Music and Book reviews

Browsing: Contemporary

Contemporary Music Recording
‘Happiness Is …’ Leanne Tennant

Artist/s: Leanne Tennant (guitar and vocals), Travis Jenkins (guitar), Kram (drums / piano), Konstantin Kersting (bass / synth), Phil Roach (bass), Yanto Browning (guitar / piano), Ed Ruben (keys). Recorded and mixed by Konstantin Kersting and Yanto Browning.
Category: Contemporary, Funk, Pop
Label: Artist release
Reviewed by

“Right at the heart of this colourful reinvention is Everspin, recorded in one breathless take. It’s one of those songs that just sounds like audio sunshine.”

Avant Pop Music Recording
A Fog Like Liars’ Loving. Leider ensemble

Artist/s: Leider. Rishin Singh (trombone & music & lyrics), Annie Gårlid (viola & voice), Derek Shirley (cello & percussion) and Stine Sterne (flute & voice)
Category: Avant Pop, Contemporary, New Music
Label: Beacon Sound. LP and digital.
Reviewed by

It is certainly a very beautiful album, and also very addictive. A Fog Like Liars Loving is a first collection of what I hope will be much more music from Rishin Singh and Leider.

Contemporary Music Recording
Adventure Beyond

Artist/s: Starflight
Category: Contemporary, Pop
Label: Self-release, distributed by Mondo
Reviewed by

This is an album of pure pop music joy. From its highly produced opening track – the uncharacteristic single Phasers on Stun, though to the album closer, Starship Take Me Home, the overwhelming emotion is the joy of making music.…

Contemporary Music Recording

Artist/s: Dead Letter Circus. Kim Benzie (vocals), Luke Williams (drums), Clint Vincent (guitar), Luke Palmer (guitar) and Stewart Hill (bass)
Category: Contemporary
Label: UNFD 070-A
Reviewed by

Well, I’m locking my gun in the cabinet with the Wedgwood china and discarding the key just to ensure that my penchant for political, environmental and social activism does not lead to a drift from the lagoon of pacifism to…

Contemporary Music Recording

Artist/s: Northlane. John Deily (lead guitar/programming/ percussion), Josh Smith (rhythm guitar), Nic Petterssen (percussion), Marcus Bridge (lead vocals), Brendon Padjasek (bass/backing vocals)
Category: Contemporary, Metal
Label: UNFD116CD
Reviewed by

“Northlane, unlock the trophy cabinet and just make a little more space there. You’re gonna need it.”

Alternative Rock Music Recording

Artist/s: Hands Like Houses. Trent Woodley (lead vocals), Matt Cooper (lead guitar), Matthew Parkitny (drums), Joel Tyrrell (bass/backing vocals), Alex Pearson (rhythm guitar/backing vocals)
Category: Alternative Rock, Contemporary, Music Recording
Label: UNFD 095 Alternative Rock
Reviewed by

This collection is very much a journey of discovery. Despite their longevity, the Canberra based ensemble has dared to explore a plethora of diverse genres on Anon.

Contemporary Music Recording
Ashfield Skyline

Artist/s: Family Fold. Paul Andrews (guitar/vocals), Brad Jones (producer/bass/guitar/keys), Dan Cohen (guitar/mandolin), Jason Cheek / Nick Buda, (drums), Steven Byrom (keys), Chris Carmichael (strings), Carey Kotsionis (backing vocals), Jim Hoke (sax).
Category: Contemporary, Pop, Rock
Label: Family Fold
Reviewed by

“It might not be the stuff that generates hits and clicks but this is music that puts its hooks in far deeper than that.”

Contemporary Music Recording
Asteroid Ekosystem. Alister Spence Trio with Ed Kuepper

Artist/s: Alister Spence Trio:  Alister Spence (keys/piano), Lloyd Swanton (bass), Toby Hall (drums), with Ed Kuepper (guitar)
Category: Contemporary, Improvisation
Label: Artist release, CD and digital
Hear and buy the music at
Reviewed by

“If the album features many unexpected plot twists for the listener that’s because it did the same for the four players who recorded it over two days of inspired improvisation.”


Artist/s: Karnivool
Category: Acoustic, Metal, Rock
Label: Standard edition Cymatic/Sony KARN06CD Deluxe edition with live DVD Cymatic/Sony KARN05DLX
Reviewed by

Going out on a limb, Karnivool is the best contemporary band in Australia. They are musically intelligent, exploring polyrhythms, independent harmonic layering, novel structures and chromatic melodic sequences. As drummer Steve Judd reminds us, toddlers can count to four. Possibilities…

Acoustic Music Recording
Back Yourself

Artist/s: Ben Salter. Guests include Julien Wilson (tenor sax) Christopher Hale (bass) Sam Dowson (drums) Clind Hyndman (drums) Seja Vogel (synthesiser, vocals) Jeff Lang (guitar) Danny Widdicombe (guitar). Chris Townend was producer.
Category: Acoustic, Contemporary, Music Recording
Label: ABC Music 578 6899
Reviewed by

“For those seeking stronger sustenance, this well is deep.”

Contemporary Music Recording
Between the Lines

Artist/s: Danny Widdicombe and Trichotomy. Danny Widdicombe (guitars/pedal steel/vocals), Sean Foran (acoustic piano/Fender Rhodes), Samuel Vincent (double bass), John Parker (drums/percussion), Kristin Berardi/India Widdicombe (backing vocals), Luke Moller (strings), Dan Mansfield (Hammond organ)
Category: Contemporary, Country, Jazz, Singer-songwriter
Label: Futurfonic Records, FF0001
Reviewed by

“Widdicombe is the antithesis of the generic pop country mainstream.”

Classical Music Recording
Blackwattle Caprices. Music by Malats, Walton, Ross Edwards, JS Bach, Takemitsu, Tom Waits

Artist/s: Jacob Cordover, classical guitar
Category: Classical, Contemporary, New Music
Label: Cala Records CACD77017
Reviewed by

“Jacob Cordover is an exceptional guitarist and part of his measure is his ability to keep the customer waiting in order to keep the customer satisfied.” This is particularly the case in the well-known Serenata Española originally composed by Joaquín…

Alternative Rock

Artist/s: Birds of Tokyo. Ian Kenny (vocals), Adam Spark (guitars/ vocals/ keys), Glenn Sarangapany (keys/ synths, vocals), Adam Weston (drums/percussion), Ian Berney (bass)
Category: Alternative Rock, Contemporary
Label: EMI 5716220
Reviewed by

“Brace is relentlessly bleak lyrically, but to counter this, the music, though much heavier than on earlier albums, can be uplifting: music’s medicinal instincts twinkle in the shadows.”

Contemporary Music Recording
Cannot Buy My Soul 2020 edition: the songs of Kev Carmody

Artist/s: Various performers including Kasey Chambers, Jimmy Barnes, Kate-Miller Heidke, Courtney Barnett, Archie Roach, Missy Higgins, Bernard Fanning, Clare Bowditch, Troy Cassar-Daley and many more.
Category: Contemporary, Country, Folk, Rock, Singer-songwriter
Label: EMI through Universal. Vinyl – 0717073. CD – 0737156
Reviewed by

“The great strength of the writing is the way Kev balances the fire and rage with love and hope” – Paul Kelly.

Improvisation Music Recording
Cat’s Squirrel

Artist/s: Merzbow and Oren Ambarchi
Category: Improvisation, Noise
Label: Hospital Hill (HHCD04130740)
Reviewed by

Cat’s Squirrel presents two of the world’s finest purveyors of noise music, in duo format for the first time. The legendary Merzbow (real name Masami Akita), Japan’s lord of noise, joins Australia’s loudest and heaviest noise guitarist, Oren Ambarchi. This…

Choral Music Music Recording

Artist/s: Gian Slater and Invenio: Gian Slater (composer and director), Miriam Crellin, Georgie Darvidis, Gemma Tully, Bronwyn Hicks, Natalie Carolan, Lisa Salvo, Loni Thompson, Audur Zoega, Louisa Rankin, Jeremy Hopkins, Jem Savage, Tilman Robinson, Ed Fairlie, Sam Young, Ben Harrison, and Ben Taylor.
Category: Choral Music, Jazz, Pop
Label: Invenio Music (inv001)
Reviewed by

“Gian Slater and Invenio’s second album is a lighter, more lyrically-focused collection of eight compositions.”

Classical Music Recording

Artist/s: Lior, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Nigel Westlake composer and conductor
Category: Classical, Contemporary, World
Label: ABC Classics 4810678,
Reviewed by

There have been odd times with Nigel Westlake’s works where I have sensed that he has held his ‘soul-laid-bare’ card close to his chest. With Compassion, however, that card is on the table – in spades. Compassion is a series…

Contemporary Music Recording
Cub Sport

Artist/s: Cub Sport.Tim Nelson (vocals), Zoe Davis (vocals/guitar/keyboard), Sam Netterfield (vocals, keyboards), Dan Puusaari (drums) 
Category: Contemporary, Indie, Pop
Label: Cub Records CUB005
Reviewed by

“Cub Sport had to be an eponymous album. It is, in many ways, a musical gift to a lover, with the positive impact of that love being shouted to the universe.”

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