EP REVIEW: STONEFIELD – BAD REALITY

The cover of Stonefield’s sophomore EP, Bad Reality makes it seem like it was made by a bunch of longhairs with flowers in their locks. But while the lengths of their hair are correct in this analogy, in reality they’re a group of four rock chicks and sisters to boot. And they’re all under the…

EP REVIEW: NEON HEART – OUT OF MY HANDS

A little more than ten years ago Magic Dirt asked us, “What are rockstars doing today?” And if you were to ask Sydney quintet, Neon Heart and their contemporaries, The Lazys the answer would be writing and recording high octane EPs. Both are self-proclaimed rock ‘n’ roll bands that make no excuses for their energetic,…

ALBUM REVIEW: DANIEL PEARSON – SATELLITES

The Who had Live at Leeds while Gang Of Four are originally from there. And in 2011 English troubadour, Daniel Pearson – a sweet man from Yorkshire – decamped to this city to produce the rather sunny (at least for an Englishman) debut LP, Satellites. Originally recorded over five days, Pearson teamed up with Ed…

ALBUM REVIEW: DONAVON FRANKENREITER – START LIVIN’

There’s an expectation with certain artists that their new material will be either “gloomy” or “cheery”. A lot of English bands – particularly those from up North – tend to fit into the former camp. But with musicians like Donovan Frankenreiter and his best mate, fellow surfer-turned-folk musician, Jack Johnson, it’s definitely the latter. It…

ALBUM REVIEW: JACK JOHNSON & FRIENDS – BEST OF KōKUA FESTIVAL

When a compilation is billed as being by Jack Johnson and friends the last thing you expect is for an acoustic guitar to steal all the limelight. But this humble instrument is found on every track in many different forms. It’s often slowed down, sped up, plucked and even used to play slide and this…

ALBUM REVIEW: THE CHIEFTAINS – VOICE OF AGES

Celebrating 50 years of anything is no mean feat. But for Irish folk group, The Chieftains it sounds like business as usual for their Voice Of Ages LP. These musicians are once again joined by an enviable list of collaborators for a knees-up where the main ingredients seem to be balancing your pint of Guinness…

EP REVIEW: TIN SPARROW – FAIR & VERDANT WOODS

Tin Sparrow are in good company. They’re the supports on Boy & Bear’s tour. Their sophomore EP was produced by Liam Judson i.e. the frontman of Belles Will Ring and one of their older songs was produced by Mark Myers (ex The Middle East). Whether this is a curious case of serendipity, divine intervention or…

DVD REVIEW: THE SKIN I LIVE IN

The Skin I Live In is a provocative film. While some people will find elements of it titillating, others will no doubt find it extreme and even grotesque. It is a difficult film, a suspense-filled drama that is initially shrouded in many layers of ambiguity. The dramatic build-up does reach a serious climax, as all…

LIVE REVIEW: PRINCE @ ALLPHONES ARENA (11.05.2012)

Photo credit: Prince at Allphones Arena, Sydney, Australia – 11th May 2012, courtesy of NPG Records. Prince was once a symbol but these days he’s an icon. He’s responsible for so many hits- from other artists to solo works and whatever flamboyant guise he’s decided to wear that particular day. It’s hardly a surprise that…

ALBUM REVIEW: BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE – AUFHEBEN

The only rule the Brian Jonestown Massacre seem to follow is that there are no rules. The American group that started playing some 20 years ago today is like The Fall in that their only constant is their gruelling, vanguard-like front man and visionary. Anton Newcombe has seen two-dozen odd band members enter and exit…

ALBUM REVIEW: MICHAEL KIWANUKA – HOME AGAIN

Home is where the heart is. Add a visceral gut feeling; some heartache clouding your brain; and hands to tug at the guitar and heartstrings and you’ve got Home Again. It’s the debut LP from Michael Kiwanuka, an English artist and folk-soul singer-songwriter. At only 24 years of age, he already boasts the thoughtful wisdom…