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Album review: Matt Corby // Telluric

Archive, Editors Choice, News, Pop

March 25, 2016

After a couple of years of silence, the Aussie returns with his long-awaited debut album Telluric. And it was a wait worthwhile. Many were hoping that the five EPs he has under his belt, could predict any sort of direction he would take on his debut LP, but if you were hoping for something similar, you’re definitely going to be disappointed.

The meaning of the word Telluric is “an electric current which moves underground or through the sea”. The tempo and feel of the album circles and twirls steadily away, making restrained stops for you to catch your breath before continuing onwards. Current or no current, Matt’s is steering his debut ship in the direction he wants to discover.

“Stood in the corner when we would fight / to act upon a line and hang my shit up out to dry.” He smoothly sings on the soothing and indulgent opening track ‘Belly Side Up’. The slow pace of the record starts here and it doesn’t change much throughout the album.  (I refrain from using the word current again but it’s so cunning and cleverly used by Matt himself.)

There are continuing moments of what appears as ambivalent, but what seem to come effortlessly to Matt might be actually meticulously thought out. We just don’t know, and that’s what makes it exciting. For Mac DeMarco fans and in particular listeners of Salad Days, Telluric would be something to dig into.

Paces are kept at a low and mellow speed, from the choirs and clapping on the simplistic ‘Monday’ to the wholesome psychedelic jazz atmosphere on ‘Sooth Lady Wine’. There is a diary-like form to the songs, representing chapters or emotional difficulties you come across in life. The most lifted and upbeat song of the bunch, is the soulful ‘Why Dream’ where Matt discloses “Just to be like you, but you talk too much to listen / and I want you more, and we are meant to be broken / and I forgive warmly, when you’ve got a change of heart.”

Matt Corby’s voice is something you cannot avoid addressing. From his long-forgotten Australia Idol moments, this man has grown vocally as well as in years. The control he possesses, the way a word can bear one meaning in a song and change in the next is outstanding. He’s far from face amongst the crowd when you hear his voice.

The end of Telluric is where we find the hypnotic ‘Empire Attractions’. He asks, “Something’s got to shape us / Boredom’s going to shape us / something’s got to shake us out of this and save us /how can they save you if they can’t help themselves?” Matt’s got vision and we need not worry about where his vision lies in terms of his music. It’s like he has taken the book of soul music, dusted it off, and left his own notes in the margin.

Article by Flipse Flebo

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Album Review: Ghostface Killah + Adrian Younge // 12 Reasons To Die II

Editors Choice, R&B/Hip-Hop

July 17, 2015

In 2013, MC Ghostface Killah and producer Adrian Younge brought us a brutal, criminally inspired Hip-Hop album that fused elements of gritty East Coast Rap and 70’s groove-driven Soul. Now, in 2015, the duo return with the sequel, ’12 Reasons To Die II’, a project as equally bold and ambitious as the first.

Essentially, the album is intended to act like a movie for your ears; each song, another chapter in the tale of the infamous Tony Starks (Ghostface Killah). Harsh, bombastic vocals and analog instrumentals make for an authentic vintage sound, placing the setting of this soundtrack somewhere in the midst of 1940’s gangster film. The record is even broken up with brief interludes of narration which also push the story forward, introducing the listener to new scenes and characters. Most notable of these cameos are fellow Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and RZA. It showcases, once again, the originality of Ghostface not only as a rapper but as a story teller.

The rhyme style and lyrics of Ghostface and his co-star Raekwon are as potent and hard-hitting as ever. They come as ear-pounding bursts of words that pierce through Younge’s seemingly air tight production. The record also features a few other lesser known rap names in supporting roles. Scarub offers a more off kilter edge to the sound with an approach more similar to the obscure stylings of Kool Keith with a rapid-fire staccato, bouncing from one point to the next.

Where as the vocal performances bring the audacity, it’s Younge’s musicality that legitimizes the work. He implements a lot of aspects of his signature sound but has also used the opportunity to grow as an artist. Backing tracks of haunting oo’s and aa’s sound as though they’re sung by a choir of ghosts. And while there are subtle hints of electronic flairs, Younge differs from most contemporary producers in his abandon for the use of sampling, and his devotion to original musical composition. He is a traditionalist with his influences heavily routed in psychedelic soul and spaghetti westerns; a combination that apparently goes with Hip-Hop like chicken and waffles.

The album, like its predecessor, is coupled with its instrumental counterpart. A great idea for any hip hop album, in my opinion, but especially good when the instrumentation is so well composed.

Overall, a great output from both Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge. One that will be enjoyed by fans of both East-Coast Rap and Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Does the album expand on the last and bring any new and adventurous ideas to the equation? Not in a huge way, but it doesn’t have to. The formula as it stands is a good one. A well produced, atmospheric, crime film made for the speakers instead of the screen. Gritty, grimy, smooth and polished. Such is the life of a gangster after all.

Article by Edward Acheson

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Sophie Coran Gives Us The Best With “Better” EP

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter

July 10, 2015

Smooth, beautiful and soulful are only a small selection of the words I could come up with to describe “Better” – the first EP released by London based singer Sophie Coran.

The four track EP released in June of this year is nothing short of art and the woman behind it is nothing short of an artist herself. I was astounded by the stories she was able to portray through her lyrics and was enchanted by the fluidity of the tracks as well. Sophie’s talent of course has not gone unnoticed; in 2014 she received the Shure Songwriting award and clearly her talent has not let up since then. Her talent does not stop there of course, Coran is also a classical pianist who gradated from the Manhattan School of Music in 2012 and also spent a year studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Better is something that this EP does not need to be. Each song made me feel something different and each were relatable to me as a listener. The overall sound of the EP was very mellow and relaxing, jazzy at some points, cute and romantic in others and in the song “Out of Focus” even a little bit sexy. “Tell Me”, tells a pretty familiar story for everyone, the worry and confusion of whether or not someone feels the same for you, and it does it in the sweetest melody possible. “One Way Ticket” starts to show the Coran’s jazzy side and is a great song about trying to find yourself. “Better” is also on the jazzy side and it my goodness is it great! It also sends an amazing message to love yourself because everything will eventually work out.

If you’re looking for something on the alternative side with a little something “Better” than you’re used to, look no further that Sophie Coran. You can listen to her EP now on SoundCloud and Spotify, you can also purchase the EP on Bandcamp and iTunes! Go out and support this soulful lady because she sure deserves it!

Article by Emily D’Orazio

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Album Review: Leon Bridges // Coming Home

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter

June 24, 2015

Soul music as a genre has witnessed a well deserved resurgence as of late. Deep, meaningful songs rooted in blues and gospel; warm and intimate whilst uplifting and full of groove. Acts such as the Menahan Street Band, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and Charles Bradley have emerged to find themselves playing to a surprisingly receptive audience. An audience with a taste and appreciation for the old. One other such artist making his way to this audience is Leon Bridges.

A newcomer to the music scene, Bridges was busy playing his songs in dive bars until he was noticed by ‘White Denim’ guitarist Austin Jenkins and was soon after asked to record. His music is one thing and one thing alone; pure, unadulterated Soul music. Unlike contemporaries belonging to the Neo-Soul movement, Bridges doesn’t look to add any of the bells and whistles of our modern era of music and instead opts for a more stripped-back approach. As the saying goes; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The album was recorded with vintage equipment, giving the overall sound of the record that old world charm. Listen to it and you’re instantly transported into an early 1960’s living room, nestled around the record player with your sweetheart. It has every component of the classic Soul album. From the sweet-as-candy backing vocals, to the oh so smooth guitar licks, accompanied by those wispy, echoing drum beats.

Having said this, Mr Bridges is no impostor. He isn’t simply regurgitating the old hits of yesteryear. This is real music, borne of real emotions, and its authenticity is hard to deny.

Overall, the album is relatively well balanced. It begins strong with the title track; a true representation of his sound that instantly gives the listener an idea of what they are going to be hearing for the next 30 minutes. From then on the album progresses seamlessly from laid-back slow-burners ‘Shine’ and ‘River’ onto more jumping numbers ‘Smooth Sailing’ and ‘Flowers’.

The album doesn’t necessarily have any weak points, it flows from one end to the other with little disappointment. However, it does lack a certain level of excitement that might prevent it from becoming one of the greats. Its like a pizza with everything but the anchovies; good, not great.

Leon Bridges is a revivalist in the most complimentary sense of the word and this album just makes you smile. He has a very promising career right in front of him and he will no doubt produce many fine records. Now that he has established himself at such an early age, he has the freedom to explore new paths and expand his sound into something truly great.

Article by Edward Acheson

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