For Cream Magazine. Paul Dempsey - 'Everything Is True'
When Something For Kate's Paul Dempsey says he's releasing a solo effort, he's not using the term loosely. Dempsey penned and sung every lyric, and played every instrument heard on the record, which he co-produced. He takes a 'one guy and a guitar' approach, and the results are so fundamentally different to the sonic formula of SFK that it is virtually unrecognisable. All eleven tracks are unadorned, and the album is packed with intimate whispers backed by sweeping, simple guitar melodies. This newfound softness and absence of bass is becoming of Dempsey's tender vocals; refreshingly light and effortless. Lead singles 'Out The Airlock' and 'Ramona Was A Waitress' are obvious highlights, amongst serenely charming tracks that reveal their strength with multiple listens.
'Everything Is True' is out through Capitol/EMI.
Despite being old enough to have school-wagging grandkids of their own, Sonic Youth are reliving the tingly-toed feeling of walking out of those school-gates for the last time. The '80s alt-rock pioneers ditched their major label, getting back their indie roots and, so they say, their freedom. Whatever they've been doing, it's working. 'The Eternal' is the most focused and fulfilling of any SY offerings of the past decade, stripping their sound back to a blank canvas of simple, unforced emotion. There are some quietly brilliant gems tucked away on this release, amongst a backdrop of guitar jams and ferocious lyrics. Tracks worthy of repeat listen include 'Leaky Lifeboat', an ironically upbeat tribute to late beat poet, Gregory Corso, and closing track 'Massage The History', a subdued and desperate wave of nostalgia. No band is eternal, but after almost 30 years, SY look like being here for the long haul.
'The Eternal' is out through Remote Control.
For Tom Magazine. Warning: massively, and ridiculously long.
Splendour in the Grass
Byron Bay 25/07/09 - 26/07/09
Ahh, music festivals. Obscene ticket prices, and more time spent queuing for soiled Port-a-Loos and overpriced food and alcohol than actually seeing bands perform. You leave with miscellaneous bruises, a 2-day hangover, and your wallet empty of anything but the mud you’ll find in strange crevices for weeks to come. Say what you will, at the end of the weekend it was all worth it.
17,300 people made the voyage to Byron Bay for the two day musical orgy - 200 less than usual, as some fans demanded refunds when Janes Addiction pulled out ‘due to illness’ at the last minute. Aussie veterans The Living End stepped up to replace them, drawing a crowd at least five times larger than the number that forwent the festival altogether. Of these revellers, there were ageing hippies, ravers in fluro jumpsuits, scantily clad party girls, costumed weirdos, and card-carrying hipsters. But mostly, the Wayfarer and store-bought tie-dye wearing hipsters. What else could bring such a colourful and eclectic bunch together but good ol’ fashion music?