Category: New Release

Once Poster

Summary: Set in modern day Dublin, Once is the story of a Guy who gave up on his music and his love and the Girl who inspired him to dream again.

Australian Premier Date: 4th October, 2014

Performance Review Date: 4th October, 2014

Director: John Tiffany

Playwright: Enda Walsh

Cast: Anton Berezin (Bank Manager), Andrew Broadbent (Older Male/Male Swing), Ben Brown (Emcee), Gerald Carroll (Eamon), Colin Dean (Billy), Margi de Farranti (Baruska (understudy)), Matthew Hamilton (Guy (understudy)), Lisa Hanley (Swing), Brent Hill (Svec), Shanae Icovski (Ivanka), Madeleine Jones (Girl), Stefanie Jones (Swing), Keegan Joyce (Andre), Amy Lehpamer (Reza), Tara Lyon (Ivanka), Summer Moore (Ivanka), Lachlan Neate (Young Male/Male Swing), Tom Parsons (Guy), Jane Patterson (Ex-Girlfriend), Greg Stone (Da), Susan-ann Walker (Baruska), Paul Watson (Young Male/Male Swing)

OUR ONCE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Over the years there have been a number of theatre musicals that have been turned into big stage spectaculars. Even in recent years films such as Les Miserables and Rock Of Ages have successfully made the transition, although as Spider-Man recently showed the trade back the other way often flops.

It was for that reason that I was a little sceptical when first heading into the theatre to see Once. Once first surfaced in 2006 as an Irish film pieced together by director John Carney (who recently was responsible for the brilliant Begin Again… which I am praying also gets turned into a stage musical). The film has a bit of a cult following but isn’t exactly the kind of film that all members of the general public have heard of so the fact that it has been turned into a theatre production was a brave one to say the least. But if the Australian production is anything to go by it is a decision that I am very pleased to say I’m happy they made.

For those that haven’t seen Once the story revolves around Guy (played by Tom Parsons in the Australian production) and Girl (Madeleine Jones). Guy is a gifted musician who is about to give up on music due to the fact that he is heartbroken by the fact that his girlfriend (Jane Patterson), whom most of his songs have been written for or about, has moved to America. A chance meeting introduces him to Girl who falls in love with his music and begs him to launch into a music career.

At first Guy is reluctant but with further persuasion from Girl soon recruits the local Music Shop Owner, Billy (Colin Dean) and a higgly-piggly group of Dublin musicians together in an attempt to record a low-priced album.

Meanwhile Girl, who is a Czech immigrant (she is serious she is Czech) faces problems of her own as she raises her daughter Ivanka (Tara Lyon/Summer Moore) with no support from her husband. Her mother Baruska (Susan-ann Walker) and friends such as Reza (Amy Lehpamer) help her out in any way they can.

Any doubts that Once is going to work is quickly eroded as soon as you enter the theatre as director John Tiffany puts the productions bar set to good use by throwing open the stage and letting the patrons drink at the bar while the cast mingle amongst them playing traditional Irish folk music to really create the feeling that you are no longer in a Melbourne theatre but instead in a friendly Dublin bar. Tiffany’s excellence is on show throughout the production as he constantly finds creative and new lighting techniques and ways to complete set changes all night long.

My biggest fear for Once was not knowing any of the music. This wasn’t going to be like Rock Of Ages, there are no famous rock tracks known universally around the world that you can sing-a-long to, this is original music that has the audience going in cold, and to the productions credit it works wonders. And while you may not be able to sing-a-long while they are being performed you will find yourself singing them to yourself for days after watching the production, I’ve been humming If You Want Me and Falling Slowly ever since the curtain dropped.

Also deserving a lot of credit for how spectacular Once is the very hard-working cast. This has to be one of the most challenging musicals ever put together for a cast as they really have to be a quadruple threat. Nobody gets to hide here as the cast are called upon to act, sing, play musical instruments, dance and even act as stage-hand throughout the production. To their credit the Australian cast work so well together that they leave you in awe.

Leading the way is the brilliant Tom Parsons who has a folk music to die for and demands a great stage presence despite playing the shy and reserved Guy. Matching him at every turn is the talented Madeline Jones whose vocals on If You Want has to be heard to be believed… it is one of the reasons why you will be stopping by the theatre store on the way out to grab a copy of the CD. Cast wise Colin Dean and Brent Hill also provide amazing comedic relief while Amy Lehpamer announces herself as an actress to watch as she proves more than capable with some great violin playing while playing the very ‘friendly’ Reza.

Once is a stunning put together musical that truly deserves the awards that it has won overseas, something that it is guaranteed to do here in Australia as well. John Tiffany’s creativity makes this a theatre production that the audience is going to remember for a long time to come, while the production’s musical numbers are guaranteed to become classics. They are so well performed it feels like you are at a concert and not a theatre. Once is most likely the first ever folk musical… but it is one production that you should not miss.

 

Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(5)

 

Jxckxlz cover

Year: 2014

Label: Art As Carthasis

Track Listing:

  1. Cicada – Grasshopper (Fat Man Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt)
  2. Carpenter Ant (Fat Man Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt)
  3. Distractions From You (Jxckxlz)
  4. Solace (Jxckxlz)
  5. Trophic Level (Jxckxlz)
  6. Cause And Effect (Jxckxlz)

Subculture Entertainment ‘Fat Man Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt vs Jxckxlz’ – Fat Man Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt/Jxckxlz Review:

As Art As Carthasis continues to grow to becoming one of Australia’s heaviest labels it brings together two of its very unique acts to form a LP that is going to be a sought after classic as it lifts to the alternative music scene in Australia to whole new level.

Kicking off the album are the brutal Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt kicks off the LP with the short and manic ‘Cicada – Grasshopper’ and then follows it up with the drawn out ‘Carpenter Ant’ which sees vocalist K deliver another healthy dose of mania vocally.

Then it is Jxckxlz (pronounce Jackalz) turn to step up to the mic… and boy of boy do they deliver. If you are yet to hear these guys at full flight then you really are missing something. Jxckxlz show what they are all about with their opening track – ‘Distractions From You’ a track which first of all hits the audience with some real brutality before then taking them on an epic journey.

Brutality is also the key to ‘Solace’ which then sees the band switch to a more atmospheric sound within a heartbeat while they deliver a pure wall of sound with ‘Trophic Level.’ It’s then back to their heavy best to close out the album with ‘Cause And Effect.’

‘Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt vs Jxckxlz’ may just be six tracks in length but this is an album that heralds in a much needed new sound into the Australian alternative music scene. This is some of Jxckxlz finest work and they clearly show why they are a band that everybody must now have in their collection.

 

 

Rating (out of 5):

Grindhouse Sleeping At The Peeps

Year: 2014

Label: Desert Highways

Track Listing:

  1. Dapto Dazzler
  2. Wild Sex And Machine Guns
  3. If You Say So
  4. Demolition Dirtbag
  5. Suss Us Out
  6. High On The Side Of The Road
  7. Two Dollar Spoof Bin
  8. Muthaf**ken Punk Rock Power

Subculture Entertainment ‘Sleeping At The Peeps’ – Grindhouse Review:

It’s ironic that the closing track on Melbourne punk rock outlaws Grindhouse’s latest offering is called Motherf**ken Punk Rock Power because to be absolutely blunt that is exactly what this album is… it is the only way to describe it.

If you’re a new fan of the punk genre and have been little confused by these so called modern punk rockers who are actually pop-stars in disguise then one listen to ‘Sleeping At The Peeps’ is going to jettison you back to the mid-1990s and show you exactly how good Aussie punk rock is supposed to sound.

There is no mucking around for Grindhouse ‘Sleeping At The Peeps’ simply creates a punk rock sound so pure that it sounds like it could have been recorded in a suburban garage or your local bar. For the most part lead vocalist Micky ‘Two Fingers’ Simpson lets his high vocals (seriously these guys are right up there with The Darkness) do the talking on tracks like ‘Dapto Dazzler,’ ‘If You Say So’ and ‘Demolition Dirtbag.’

Then there are the fun songs, stuff like ‘Wild Sex And Machine Guns’ and the afore mentioned ‘Muthaf**ken Punk Rock Power’ but the one thing you could never label Grindhouse is a gimmick band. Oh hell no, these guys are a lot better than that, if anyone needs proof of that then simply listen to Rick ‘Pony Club’ Audsley’s guitar work throughout the album. Or take a quick listen to ‘High On The Side Of The Road’ a track that ventures into rock territory more than punk but just shows how good these guys really are.

At the end of day ‘Sleeping At The Peeps’ sees Grindhouse deliver a healthy dose of pure hi-energy punk rock and no punk fan is going to complain about that.

 

Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

Public Service Broadcasting

Year: 2013

Label: Test Card Recordings

Track Listing:

  1. Inform Educate Entertain
  2. Spitfire
  3. Theme From PSB
  4. Signal 30
  5. Night Mail
  6. Qomolangma
  7. Roygbiv
  8. The Now Generation
  9. Lit Up
  10. Everest
  11. Late Night Final

Subculture Media ‘Inform Educate Entertain’ – Public Service Broadcasting Review:

There are some music lovers out there that would be quick to dismiss English act Public Service Broadcasting’s latest album “Inform Educate Entertain” as a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. But the people that would say that are the same kind of people that like to enter into the art vs art installation argument. Art is art and music is music and if you dig a little deeper the concept behind “Inform Educate Entertain” is a gutsy one with merit.

Public Service Broadcasting is made up J. Willgoose Esq. (who pretty much plays every instrument under the sun on the album) and Wrigglesworth who brings the drums and some haunting saxophone playing to the table. Also playing a key role in the sound of this album are the voices of various public service films (read into that propaganda films) that have been made over the years.

The idea behind “Inform Educate Entertain” is to point out that often videos disguised as public announcements or safety messages are in fact a way to try and control the public. Whether or not Public Service Broadcasting get that message across to their listeners is debatable but this is still an album that can be enjoyed by those who enjoy a good electronic or experimental album.

The only main weakness of this album is that some tracks just seem to glide by and become background noise but they are largely outnumbered by the amount of tracks that actually stand out. Late Night Final is smooth jazz at its best while for the most part tracks like Inform Educate Entertain, Everest, The Now Generation and Spitfire show that Public Service Broadcasting are one of the best groups going around at capturing that mix of electronic and rock.

Other tracks that certainly make a splash are the 80s pop sounding Theme From PSB (that also uses banjos to good effect), the rockier Signal 30 which incorporates some voiceover from road safety videos remarkably well and the smooth Lit Up which constantly reminds the listener that this is in fact ‘all just fairyland.’

The naysayers are pointing out that Public Service Broadcasting might find it hard to have a future after this but stay in the now people, what they have delivered here is a great sounding electronic album that has a memorable concept. I also hear that they do a pretty awesome live show so check them out if you can.

 

Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

The Living Eyes

Year: 2013

Label: Z-Man

Track Listing:

  1. Sittin’ Sick
  2. Wrong Doings
  3. Down And Out
  4. Heard It All Before
  5. Up And At Them
  6. Economy First
  7. Outta Doubt
  8. Slave Labour
  9. Ways To Make A Living
  10. Stuck In My Own World
  11. Cry In Shame

Subculture Media ‘The Living Eyes’ – The Living Eyes Review:

For the younger generation of music fans there is a familiar daydream – a dream where they once found themselves packed into a beer-soaked, smoke-filled concert hall in the 1960s as they watched a young band made up of musos with the names of George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon plying their trade. This of course would have been before The Beatles were international stars, the daydream doesn’t work if you can’t say you were one of the first people to discover The Beatles. Well now you can do that with another band.

The comparison between Geelong band The Living Eyes and of course The Beatles isn’t exactly such a far-fetched one to make. Certainly The Living Eyes have learnt a thing or two listening to The Beatles over the years, not only are their music styling very similar but Billy Gardener, Mitch Campleman, Dayle Herbert and Nicholas Hill know how to create a special brand of pop rock, a brand that to be honest it has felt that The Beatles have a hold on for all of these years.

The band’s self-titled new release is an absolute gem of an album, one that you know you are going to listen to over and over for years to come. Opening track ‘Sittin’ Sick’ reels you in with its garage rock fused with 1960s pop sound and the album has you from there.

Short and sweet tracks like ‘Wrong Doings’ and ‘Slave Labour’ leave the listener wanting more while you just know if a track like ‘Down And Out’ had been released back in the 1960s it would have graced itself on the soundtrack for the television series of ‘Heartbeat’, as it certainly would have been a track that would been remembered for a long to come.

‘Heard It All Before’ sees Billy Gardener bring an almost punk vibe to his vocals while it’s the brilliant guitar chords he pulls together with Mitch Campleman that makes you want to give ‘Up And At Them’ another listen.

Again it’s the guitar work on the opening of ‘Economy First’ which reveals The Living Eyes as a band with pure skill while it also shows that as a band these guys know how to write music so catchy that any audience will fall in love with it straight away… a really handy skill for a band to have if they want people coming to their shows and buying their CDs.

Even an average track like ‘Outta Doubt’ is worth another listen while ‘Ways To Make A Living’ again brings some raw emotion to the album… it’s track like the latter that makes seeing The Living Eyes live something to put on your bucket list.

‘Stuck In My Own World’ consists of some melodies that most bands would kill for while it is once again Gardner’s vocals that brings back that raw emotion with ‘Cry In Shame’.

This self-titled album really proves The Living Eyes to be one of the finds of 2013. If you are serious music lover then buying this album is a must while seeing them live should be a dream you fulfill really soon.

Rating (out of 5): Stars(5)

Amali Ward - Back In Time

Year: 2013

Label: Precious Records

Track Listing:
1. Leave Me Alone

2. Knock You Out

3. Upside Down

4. Victim Of Love

5. Prettier Than Me

6. Come Inside

7. Back In Time

8. Handbag

9. Break The Mirror

10. Black Dog

Subculture Media ‘Amali Ward – Back In Time’ Review:

Most people would remember Amali Ward as the young singer that many of the judges on Australian Idol thought was too young to be there. She proved them wrong and excelled and since her time on the show has gone away finished school and worked extremely hard at becoming one of Australia’s top singers… and she has the song-writing awards to back it up.

Now it’s time for Ward to show Australia (and the world) just what a fine artist she has become, with the release of her debut album ‘Back In Time’, and if you’re expecting just another stock standard pop album then you are in for a rude surprise. This actually will be one of the finest pop albums you hear this year.

‘Back In Time’ kicks into a gear with the smooth ‘Leave Me Alone’, a track that gives an early warning that this is going to be a special kind of album. Those thoughts are then justified with the brilliant ‘Knock You Out’, the new single off the album that is made up of what most pop tracks these days lack… real attitude. It’s easy to tell that Amali Ward has written this track from a really deep voice and the results are sensational.

‘Upside Down’ really puts the magnificent song-writing skills of Amali Ward on show, who else could turn a song about a bad night out into something so poetic. With these kinds of skills it’s not surprising that Ward has the ability to produce an album so good, even average tracks such as the sweet and catchy ‘Victim Of Love’ are well worth a second glance (or should that be listen).

There is a little bit of Alanis Morissette about ‘Prettier Than Me’ which sees Ward take a swipe at sooky guys, but instead of delivering a straight does of venom like Morissette would have Ward disguises it under a layer of sweetness that is very deceiving.

The one thing that Amali Ward isn’t afraid to do on Back In Time’ is genre-switch, she eases between various musical sounds with ease that that is nowhere more evident than on ‘Come Inside’ which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on ‘The Sapphires Soundtrack’.  The title track of the album, ‘Back In Time’ sees Ward once again return to the pop genre and along with ‘Handbag’ really does show that pop music doesn’t need to be generic and boring… these are stunning tracks.

‘Break The Mirror’ is catchier enough to suggest that it one day may find itself on radio station playlists, it’ll certainly have you singing along to it as you listen, while the jazzy swing sounding ‘Black Dog’ is made of some more deeply personal lyrics for Ward. It shows that songs clearly sound better when they are written from the heart.

‘Back In Time’ proves that ‘pop’ doesn’t have to be a bad word, this album alone should re-introduce a faith in this genre to music lovers that have thought that pop music has needed a good kicking for a long time. Imagine the thought provoking lyrics of somebody like Tori Amos mixed in with the sweet pop/R&B sounds of Rihanna and you’re some of the way to understanding what Amali Ward sounds like. ‘Back In Time’ is a brilliant album that really showcases the talents of one of Australia’s most promising up-and-coming stars.

Rating: 5/5

Bruce Mathiske

Year: 2013

Label: Rhythm Hunter

Track Listing:
1. My Life…

2. In Rhythm

3. River Stories

4. Paint It Black

5. Make Your Bed

6. Destination Morocco

7. Chet Mate

8. First Flight

9. The Bridge

10. I’m Not The Same

11. Is There Anybody Out There/The Wall

12. The Close Call

13. Fifteen Frantic Miles

14. …….So Far

Subculture Media ‘Bruce Mathiseke – My Life’ Review:

Please check our review on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Rating: 5/5

 

PanamaYear: 2013

Label: Independent

Track Listing:
1. Heartbeat
2. It’s Not Over
3. Magic
4. One Piece
5. Stop The Fire
6. We Have Love

Subculture Media Review:

For a long time Australian pop music has been something that the locals have been a little embarrassed about. Sure we have winners of shows like ‘X Factor’ and ‘Australian Idol’ but normally their first album does well and then they simply disappear into obscurity… well come in who knows what branch of McDonalds Casey Donovan and Kate DeAraugo are working the Drive Thru at now?

But if you are an Aussie pop lover then it is really time to rejoice, because along comes a group called Panama. These guys released the sensational ‘Magic’ last year and now they are back with an EP titled ‘It’s Not Over’ which is a great little release.

The opening track, ‘Heartbeat’ reveals a really different sound to what you would normally expect from an Aussie pop outfit… there is no hint of cheese (that’s saved for Casey’s cheeseburger) to be heard and instead it is obvious that Panama brilliantly fuse a the sound of pop, electronic and house music together extremely well.

Fans of Underworld and Joy Division (if you want to feel a little older) will lap up title track, ‘It’s Not Over’ with its great vocals care of Jarrah McCleary and a catchiness that makes very infectious. The groovy sounds continue with the track we all heard last year, ‘Magic’, which of course if you haven’t heard is very disco sounding.

‘One Piece’ delivers a very smooth electronic sound with some high notes that the Bee Gees would have proud to have called their own while the catchiness returns with ‘Stop The Fire’. The EP then closes out with ‘We Have Love’, another piece of pop magic.

‘It’s Not Over’ reveals that Panama are elite amongst pop groups just in Australia but around the world. Make sure you grab a copy of ‘It’s Not Over’ because it’s a must have at any party this summer.
Rating: 3/5

Tired Lion

Year: 2013

Label: Independent

Track Listing:
1. For The Wolfman
2. Bright Eyes

Subculture Media Review:

Katey Steele, Suzie DeMarchi and Sarah McLeod. Now add Sophie Hopes to that list because she truly deserves to be listed amongst Australia’s top female rock vocalists.

It seems every year another great band comes out of Perth and that trend is set to continue with the arrival of Tired Lion who have just delivered a brilliant two-track single (and you thought the single was dead!!!) titled ‘For The Wolfman’.

This is a single that deserves radio play straight away. The title track, ‘For The Wolfman’ is a sensational piece of Aussie rock music, it kind of sounds like Little Birdy but with a lot more grunt. Then thrown in on top of that is ‘Bright Eyes’, a catchier track that just makes you hope that Tired Lion delivers an EP or album sometime soon.

Get on board Tired Lion people, because they are one amazing sounding band.

Rating: 5/5

The Velvets

Year: 2013

Label: Independent

Track Listing:
1. Run For You Life
2. I Really Wanna
3. Nothin’ I Can Do
4. Umbrella Blues
5. Under Your Spell

Subculture Media Review:

Not to be confused with the American band of the 1960s The Velvets are band delivering a great brand of dirty blues rock out of Melbourne, and if you love great music then you’re going to have to add a copy of their new EP ‘The Whiskey Sessions’ to your collection.

This is one EP that jumps straight into the deep end with ‘Run For Your Life’ a track that not only showcases the great gravelly voice of lead singer, Jim Stirton but also announces The Velvets as one of the most promising bands going around.

‘I Really Wanna’ sees The Velvets deliver more great blues while ‘Nothin’ I Can Do’ is one of the finest songs you are likely to hear this year (yes I’m aware it’s only January). ‘Umbrella Blues’ sees The Velvets infuse a great modern country sound that works wonderfully well while the EP closes with ‘Under Your Spell’, an infectious track that makes you wanna see these guys live.

‘The Whiskey Sessions’ is a great little EP and well worth a look if you love your Aussie music.

Rating: 5/5