Category: Music

MUSIC REVIEW | The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane (1988)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “What they lacked in vocal range was always more than made up for in sincerity.”

I like to think of myself as a serious music fan.  I try to consume as much as possible, I try to make sure I catch up on classics form before my time, even when I’m pretty sure it’s a band, artist or genre I won’t like.  Which makes it shameful that as a wannabe serious music fan from Queensland, Australia, I haven’t heard nearly enough of one of the area’s most revered bands, The Go-Betweens.  I own an album or two that I really like, I know the hits, and I know I should be a whole lot more familiar than I am.  Which is why I listened to the swansong of their original 80s era, 16 Lovers Lane.

Turning their standard acoustic, melodious rock seamlessly into flamenco passion, the impeccable song writing of the Grant McLennan and Robert Forster is on immediate display with Love Goes On!  Then the 80s vintage of the record is impossible to ignore on Quiet Heart.  It was a time when producers could make even centuries old instruments sound digitally artificial.  It’s a beautiful song, the production just does its best to strip it of all genuine beauty and feeling. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “On paper, The Postal Service isn’t the kind of band or music I would normally have any interest in.  In practice, The Postal Service and Give Up is a 44 minute reminder of why preconceptions about a genre isn’t an effective way to judge music.”

Postal 1.jpg
Seven or eight years ago, after several years if being lost deep in a late discovery of and appreciation for 90s Californian punk rock, I realised that a whole movement in contemporary cool was passing me by.  Sensitive, ambitious rock by bands like Arcade Fire and Death Cab for Cutie had alt music nerds, and even sections of the mainstream, all fired up.  Maybe they were the stand outs then and the highest profile survivors today.  Maybe I just heard of them first.  Whatever the reason, those two bands represent that entire scene for me to this day.

To my amateur eyes, these two bands are the centre of a pretty definitive sound of the new millennium.  Which made it surprising to realise that Death Cab for Cutie wasn’t even front man Ben Gibbard’s only outlet at that time.  This prolific bastard had the nerve to front two highly respected, influential and revered projects, the second being The Postal Service.  Without knowing anything more about the band than Gibbard’s involvement, I was intrigued, and even a little excited, about listening to Give Up. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Dave Graney & the Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine (1993)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “There’s something to Graney’s preacher-esque, charismatic delivery that makes it a gripping epic.”

Graney 1.jpg
I think I got pretty lucky that my formative music listening, teenage years coincided with a real peak in local, Australian rock, indie and alternative music.  I’m sure everyone thinks that about their own generation, but I genuinely feel like the local music scene was a lot stronger, more varied and more original then than it is now.  I’m also aware that most people reach a certain age where they think this kind of thing was a lot better, “back in my day”.  But how could you argue with the greatness of a time when the national youth radio station could swing from the punk, hip hop, techno, metal collision of Regurgitator, to the sampled dance perfection of The Avalanches, to the serious art wankery of Nick Cave, and a million other places in between?

Not to mention one man out of time, ironically donning leisure suits before delivering his mash up of country crooning, sexy soul, perfect pop and intellectual meditations, wrapped up in a throwback to everything cool about every genre to have come before him.  In a time of great variety and individualism in Aussie music, Dave Graney stood out as even more varied and individual than the rest.  And possibly his most defining album of that period was Night of the Wolverine. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The kind of song that I hope would be playing if I ever walked into a southern bar.”

Lucinda 1.jpg
Kicking off with Right In Time, Lucinda Williams and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road are exactly what I think of when I think of 90s, mainstream country.  In the 90s, when this record was made, I hated that kind of thing.  But these days, I more and more appreciate that country music is where you’ll find some of the best musicians in popular music, as well as some of the best song writers.  Which is what Right In Time delivers.  Solid, tight, disciplined song writing with hooks and melodies that are fresh and familiar at the same time.  With a backing band that knows how to service a song, and flex their muscles without ever getting ion the way.

While there’s a slight twang to Williams’ voice, with down home lyrical allusions, the title track and 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten are more 90s indies rock than country.  Drunken Angel then highlights a great thing about Williams, her song writing and her voice.  She is more than capable of singing in a traditionally pretty way, but even at her “nicest”, she still has an edge and attitude, that she takes advantage of by using her to deliver some amazingly dry and biting lyrics. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Titus Andronicus – The Monitor (2010)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A lot more wide ranging than the punk rock genre definer would usually indicate.”

Titus 1.jpg
When you do a Google search for “Titus Andronicus band”, the description for their official site reads, “Specializing in punk since 2005”.  How could I not be impressed by a band undertaking such a noble endeavour for over a decade?  That’s the kind of thing that makes it feel like it’s my musical civic duty to listen to at least one of their records.  One of their records like The Monitor.

Namechecking New Jersey before declaring, “Baby we were born to die” is an obvious reference to the 80s, studio rock and roll of people like Bruce Springsteen.  But A More Perfect Union has none of their slick sheen of those songs or that era.  There’s a lo-fi, dirt to this song, even when the playing is air tight.  And the wavering in Patrick Stickles’ voice gives everything a raw sincerity. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Fiona Apple – When the Pawn… (1999)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “42 minutes of a truly unique voice, delivering some truly unique, yet somehow familiar feeling music.”

Fiona 1.jpg

After deciding I wanted to review a Fiona Apple record, I quickly realised I had no idea why.  I couldn’t remember where or how I first became aware of her, or what made me think she was someone I needed to listen to.  So I went in search of a bio and found this from Rolling Stone, “A late-1990s overnight sensation, Fiona Apple was cast as the antidote to packaged pop divettes like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.  Considering her angst-ridden lyrics and her propensity to shock interviewers, some critics classed her among such provocateurs as Alanis Morissette and Sinéad O’Connor”.  Luckily I found that after listing to When the Pawn…  Because if I’d read it first, I probably never would have listened to a note of Fiona Apple, and never would have discovered that she’s kind of amazing.

A haunting, lurching piano march starts things off with On the Bound, before the strong, commanding voice of Apple takes full control.  Apple even makes the occasional vocal warble sound authoritative.  This is the kind of music that is usually tamed by someone like Tom Waits, hearing a woman with such a firm grip on the wheel somehow sounds more natural.  Even when juxtaposed by the tiny physical frame of Fiona Apple, it just seems right.  And it works just as well as she tackles the deep horns and haunted house vibes and percussion of To Your Love. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | White Lung – Paradise (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Every song on Paradise is unmistakeably the work of one band”.

Lung 1.jpg
I love punk rock.  But technically, I can probably only claim to really love 90s, Californian punk rock, because that represents a solid 99% of the punk I listen to.  So in an effort to drag my musical tastes into the modern day, I’m giving White Lung a red hot crack with their latest, Paradise.

What happens if you take the instruments, effects pedals and overblown production grandeur of a band like Evanescence, then use them to make some angry girl punk rock?  You get Dead Weight, one of the most exciting introductions to an album and a band that I have heard in a long, long time.  The same aesthetic, now with added spooky keyboards works just as well on Narcoleptic. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Elvis Costello – Spike (1989)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The biggest pleasures with Spike were in its surprises.”

Spike 1
In 1986, Elvis Costello released his album, King of America.  An album of which I said, “It’s great to hear an album by someone who I was so sure I was familiar with, to only then be surprised in different ways from song to song.”  It was that surprise that inspired me to dig deeper into this guy who I have always liked, but was becoming increasingly aware that I had also always taken for granted, expecting a very specific kind of music.  So, what surprises were in store with Costello’s record from three years later, Spike?

With an over produced drum sound and bouncing synth, the first few seconds of …This Town… had me wondering if I was listening to the wrong album.  But the second Costello’s voice joins the fray, this is undeniably an Elvis Costello song.  The little production flourishes continue with hints of similar period Peter Gabriel, but Costello’s voice is more than enough to overpower them all. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Fly Golden Eagle – Quartz Bijou (2015)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Vintage heart and soul rock and roll.”

Eagle 1.jpg
A little while ago, I took a chance on what might be one of the worst named bands in the history of rock and roll by listening to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard with what might be one of the worst named records in the history of rock and roll, Paper Mache Dream Balloon.  I took that chance simply because they were label mates with one of my absolute favourite bands of all time, and by far my number one most listened to band of the last few years, Drive-By Truckers.  The result was an, “oscillation between half decent and full bullshit.”  But I guess that wasn’t enough to put me off that method of trying new bands.  Because here I am, reviewing fellow ATO Records act Fly Golden Eagle, with last year’s Quartz Bijou.

Funk, soul, vintage R n’ B…  These ingredients in such full flavoured force aren’t something to be expected on a record from 2015, but You Look Good to Me delivers a heapin’ helpin’ that makes me want to watch a super low budget, B grade movie from the 70s.  The 70s vibe is only amplified even more with the dirt and grit of Stepping Stone.  It has an evangelical vibe as the vocals are preached in between bursts of sleazy rock that sounds way too cool to have been made this millennium. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Elvis Costello – King of America (1986)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s great to hear an album by someone who I was so sure I was familiar with, to only then be surprised in different ways from song to song.”

King 1
Diving head first into the back catalogue of musical legends is intimidating.  First of all, if they’re considered a legend, chances are they’ve been around a while and produced a healthy sized body of work.  Secondly, if you don’t like it, what does that say about your own tastes, or lack thereof?  Between his legendary status and 24 solo albums over almost 40 years, the work of Elvis Costello is dense and immense.  I already know I like him, and I still felt anxious when trying to decide which of his albums to listen to for a review.  In the end, for maximum new exposure, I chose one with the least number of song titles I recognised.  I chose King of America.

After the Costello-standard guitar based, melodious rock perfection of Brilliant Mistake, it’s his take on walking bass, 12 bar, 50s country, rock n roll with Loveable.  It’s not really a sound I’ve ever felt myself wishing Costello had tackled, and while it’s a perfectly fine little curiosity, it’s not the kind of thing I hope to find more of on King of America, or really anywhere else in the Elvis Costello oeuvre. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Radical Son – Cause ‘N Affect (2014)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I have to remind myself about how amazing RnB can be when it’s sincere and stripped back.  Radical Son is one of those reminders.”

Radical 1
A main reason for starting this blog was to listen to more new, and more wide ranging music.  I had spent a solid 15 years relying so much on the same bands, albums, and even specific songs that had filled my teenaged years, that my listening was just way too narrow.  Even now, listening to literally hundreds of new (to me) albums every year, I still feel like my purview is a little narrow.  A lot of mainstream classics that I‘ve been late to, and pop culture moments of the day dictate what I listen to.  I don’t take a chance on enough indie, out of the mainstream, sub culture, completely unknown to me acts.  Which is something I’m trying to remedy, starting with Radical Son and Cause ‘N Affect.

Reggae so laid back it borders on dub, Human Behaviour is the kind of song that hits big by playing things so small.  The swaying horns, relaxed vocals and dream-like drum and bass all say so much without ever having to shout anything.  The beats get bigger and the samples get scratched on the hip hop infused Do the Right Thing.  But Radical Son isn’t here to spit rhymes, he’s here to deliver RnB smooth. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Bad Company – Bad Company (1974)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “This record is easy enough to listen to, and too harmless to ever be negative about.”

Bad 1
According to Wikipedia, Bad Company was a 70s supergroup, made up of members of the bands Free, Mott the Hoople and King Crimson.  I’ve heard the name King Crimson, but never knowingly heard any of the music.  I’ve listened to one Mott the Hoople record.  But I even had to do a search of my own website to confirm if that was true.  And I’ve never heard of Free at all.  I don’t say any of that as a snarky way of question the “supergroup” moniker.  I say that as a way of clarifying my own experience of these dudes, and where I’m coming from when it comes to Bad Company and their self titled debut.  It turns out that where I’m coming from is a place of almost complete ignorance.

Setting the tone for its time, Can’t Get Enough is some quintessential, 70s soft rock stuff.  I can’t really describe it beyond that, but if I read lyrics like, “Well, I take whatever I want, and baby, I want you.  You give me something I need. Now tell me I got something for you”, this is the exact song, note for note, I would imagine. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Cat Power – You Are Free (2003)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “As far as entrees to an artist go, I think I chose really well with You Are Free.

Cat 1.jpg
I often have a weird aversion to praise for music and movies.  There’s no rhyme or reason for it, but sometimes, everyone loving something makes me determined to avoid it.  Almost like if I see it or heat and like it too, then my tastes are exposed as being pedestrian and broad.  Cat Power is one of those artists who got too much praise over the years for me to ever take a chance on.  But every now and again, I realise how ridiculous my avoidance is and indulge in the odd critical darling.  Like Cat Power with You Are Free.

While the simplicity of the piano intro to I Don’t Blame You is so unassuming it’s hard to believe it could ever be used to build a memorable song, the instant Charlyn Marshall’s vocals join in, the song just grabs hold.  There’s a laconic, weariness that makes every word seem so essential.  With its staccato acoustic guitar, Free sounds like it could go bigger, but the same vocal restraint works just as well here, even if the music behind it has a little more drive. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – Dirty Pop Fantasy (2013)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Never messes around in getting to the point.”


When not out and out embracing the poppiest of pop music, the ‘Gurge has always had a knack for hiding catchy pop songs under distorted guitars, dark lyrics and the odd sprinkling of hard core hip hop.  With their latest, Regurgitator tries to have it both ways.  While a lot of Dirty Pop Fantasy sounds like it could be Unit: Part 2, the rest sounds like the more modern day incarnation of Quan Yeomans and Ben Ely, heard on 2011’s SuperHappyFunTimesFrineds and 2007’s Love and Paranoia.

(Review originally posted September , 2013)

MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – SuperHappyFunTimesFriends (2011)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Justified my anticipation when it came out five years ago, and it did just as a good a job on this re-listen as well.”

Gurge 1.jpg
For me, more often than not, my favourite albums from any bands I love tend to be the album that helped me discover them, and the first new album that came out after that discovery.  That holds true for RegurgitatorTu-Plang was the first record of theirs I bought, and it’s my favourite.  Unit was the first to come out after I devoured Tu-Plang, and it’s probably in the top 10 of records I have listened to most from beginning to end.  But what makes Regurgitator stand out from most other bands in my CD collection, is how deep into their catalogue they are, and how consistently I still love everything they put out.  Which was definitely the case with the release of SuperHappyFunTimesFriends.

With the most obviously fake drum sound imaginable, leading into a super lo-fi guitar for some jangled, indie, pop rock, One Day really is a quintessential Regurgitator song, even before the unmistakable vocals of Quan Yeomans appear.  Throw in a little hip hop, and it could nicely represent their entire oeuvre in less than two and a half minutes.  At just 21 seconds of punk rock energy with zero aggression and all tongue in cheek, the shout out to Bill Paxton in Aliens that is Game Over Dude is pure Ben Ely. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – Love and Paranoia (2007)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A great album that can stand tall against anything else in the ‘Gurge catalogue.”

Love 1.jpg
Charting Regurgitator’s discography to this point, Tu-Plang was the audacious debut.  Three young dudes who didn’t know the rules they were breaking with their punk, hip hop, alt, indie audacity.  Unit was a massive risk, giving us an 80s pop album with a 90s alternative twist none of us knew we wanted.  …art and Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War on T-Wrecks was a band with experience and confidence, and a sound that we were all now familiar with.  Mish Mash was a mid life crisis gimmick that holds up a lot better today than its gimmicky origins should let it.

Now, we get to Love and Paranoia, when Regurgitator became elder statesman of alt-Oz rock.  The kind of band with enough years and records behind them that have earned so much good will with me, all I need is a new album every few years that might not blow me away, but makes me happy that they’re still making music. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – Mish Mash (2004)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The thing I liked most was how well it holds up when totally detached from the gimmick of its production.”

Mish 1
Regurgitator released their first four albums in just five years.  And while the musical styles and inspirations may have swung wildly all over the place, the results were always unmistakably Regurgitator.  Almost like what Quentin Tarantino is to movies, Quan Yeomans and Ben Ely are expert appropriators who know who to steal from and how to use those thefts to create something undeniably their own.

By 2004, it was by far the longest gap the band had ever had between records.  But they didn’t waste that time off.  Instead, they came up with an idea as brilliant as it was gimmicky.  When Regurgitator decided it was time to go back into the studio, they didn’t go back into the studio at all.  Instead, they become The Band in a Bubble.  A studio was set up in Melbourne’s Federation Square where the band would live and record for several weeks under the scrutiny of thousands of passers by everyday, and Australian music TV channel, Channel V.  The result was Mish Mash. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | John Prine – John Prine (1971)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Simultaneously exactly what I expected, and a totally fresh surprise.”

Prine 1.jpg
15 or 16 years ago, I was on a camping trip with some mates and the soundtrack was pure blokey rock from the 90s.  It was the turn of the millennium and we were dudes who loved dude music, like Guns n’ Roses, Pearl Jam and Tool.  Then, one person pulled out a mix tape from their car and what we heard was something different.  It was hokey country music, with a man and women trading corny verses like, “She don’t like her eggs all runny, she thinks crossin’ her legs is funny.  She looks down her nose at money, she gets it on like the Easter Bunny.  She’s my baby I’m her honey, I’m never gonna let her go”.

We made a lot of fun of that song, and the person who’d supplied the mix tape.  But the song stayed in my head, grew on me, and found its way onto my iPod.  Then, a couple of years ago, my obsession with Jason Isbell grew to the stage of following him on Twitter and he often referenced the man responsible for, “she gets it on like the Easter Bunny”, John Prine.  Once I knew who he was, his name popped up more and more, mentioned by bands and singers I really like, as well as appearing in Youtube clips with bands and singers I really liked.  I obviously had a legend on my hands.  A point which was only solidified by listening to John Prine. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War on T-Wrecks (2000)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A pretty great encapsulation of everything Regurgitator had done up until this point.”

Eduardo 1
From what I can tell, original Rugurgitator drummer Martin Lee left sometime during the recording of …art.  He gets credited on a lot of the tracks on that album, but I don’t remember ever seeing him play live with them once the record was out.  Guitarist Quan Yeomons and bass player Ben Ely were always the principal song writers, but my naïve young music listening mind in the year 2000 liked to imagine every band was democratically even symbiosis with each member contributing equally to the sound.

Two things had me a little concerned as a Regurgitator fan when it was time for the next record.  The lead single sounded like a deliberate parody and piss take, and the cover only included Yeomans and Ely.  It wasn’t so much that Lee was gone that had me worried.  What concerned me was that those two had (in my mind) declared themselves Regurgitator, with no need for an equal partner member on the drum stool.  Both concerns are clearly manufactured completely in my own head, based on nothing more than my own assumptions.  But they were strong enough that they all came flooding back today when I sat down to once again listen to Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War on T-Wrecks for the first time in a long time. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – …art (1999)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Combines the experimentation and genre bending of their debut, with the more seasoned expertise and confidence of its follow up.”

Art 1.jpg
Tu-Plang was the brash debut.  Two disparate creative voices, smashing their styles and idiosyncrasies into each other head first, creating a beautiful monster of punk, pop, rock, hip hop and glorious noise that perfectly fit the mould of Aussie alternative rock at the time, while sounding like nothing else out there.  Unit was a perfectly crafted and intricately executed concept, as 80s pop was taken beyond pastiche for a true post modern refresh that was faithful to the old, while creating something totally new.  After such a jarringly different, yet equally effective opening pair, where did Regurgitator go with record number three, …art?

The perfect ear for melody of Quan Yeomans is evident straight away on Happiness.  Displaying his knack for using organic instruments like guitars, sampled and looped in ways that suggest a more modern, computer driven structure, it’s a great example of this band at this time.  Ben Ely then gets gentle and dreamy on Ghost, using a similar combination of organic heart, surrounded by a more modern, electronic skin. (more…)