonna suck!” 

Craig: Like you say, we did learn from our time with Sam. It’s funny how we talk about keeping the family happy, because that worked both ways; Sam definitely compromised his own style for what we wanted to do, and we really did want those double-tracked, triple-tracked vocals on the last album. And that’s not always the way Sam works, as you will have heard with The Smith Street Band or Camp Cope or stuff like that, where he really lets the vocal hang out. 

We were coming at it from a totally different perspective, and I do think that when it was just us and there were no training wheels from Sam in the producer’s chair with us, we were able to really embrace what we learned from him. And I’m glad we did, y’know? We took it to the places where we felt comfortable, and it was really cool.

What was the most fun you had making this record?

Tim: One of the moments I remember, which we’ve got on video, was when we recorded the song “Skyward”. We did one practise take, and then that whole song was sung in one go. I think that was one of the moments where we were just like, “Holy shit! This is awesome!” We were all high-fiving… And other than that, probably when we were making “Wrong”. 

That song came pretty late to the party. I was listening to a lot of Max Martin and Taylor Swift, and I was just like, “Alright, I’m gonna write this poppy-as-fuck melody!” I kept throwing these wild ideas to Craig – I’m like, “Yeah, I want radio vocals, backups doing this, and then this pop-punk thing!” And he was like, “Really? Do you actually want this? …SICK!” 

It was like we were finally coming into one and moulding this big ol’ pop-punk baby, y’know what I mean? I think those were my two favourite moments for sure.

Craig: I love the drum track for that opening song, “Head First”. During the recording process, Chris Cowburn left the band, and then our guitarist, Jake [‘Cutter’ Farrugia], became our drummer – and that was the first song he drummed. So there’s four tracks that are Cutter, and the rest are Cowburn. And I mean, we love Chris too, that was very much an amicable… Like, he’s a dad now, he’s a label manager, and when the pandemic hit, he was just like, “I need to step back from performing, I think I’ve had my time.” 

But we were lucky, we we had another, superior drummer just waiting to step in. The first drum fills he tracked were for this song “Head First”, and I think he just ripped it up. I felt really proud and excited for him, to see him switch roles and not miss a beat – no pun intended – and just dominate it. 

Tim: I remember Craig in the studio, when Cutter was doing that outro – like, Pumpkins-as-fuck snare rolls at the end of “Head First” – and he was like, “Our drummer can do that! That’s our guy! He plays hyper-speed!”

Craig: I always just love any time there’s a guitar solo in a song, too. I love being in the room when Tim and his Brother Will – a.k.a. Dragon – are playing guitar together. The solo in the song “Meant To Be” was like Tim’s “Slash out the front of the chapel, ‘November Rain’ guitar solo” kind of moment. And I just love that shit, y’know? Anything with a guitar solo in it.

I don’t know if I can think of any other questions, is there anything else you think people should know about this record, or anything else you wanna say about it?

Craig: I hope there’s something on this album that people feel like they can relate to. Even a song like “Skyward” – I mean, it’s about aliens, but it’s also about feeling like when shit’s hitting the fan, you can step out and just focus on yourself.

I think that’s the overarching theme of the album: you don’t have to step away and hide from the world, you can look within and find something that makes you feel more comfortable. And that really sums up the personal growth we all went through in trying to record this album, learning not to overthink things, and Tim’s personal journey with his mental health over the pandemic. 

I hope people feel at home in these songs, and that it’s reaffirming on some level… And, also, I like the guitar solos [laughs].

All The Rage is set for release on September 10th, 2021 via Domestic La La. Click here to pre-order.

NME news roundup: July 28th – August 6th, 2021

It’s Saturdaaaaaaaay!

I mean, not that it really matters at the moment – Sydney has been in lockdown for over a month now, and at this rate, we’re not gonna be out of it for at least another two. It’s times like these I feel incredibly privileged to live with my parents on their five-acre property. If it weren’t for all my recent health dramas, and Melbourne’s fourth lockdown, Milo and I would most likely be living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment right now, so… Thank god my body decided to fuck itself up when it did, right?

Anyway, it’s been a crazy little while! We sent the next issue of Australian Guitar to print this week, after the most brutally hectic three-week crunch. I picked up a third part-time job this week! I have to keep the details secret for a hot minute, but I am very excited about it, and I can’t wait to dive headfirst into it next week. I have been enjoying my time away from the grind, though, especially now that AG #144 is in the bag. Today Milo and I watched The Suicide Squad, which I thought was fucking brilliant. I hope James Gunn gets to make more bold, balls-to-the-wall kinds of movies like this. 

We also watched the Olympic women’s park skating finals (I had to miss the live stream because I was working, womp womp), and I’m a little bit conflicted: Misugu Okamoto is my favourite skater in the whole league, so I’m upset she didn’t place in the top three, but Sky Brown did absolutely annihilate in her last run, and she 100% earned her medal. Literally all of those girls crushed it, though. What a pack of fucking CHAMPIONS.

It’s been a huge couple weeks in music, as you’ll see below. It’s a little soul-crushing to have all these reports of economic chaos pop up, and all these cancellations, postponements, etc. But I think it’s imperative we focus on the positives wherever possible – like Jack River’s campaign to get more Australian music played out there in the wild! My highlights from this week’s news roundup are:

1. The title track from Billie Eilish’s new album, Happier Than Ever, which I had fairly low expectations for, but ended up being totally blown away by.

2. The trailer for House Of Gucci, which looks fucking bonkers in all the best ways.

3. The return of Underoath! Can’t wait to get my ears around this new LP.

WEDNESDAY, 28/07/21

Martin Shkreli’s $2million Wu-Tang Clan album has been sold by the US government

Watch Liars pay tribute to ‘2001’ and ‘Alien’ in the video for their new single, ‘From What The Never Was’

BIGSOUND award JK-47, Sycco, Ashwarya and more with 2021 Levi’s Music Prize

Bliss N Eso link up with Dizzee Rascal for vibe-heavy new single ‘On One’

THURSDAY, 29/07/21

Lizzo responds to bizarre rumour she killed somebody while stage-diving

‘The X Factor’ is ending after 17 years

Australia has lost $64million in live entertainment revenue since July 1, ongoing survey shows

Jack River calls on Channel 7 to play music by local artists during Australian coverage of 2020 Olympics

Watch Isabella Manfredi debut a new track at her first ever solo gig

FRIDAY, 30/07/21

Watch Angels & Airwaves dance up a storm on the Vegas strip in ‘Losing My Mind’

Watch Lady Gaga and Jared Leto in the first trailer for ‘House Of Gucci’

Teenage Dads share summery new single ‘Cheerleader’

Hollow Coves tap into their lockdown woes on emotive new single ‘Hello’

SATURDAY, 31/07/21

Billie Eilish fights a literal flood of emotion in striking new video for ‘Happier Than Ever’

Kurt Cobain’s childhood home is now a heritage-listed landmark, will be turned into an exhibit

Bluesfest leads the fourth round of RISE funding with $2.4million boost

Listen to a string-filled remix of Stand Atlantic’s latest single ‘Deathwish’

Listen to DZ Deathrays thrash out a powerful cover of Blur’s ‘Song 2’

SUNDAY, 01/08/21

Bright Eyes postpone four dates of their first tour in ten years

Little Mix become first girl group to land 100 weeks in the Official Singles Chart’s Top 10

The New York street renamed in honour of MF DOOM has been unveiled

Gerard Butler sues ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ producers for £7million

Ruel teases poignant new song co-written with Cub Sport

TUESDAY 03/08/21

Happy Mondays’ Bez feared for his life during battle with COVID-19

Busta Rhymes, Ice-T pay tribute to Biz Markie with memorial service: “He is what we call hip-hop”

New report finds Bluesfest’s 2021 postponement cost NSW over $181million

The Terrys announce 18-date ‘TerrySonic’ tour in support of debut mixtape

Listen to Children Collide shred out in new single ‘Man Of The People’

THURSDAY 05/08/21

Underoath share new single ‘Hallelujah’, announce self-produced ninth album

Justin Bieber apologises for giving Morgan Wallen album a shoutout: “I had no idea”

Hiatus Kaiyote tap into the weird and wonderful for their Tiny Desk (Home) concert

Birdz shares spirited new single ‘They Don’t Know’, announces rescheduled tour dates

Andy Golledge shares two luminous new singles, ‘New Stamp’ and ‘Baby Mumma’

Illy reveals he suffered years of “malicious abuse” at the hands of a cyber-stalker

Boy & Bear tease fifth album in the making: “It’s all feeling really good”

FRIDAY 06/08/21

Joey Jordison’s post-Slipknot band Sinsaenum issues statement on his death

Kanye West and Jay-Z said to be reuniting for ‘Watch The Throne 2’ this year

Usher says he and T-Pain have spoken since Auto-Tune comments: “We’re good”

Watch a trailer for Gurrumul’s posthumous compilation ‘The Gurrumul Story’

Watch TOWNS embrace their romantic side in new video for ‘98’

CD Review: Willow – Lately I Feel Everything

PHOTO CREDIT: DANA TRIPPE

Artist: Willow
Album: Lately I Feel Everything
Label: MSFTS / Roc Nation / Polydor
Release: July 16th, 2021

Rating: 8.5/10


For the most of us, early adulthood is marked by its trickiness and turbulence. Willow encapsulates that perfectly on LP4, taking listeners on a sharp and stormy (and notably swift, at 26 minutes) rollercoaster ride through the euphoric ups and perilous downs of one’s coming of age, projected through a scuffed and stained lens of soulful indie-rock, scuzzy grunge and explosive pop-punk.

Willow’s equally strained and silvery vocal carries the record, but its the vicious electric guitars – snarling, loose and slathered in distortion – that glue everything together. Highlights bookend the LP in the catchy and kinetic “Transparent Soul” and the one-two punch of riotous, sass-drenched energy in “Grow” and “Breakout”, the journey between bold, biting, and all-around bewitching.

Please note: this review is also printed in #144 of Australian Guitar Magazine, syndicated here because AG’s album reviews are no longer published online.

Lately I Feel Everything is out now via MSFTS / Roc Nation / Polydor. Click here to buy or stream.

CD Review: Bleachers – Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night

PHOTO CREDIT: CARLOTTA KOHL

Band: Bleachers
Album: Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night
Label: RCA / Sony
Release: July 30th, 2021

Rating: 8/10


Though perhaps not as grandiose or eccentric as its predecessors, LP3 is certainly more ambitious, sprawling and considered. The instrumentation is downright luscious, with dazzling horns and delicate strings dancing over meticulous outlines of glassy keys and acoustic twiddling. 

The Springsteen cameo on “Chinatown” marks an early highlight – and it’s well-earned, as his influence can be felt at many points throughout of the all-around cinematic, emotive and nostalgic affair. 

Although of course it’s the big and bold pop belters that shine the brightest (see: “How Dare You Want More”, “Stop Making This Hurt”), heartrending slow-burners like the silky “Secret Life” and smoky “Strange Behaviour” add to the record a wealth of depth and character. 

Please note: this review is also printed in #144 of Australian Guitar Magazine, syndicated here because AG’s album reviews are no longer published online.

Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night is out now via RCA / Sony. Click here to buy a copy.