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A Guide to Groovy Tunes

ASTA – SHINE EP (POP)

Hobart’s own Asta first stole the hearts of Australians when she won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition back in 2012 with her beauty My Heart is On Fire and since then has been releasing a bunch of groovy pop singles like ‘Dynamite’ which featured Aussie rapper Allday. But it was only recently that she released her first EP. As a debut, this EP is pretty awesome. Each of the five songs are incredibly unique and memorable yet they flow together so cohesively. Asta has stayed true to her funky pop sound, each song upbeat and insanely hard not to dance to! Asta tests her vocal range throughout this album, showing the power of her voice and that she knows how to use it. She sure is making Hobart proud. This is the album to put on before a night out.

8/10

 

KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD – FLYING MICROTONAL BANANA (ROCK)

Flying Microtonal Banana’ is the first of five albums psychedelic rock band King Gizzard plan on releasing this year. After coming off the success of their previous album ‘Nonagon Infinity’, which reached #2 on the ARIA charts, it was unclear how the band could top it. Whilst ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ isn’t Gizzard’s best album, it definitely has all the features to make it a good Gizz album. Band members decked out their instruments to allow for microtonal tuning, bringing a whole new element to the band. It’s refreshing and very cool. The album shows the band’s creativity at its fullest, unlike ‘Nonagon Infinity’, Flying Microtonal Banana is a calmer take on the band’s sound, with the album’s pace slowing slightly which is rejuvenating compared to their usual high-energy beat. The female vocals on album’s fifth track ‘Billabong’ added to the album’s overall diversity and was a much needed addition to make the album digestible. On a whole the album plays tribute to the band’s psych rock sound but by making it a hell of a lot more interesting with the microtonal experimentation of the album.

7/10

 

THE SHINS – HEARTWORMS (INDIE/ALTERNATIVE)

The Shins are an American indie rock band who first formed in 1996. After five years, The Shins released ‘Heartworms’,  possibly one of the best albums they have conceived. If you listen to this album as soon as you wake up in the morning you are sure to have a good day. The band’s line up has changed drastically over the years and so has their sound. ‘Heartworms’ is more pop, more uplifting and to be totally honest a lot more fun than previous records. The band have experimented with synth and computer sounds throughout this album and it has definitely worked in their favour. The conversation within the lyrics of the album is about looking back on what the band used to be, but the sound of the album is definitely looking towards to the future.

8.5/10

 

Ed Sheeran: Divide Review

It’s a sad fact that liking Ed Sheeran as a 20-something heterosexual male isn’t perhaps the coolest thing amongst my peers. No dude has ever uttered the phrase “Oh, you like Ed Sheeran? Let me buy you a beer” to another male. But, after listening through Sheeran’s new album I’m prepared to deal with the ramifications. Besides, fuck gender stereotypes, right?

Five years since he debuted his first project, + (Plus), British pop music’s most valuable asset released his highly anticipated third studio album ÷ (Divide), on March 3 to worldwide fanfare. Since his first LP, Sheeran has exploded from ‘that guy that kind of looks like Ron Weasley’ to this generation’s favourite romantic red head.      

The record title fits the math motif he’s been following since 2011, which to some might suggest that he’s running out of new ideas; however, as the first verse from the illegally downloaded album plays through my shitty laptop speakers, it’s immediately apparent that his lack of imagination is restricted mostly to the album titles. That being said, if you were to put this entire project on a fun-o-meter, it wouldn’t exactly be hitting 100.

The album is a familiar mix of heartfelt words and lyrical acrobatics. Much of his work is autobiographical in nature, and, by track seven, Sheeran has his audience feeling like they have been let a little deeper into his life and times. While Castle on the hill has me looking online for cheap flights back home, under 30’s everywhere are finishing their drinks and running to the D-floor when the DJ reluctantly hits play on Shape of you for perhaps the 400th time this month. From falling in love with a Galway Girl to describing an ex-lover’s New Man, the album’s 16 tracks predictably follow the themes expected from the singer songwriter, though with a scattering of feel-good tunes without much reason but plenty of rhyme.           

Maybe it’s because the superstar borrowed much of his sound from my favourite unknown British two-piece band, Nizlopi, or maybe I’ve just succumbed to the gentle siren that is Ed Sheeran. Either way, its neo RnB folk hip-hop repackaged as shitty pop trash, and, as certain as I’ll continue to wear my Justin Bieber tee while throwing shapes on the dance floor at O-bar, I’ll listen to it another 48 times before I’m finished.    

   

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