Single Reviews

Review: Distance – “No Funeral”

distanceNewcastle, Australia’s Distance are a relatively new entity under the post-hardcore umbrella. And while they may still be a burgeoning act, these two new songs presented as No Funeral, prove they are way beyond their collective age as a band. Their sound, perhaps, isn’t best labelled under the genre we tend to associate bands boasting crunchy post-punk guitars, strong percussion work and vocals fueled by what sounds like rage and anger. For Australian listeners, Distance will probably remind them of lauded acts like A Death in the Family, but for North American ears, you’ll find that their brand of songs could slip off the back of the Avail truck.

There are two songs here, “Temporary” and “Winter Solstice”, and both acquit themselves really well. “Temporary” has a tinge of Samiam to it as the opening percussion/guitar combo crescendos to near perfect melodies. What can be noted from these two songs is the band’s vocal work that at times come across as similar to Chris Fields’ work in Jon Cougar Concentration Camp; rough and tumble-dried in a vat of whiskey and a thousand cigarettes. The second song however, “Winter Solstice”, is really where the band shines. Its mid-tempo reflections and melancholia is draped in soaring choral harmonies, while the band’s adept blend of punk and hardcore comes through in spades. It’s really a terrific song and if it is any indication of where this band will go, then Distance will certainly be one to keep your ears and eyes on.

[rating=4]

 

Distance’s No Funeral is now available digitally and on cassette tape(!) via Hindsight Records. You can listen to “Winter Solstice” below:

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Album Reviews, Headlines

Review: Bodyjar – Role Model

BodyjarI’m not sure if it’s the old age or that things do actually get better over time, but after an 8-year hiatus, Melbourne punks Bodyjar may have just released the defining album of their career with Role Model. Some 20 years into it, the band has written both a consistent and consistently good record built on the kind of melodic punk that filled the airwaves through the mid-90s.

For those who lived outside of Australia during punk’s seminal burst into the mainstream, Bodyjar’s introduction was their Nitro Records release How It Works. Polished and composed, singles like “Not The Same” were a nice first look, but the album lacked the depth their contemporaries had. Perhaps the biggest differences between the career trajectories of Bodyjar and their North American counterparts was the sheer number of similar bands that flooded the market in the US and Canada while in Australia, Bodyjar were clear and above the best of their kind.

Rode Model, their first release since 2005’s Bodyjar, rips to shreds these preconceived notions the band aren’t as good as their US friends. In fact, one can argue that Role Model is the best melodic punk album we’ve seen in a very long time. Tracks like “Petty Problems” and the terrific “Fairy Tales” is proof that this band not only has the chops, but probably had them all along.

Hope Was Leaving”, brings back sweet memories of mid 90s skate punk doused with a hearty helping of soaring melodies and the kind of bite associated with the Strung Outs and Good Riddances of the world, while slower fare like “Break This Feeling” give the album some room to stretch.

Bands from that era have tried and failed to branch out from power chords and whoa-ohs, but Bodyjar are unashamedly comfortable with who they are. Melodic punk has fallen by the wayside with the younger generation of bands, but that’s where Bodyjar come in, and Role Model should serve as educational material on how to do this genre right.

Old punks die hard, for that, we are thankful.

[rating=4]

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Bodyjar’s Role Model is available now via UNFD. You can pick up a copy via iTunes.

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Music, Sight & Sound

LISTEN: Mantra’s new single “Break Tradition”

Melbourne’s favourite goateed MC, Mantra, has debuted his new single “Break Tradition”. The rhymesmith’s latest track is from his forthcoming new album Telling Scenes, due September 13th.

An ex member of funk, reggae, hip hop outfit Illzilla, Mantra broke out solo with the release of his 2010 album Power of the Spoken, which earned itself ‘Feature Album of the Week’ on Triple J.

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Baseball

Major League Baseball opens 2014 season in Sydney

With news that the 2014 MLB season will open at Sydney’s famed Sydney Cricket Ground next year with a heated series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, talk has turned into the pricing structure and pre-release procedure for those interested in snagging a ticket for the big event. International season openers are nothing new for Major League Baseball, having opened last season in Japan, but a trip all the way down to Australia is a new prospect for Bud Selig’s league, and already there has been much gripe about the process in which fans can sign up for early tickets.

The Australian Baseball League is a burgeoning league here in Australia. While secondary to the AFL, rugby, cricket and even soccer, its connection to the major leagues (it is partly funded by the MLB) means that it has close ties to the very best of the sport. Tickets for the event go on sale next week and priority is given to the members of any ABL team; a good way to boost the local league’s numbers but at the same time, a ghastly cost of having to fork out around $90-$190 for a local membership (these figures are from full membership prices to the Melbourne Aces) just to be first in line to purchase tickets for the series. Prices for the series?

Exorbitant to say the least. Certainly this opportunity is a fantastic one to get up close to two famed MLB franchises, and considering the distance the clubs have to travel, it is no surprise prices are so high. However, those traveling interstate will surely be spending no less than $1000 for the trip- almost an entire fare to the US, where some tickets from either official team websites or Stubhub can be bought for a measly $6.

Is it worth it? From this writer’s perspective, it’s hard to say. Last June I spent $149 each on great seats at Yankee Stadium for a subway series game between the Mets and the Yankees. These tickets were bought off Stubhub so they were more than the regular price- but even New Yorkers weren’t going to gouge me for that much.

Nonetheless, recent events between the Dodgers and the Dbacks have been less than friendly, adding a possible edge to next year’s series (baseball players tend not to forget getting hit by a pitch). We’ll get to see the best sport in the world in our own backyard which is always a positive, and let’s hope that when March rolls around, we’ll also get to see a little of this too:

Baseball in Australia is a growing sport, but there are plenty of Australian major leaguers who more than just contribute to their respective clubs. Perhaps this is the best way to expand the sport here, and in a sense, we’re lucky that Major League Baseball is enthusiastic about sending teams all the way down. Time will tell whether or not such ventures are worth it for the fans. We should be excited that they aren’t sending the Marlins or the Astros, and let’s hope they bring some Dodger dogs down with them.

Play ball (mate).

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Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening may not be the most likely on-screen combo, but the two team up for comedic spills in the indie flick Girl Most Likely. The film, originally titled Imogene, screened at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival before getting picked up by Lionsgate for distribution.

Wiig stars as a playwright who stages a suicide in an attempt to win back her ex, only to wind up in the custody of her gambling-addict mother (Bening). The film co-stars Matt Dillon and Natasha Lyonne and is set for a limited run this July. No word as of yet whether the film will see release in Australia.

 

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Australian movie goers and romantic zombie lovers, we’ve got a great ticket giveaway for you! We are giving away 5x double passes to the upcoming flick Warm Bodies for readers in Australia.

 

Do you want to win? All you have to do is the following:

1. Follow us on Twitter: @themarshalltown

2. Tweet: “I want #WARMBODIES @themarshalltown!”

 

Don’t have Twitter? That’s okay, just enter your email address below and we’ll pick ’em from here too:

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

We will pick  5 winners over the next few weeks and get you a double pass each to a screening in Australia. Too easy.

What’s Warm Bodies? It’s going to be the best zombie movie you see this year. Here are the details

Synopsis: WARM BODIES is a hilarious genre-bending take on the zombie tale, told through the eyes of a zombie named ‘R’ (Nicholas Hoult). Grunting his way through a post-apocalyptic world with the mindless hunger that plagues the undead, he is full of wonder and longing for the time that must have gone before. When ‘R’ falls for Juliet, a human girl (Australia’s own Teresa Palmer), their romance sets in motion events that may start to transform their entire world. Also starring John Malkovich, Dave Franco & Rob Corrdry.

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies hits Australian cinemas April 11th!

Terms of conditions: This contest is eligible for Australian readers only. One tweet, one entry.

 

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Sight & Sound

Hear new Iggy & The Stooges song “Burn”

Everyone’s favorite leather-skinned punk rock old timer has released a brand new tune with his band. Better known as Iggy & The Stooges, the group have unveiled the new song “Burn” from their upcoming new album Ready to Die, only their third album since their heavily influential 1973 release Raw Power. The album is also the first without original member Ron Asheton who passed away in 2009.

Iggy & The Stooges will venture down to Australia next week and will play Melbourne on the 27th at Festering Hall; really the only place dirty enough to have Iggy. Ready to Die is set for release April 30th.

https://soundcloud.com/warnersyncs/iggy-the-stooges-burn/s-wdN1v

 

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