Monthly Archives: April 2011

Carus Thompson

Year: 2011

Label: MGM

Track Listing:
1. Red Sky

2. You Can’t Find Me

3. Fifteen

4. Imperfect Circle

5. You Made Me

6. Caravan

7. Inland Sea

8. Bright Star

9. Beauty Is Your Way

10. I Believe In Love

11. Headstrong

12. Whistleblower

13. Luke’s Song

Subculture Media ‘Caravan – Carus Thompson’ Review:

While Carus Thompson has been winning over fans as he supports famous acts such as Dave Damien Rice, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews he has pretty much remained unheard of in his home country of Australia… a shame when you consider just how talented a musician he really is. The good news though, is you get that feeling though that his new album Caravan might be about to change all that.

This is one remarkable brilliant country album that showcases Carus Thompson’s own unique style. “Red Sky” shows just how beautiful a love song can be without being too soppy while the catchy “You Can’t Find Me” will soon win over any listener.

Fans of Australian legend Paul Kelly will easily be won over by “Fifteen” and “You Made Me” which are only separated by the best track on the album, “Imperfect Circle” which shows that Thompson is one of the finest country guitarists going around. The chords on “Imperfect Circle” will make most guitarists extremely jealous.

Carus Thompson showcases his amazing voice on “Caravan” and then does what so many artists have tried to do over the years and capture Australia’s beauty in song with “Inland Sea”… good on him for also taking a swipe at city-slickers in the track as well. Thompson then pays tribute to Australian sporting hero, Peter Norman. While many wouldn’t know of Norman, he was the Australian track star who after winning silver at the 1968 Olympics took part in the famous Black Power Salute. Thompson’s tribute to him hear is truly heartfelt and deserving.

Once again Thompson produces a beautiful love song with “Beauty is Your Way” and then he captures an amazing bluegrass sound on “I Believe In You”. A trip to the beach this summer is wasted if you don’t have “Headstrong” playing on your stereo (it’s obvious on this track that Thompson has been spending some time with Jack Johnson) while “Whistleblower” sees him slow Caravan down completely. Residents of Ocean’s Grove will also love the heartfelt “Luke’s Song”.

Caravan really is an amazing album that sits somewhere between country and folk, but is good enough that it has the potential to win over fans of both genres. His great song-writing ability and brilliant delivery really does make you glad that you discovered his album. Carus Thompson announces himself to Australia and the world with Caravan, an album that is uniquely beautiful.

Other Subculture Media ‘Caravan – Carus Thompson’ Reviews: This review of ‘Caravan – Carus Thompson’ by David Griffiths first appeared in Buzz Magazine.

Carus Thompson is one of those Aussie artists who has been making a name for himself overseas while people back home have been unaware of what he is achieving. And with just one listen to his new album Caravan it is easy to see why Thompson has one over fans as he supports the likes of Dave Matthews, Damien Rice and Jack Johnson.

Caravan is a truly beautiful album and Thompson’s great style should attract more fans to his unique country style. “Red Sky” is a great country love song that shows that love songs don’t have to be all soppy while “You Can’t Find Me” has some great lyrics and is extremely catchy.

Both “Fifteen” and “You Made Me” are very Paul Kelly-esque, the former being one of the best tracks on the album. It is only pipped for the ‘Best Song On Album’ gong by “Imperfect Circle” that shows that Thompson is also one hell of a guitarist… it’s chords sound amazing.

The title track off Caravan sees the album slow down and Thompson’s great voice is on show for all to hear while “Inland Sea” truly captures Australia’s beauty and rubs it to those who won’t the cities. Thompson returns to his Paul Kelly style of songwriting with “Bright Star” which is a tribute to an Australian Olympian, Peter Norman who took part in the famous Black Power Salute protest at the 1968 Mexico Olympics which saw him shunned by the Australian Olympic Committee until his death.

“Beauty Is Your Way” is another beautiful love song while “I Believe In Love” is bluegrass at its best. “Headstrong” announces itself like a light breeze and is the perfect summer beach song while Caravan again slows down for “Whistleblower”. The album then closes with “Luke’s Song”, another great track that sends a shout out to Ocean Grove.

It’s not hard to see why Carus Thompson has been winning over fans overseas. With just one listen to Caravan and you’ll be adding yourself to that list of fans.
Rating: 4/5

Sleepwalks

Year: 2011

Label: Independent

Subculture Media Reviews:

(originally published on Suite 101)

Brisbane, Queensland. You couldn’t get farther from Seattle or Colorado, yet it is in Brisbane where Grunge music is being reborn, for it is here that Sleepwalks call home. Over the years, many young bands have claimed that “they are the new Nirvana”, but Sleepwalks don’t even have to make that claim, because after just one listen to their debut album The Milk Has Gone Sour, their audience will be doing all the talking for them.

It’s not surprising that this trio has been able to capture the Grunge sound so well — not when you realise that The Milk Has Gone Sour is produced by Steve Albini, a producer who has worked with the likes of Nirvana, Stooges, The Pixies, PJ Harvey and Dirty Three in the past. With his experience and Sleepwalks’ talent mixed together, The Milk Has Gone Sour is an album that allows you to lay back, close your eyes and then find yourself being transported back to the glory days of grunge. The good news is that Sleepwalks haven’t just rehashed an old sound; no, they have actually pushed it forward into modern day and completely reinvented… and as a result, The Milk Has Gone Sour is a must-have. It is 11 tracks of pure Grunge bliss.

This is a bliss created by lead vocalist Kevin Fincham’s vocals. After just a few lines of opening track “Clicks”, you realise that he captures the 90s Grunge sound to a “T” with his vocals, and by the time “Pith” swings on by, you are completely in love with the sound of his voice. He has one of the finest styles of any vocalist going around at the moment.

“Grimless” sees Sleepwalks pick up the pace, and its raw sound will be welcomed back with open arms, as computer technology has meant it is now a rarity. But if its the Nirvana sound that you are craving then you can’t go past “Bottle It”. This is a great Grunge track that proves that Sleepwalks have a solid future ahead of them.

The faster pace of “Negatives” and “Rufus” gives drummer Damian Masters a chance to showcase his wares, while Fincham ones again steals the show on “Rufus”. Even punk fans may find themselves impressed by “No No Yes Yes”, a track that opens with a sweet instrumental beginning and then gives one to some strong brute force.

Fincham once again proves why he is one of the best vocalists going around when he wails “just as long as you feel alright” (on “Fingers”) and “not my problem” (on “Bile Duct”). It is this kind of styling that made Nirvana’s Bleach such a masterpiece, and Grunge lovers will be ecstatic to hear this style reborn in the hands (or should that be vocal chords) of Kevin Fincham. Sleepwalks are such a good band that even when they produce a slower track like “Grenadier”, it sounds awesome and not like they have lost their way.

Hearing how great The Milk Has Gone Sour really is is a terrifying prospect when you realise that this is Sleepwalks’ debut album. It really makes you realise that you have discovered something great, and only time will tell if these guys are the next Masters of Grunge.

Subculture Media Review #2: This review first appeared in Buzz Magazine.

Hailing from Brisbane, Queensland Sleepwalks are a trio that really know how to surround themselves with the right people. The Milk Has Gone Sour may be their debut album but it was produced by the legendary Steve Albini, who can list artists such as Nirvana, Stooges, The Pixies and PJ Harvey on his CV. And he certainly brings the best out of these guys. There are many bands who claim that they will be loved by Nirvana fans, but Sleepwalks can (and have) produced the goods. Close your eyes while listening to The Milk Has Gone Sour and you are quickly transported back to the glory days of grunge.

The good news is that Sleepwalks haven’t just rehashed an old sound, no they have actually pushed it forward into modern day and completely re-invented… and as a result The Milk Has Gone Sour is a must have. It is eleven tracks of pure grunge bliss.

As soon as the opening track, “Clicks” starts pumping out of your stereo Kevin Fincham’s vocals transport you back to the 90s and by the time “Pith” swings on by you are completely in love with the sound of his voice… he has one of the finest styles of any vocalist going around at the moment.

“Grimless” is faster-paced and has a great raw sound to it… something that computer technology has wiped out for many bands. But it us on “Bottle It’ where Sleepwalks really capture that old Nirvana sound. This is a simply a brilliant grunge track that showcases a band that must have a great future ahead of them.

The short and sweet “Negatives” shows that Sleepwalks gets better the faster they play while drummer, Damian Masters’ skills are there for all to see on “Rufus”. ‘Sheep” once again displays some brilliant vocal work by Fincham while a soft instrumental opening on “No No Yes Yes” gives way to some pure brutal force… that may even win over some punk fans.

Fincham sounds even more like Kurt Cobain as he wails ‘just as long as you feel alright’ (on “Fingers”) and “not my problem” (on “Bile Duct”). It is this kind of styling that made Nirvana’s Bleach such a masterpiece, and grunge lovers will be ecstatic to hear this style re-born in the hands (or should that be vocal chords) of Kevin Fincham. And just to show that they really can’t put a foot wrong Sleepwalks close with the slower “Grenadier”… which may be slower but is no less fine.

Hearing how great The Milk Has Gone Sour really is, is a terrifying prospect when you realise that this is Sleepwalks’ debut album. It really makes you realise that you have discovered something great and only time will tell if these guys are the next Masters of Grunge.

Rating: 5/5

Foo Fighters

Year: 2011

Label: RCA

Track Listing:

  1. Bridge Burning
  2. Rope
  3. Dear Rosemary
  4. White Limo
  5. Arlandria
  6. These Days
  7. Back & Forth
  8. A Matter Of Time
  9. Miss The Misery
  10. I Should Have Known
  11. Walk

Subculture Media Foo Fighters: Wasting Light Review:

(original appeared on Suite 101)

Nirvana and Foo Fighters’ fans will be rejoicing in unison as Dave Grohl certainly embraces his Nirvana roots with Wasting Light ,the Foo Fighters seventh studio album. Not only does Grohl invite Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselc on board for one song but Butch Vig is once again sitting in the producer’s chair. Grohl also welcomes Pat Smear back into the Foo Fighters fold.

Butch Vig sets out to separate the Foo Fighters from the pack by not allowing modern technology to “cramp” the Fooies style. Gone is the multi-million dollar recording studio (replaced with Dave Grohl’s garage), and gone are all the computers (instead Vig captures them using analog equipment). The resulting rawness is one of the things that makes this album so special.

Wasting Light has a haunting beginning with the opening line of “Bridge Burning” consisting of Grohl declaring ‘these are my famous last words’, eerie considering the album was released only days after the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. “Bridge Burning also sees the Foo Fighters get off to a brutal beginning, this is much heavier than what we have heard from The Fooies recently, however the melodic chorus also promises that Wasting Light is going to be something special.

It is easy to see that first single, “Rope” will instantly become a fan favourite, considering it is a million times better than their dismal last single “Wheels” that left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. The greatness then continues with “Dear Rosemary” a sweet rock song that proves that the Foo Fighters still know how to write with emotion.

Wasting Light’s heaviness returns with “White Limo”, a track that sees Grohl give screamo-singers a run for their money. This should also silence those who have been saying that the Foo Fighters’ heavy days are well and truly behind them now. “White Limo” is followed by “Arlandia”, “These Days” and “Back & Forth”, three catchy rock tracks that will further endear Wasting Light to fans… it is also obvious that “These Days” should become a successful radio single if it is released.

The Fooies mix up “A Matter Of Time” with a splatter of both their heavy and soft sounds while Pat Smear’s return to the band is never more obvious than on “Miss The Misery” where he produces a classic rock guitar sound that many of the bands circa the 1970s and 1980s would be extremely proud of.

However the highlight of this album is “I Should Have Known” (the track which Krist Novoselic appears on). With Grohl, Novoselic and Vig in a studio together magic was bound to happen, and it certainly does here. If people are in doubt whether modern rock is still producing classic songs, then this is the track that they should be pointed towards.

Fans alarmed by Grohl’s opening statement can put their hearts and minds at ease when he sings “I never want to die. I’m here forever” on “Walk”. If the Fooies are going to continue releasing albums as good as Wasting Light then you can only hope that this statement is true, as you get the feeling that the best is still to come from these guys.

David Griffiths’ 2nd Foo Fighters – Wasting Light Review

If the fact the Dave Grohl led Foo Fighters released their new album only days after the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death didn’t already have starved fans already thinking back to Nirvana then certain facts about Wasting Light certainly will. See Grohl returns to his Nirvana roots big time this time. He once again teams up with producer, Butch Vig and even invites Nirvana’s bassist, Krist Novoselic back for a track. And for those who jumped on the Foo Fighters after the Nirvana days well you can rest easy knowing that Pat Smear is back in the fold.

Like he did with Nirvana’s Nevermind Butch Vig works some amazing magic on Wasting Light. He throws the computer out the window, records in Dave Grohl’s garage and captures the Foo Fighters the analog way, and it certainly does make a huge difference. This is the Foo Fighters as you have never heard them before.

Wasting Light kicks off with the brutal “Bridge Burning” which opens with Grohl eerily declaring ‘these are my famous last words’. Haunting, seeing the closeness of the anniversary of the death of Cobain. This is soon forgotten though as “Bridge Burning” has it brutal first verse switched to a melodic chorus that promises that this album will be something special.

First single, “Rope” will easily win over fans and is clearly one of the better Foo Fighters to surface in a long time, especially considering it follows the dismal, “Wheels” off their Greatest Hits album. The greatness then continues with “Dear Rosemary” a sweet rock song that proves that the Foo Fighters still know how to write with emotion.

“White Limo” sees Wasting Light’s heaviness return and shows that if its screamo that fans want then Dave Grohl can pull that off as well… this is an amazing effort by Grohl and clearly shows that the Foo Fighters can still match the competition when it comes to heaviness. This is quickly followed by “Arlandia”, “These Days” and “Back & Forth”, three extremely catchy rock tracks with “These Days” certain to become a radio single sometime soon.

“A Matter Of Time” sees the Foo Fighters mix the heavy and soft sounds remarkably well, while some expert guitar playing from by Pat Smear on “Miss The Misery” produces a classic rock sound that a lot of younger bands could learn a hell of a lot from.

However the highlight of this album is “I Should Have Known” which to be blunt is one of the finest rock songs ever recorded. This beautiful song is the track that Krist Novoselic makes an appearance on and its easy to see that he and Grohl (teamed with Vig) still have the chemistry to produce some special magic.

Wasting Light then closes with “Walk”, a track where Grohl sings “I never want to die. I’m here forever”. And when he is still creating albums as great as this we can only hope there is some truth in these lyrics.

Rating (out of 5): Stars(5)