Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feature: 'An FPS Christmas' for Frock Paper Scissors

For Frock Paper Scissors.









Is your favourite Christmas movie The Grinch? Do you blanch at $50 baubles and screw your nose up at forced festive cheer? if you still want to join in the celebrations this silly season – minus the gaudy Santa cutouts – take our advice.


Local Brisbane artist Lauren Carney has your cutely warped gifts (and possibly Christmas Cards) sorted at her lovely Etsy shop – think Santa bomb-diving into a pool of horrified children. There’s some gorgeous eco-friendly and fair trade decorations at Biome for those who need a kick up the bum in the tinsel department, and they’ve got a nifty gift guide too. Their gifts are for anyone who thinks the spend-a-thon that proceeds December 25 should be put to better use, or at least not wasted on throw-away ties and socks made in sweatshops. An even brighter idea for the anti-consumerist within you is a Really Wild Gift that goes towards WSPA’s charity work. You can even tailor it to benefit your loved one’s favourite creatures. Plus, if anyone asks what you got your mum for Christmas, you can say “vitamin enriched orangutan milk” or “oh, I saved a bear on her behalf, no big”.

If these get you in the spirit, there’s free events abound this season – from fighting for a spot to view the beautiful Myer window display on the Queen St Mall, to the Festival of Carols at Albert Street Uniting Church on December 17. We can also take some pride in the King George Square Christmas tree this year, as it’s the world’s largest solar powered pine, with over 16,000 lights. If ‘bah, humbug’ is still on your lips, you could always drive around and mock the efforts of this year’s Christmas Lights Winners, or catch a screening of sadistic Finnish Christmas flick Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.
Merry Christmas from the FPS team, regardless of whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: 'Morning Glory' for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine.
















Morning Glory could have been a welcome break from the circuit of summer rom-coms and thrillers, but Aline Brosh McKenna’s scripting results in a wholly unsatisfying payoff. Rachel McAdams finally gets the kind of lead role she deserves, as the bubbly and hard-working morning television producer Becky Fuller. McAdams is always a delight, and Ford and Keaton have long proven their ability to save a struggling film. From the same screenwriter as The Devil Wears Prada, and with similarities abound, Morning Glory gets off to a great start. Unfortunately, the talented lead trio becomes the only reason to keep watching past the halfway mark.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: The Holy Sea for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine, original article here



 The Holy Sea
Ghosts of the Horizon (An Ocean Awaits/Fuse)
There are a handful of stunning records released by Australian artists every year. There are less unashamedly Australian records, fewer still ambitious offerings commentating an exclusively Australian experience. I dont want to prematurely jump on the bandwagon of those hailing Ghosts of the Horizon as an iconic Aussie record (The Holy Seas own team suggest it "has the hallmarks of a landmark Australian album"). I will say it is refreshing to hear something both musically accomplished and politically important; an aurally appealing voice with something of worth to say.

It
s easy to compare lead singer and writer Henry F. Skerritt to Nick Cave and other predecessors, but what he, and the entire epic seven-man (and woman) folk-rock outfit present, is a unique sense of characterisation. With strong imagery, and ballads written from the perspective of real-life figures such as Seargent Chris Hurley (the moving King of Palm Island) and Van Diemens Land Governor George Arthur (Arthurs Lament), this is folk-rock poetry. Throw in a pinch of personal reflection, some contemporary suburban tales, guts and fire and you have Ghosts of the Horizon. The whole package seems to ache with the residue of our colonial past, our own ghosts, without feeling irrelevant to its contemporary listeners.

This begs to be bought, borrowed, copied off the radio using an old tape recorder, if not just for the vulnerability and clever concision of Skerritt
s lyrics. Throughout the nine tracks, Skerritt writes modern bush poetry, with a bitter, lonely stain.  From the contrasted landscapes of single Bad Luck; "I groped to find your stars unlit as the wilderness turned winter in your sullen breast" to the melodies of This River; "like a general in her kitchen, she keeps it ship-shape/and one day, well her ship might come in/she always did like the ocean".

This record benefitted from each listen, as another poignant lyric, a greater resonance, was uncovered. Give it time to gestate, and who knows, maybe it will become a pivotal Australian album, or maybe you
ll just grow to really appreciate The Holy Sea after eleven years of music making.
[Anna Angel]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Chris Pickering at The Globe for Rave Magazine

Gig review, read the original here, or in the latest Rave, issue 970, pg 30.


CHRIS PICKERING/ CATHERINE BRITT
The Globe - Fri Dec 3

Arriving at The Globe to news their doors are staying open, at least for now, I’m invited to ‘review the venue, not the bands’. It does feels right to stretch out on the worn carpet to take in the voyeuristically intimate shows of Nashville-returned alt-country artists Catherine Britt and Brisbane’s own Chris Pickering. But the crowd, which plateaus at around the 50 or 60 mark, are here for the music (barring the gentleman passed out in the middle of the room).

As candidly confessional in her song introductions as in her lyrics, Britt dedicates What I Did Last Night to the hangovers we’ll sport come morning, and bares the chip on her shoulder, launching into the arresting Call You Back Town. My current emotional state is akin to a floodgate, so it’s no surprise the raw emotion of Too Far Gone chokes me up. A lovelorn rendition of Sweet Emmylou is another highlight, as Britt proves her song’s point – good music can be medicinal.

Chris Pickering opens by performing a duet with Britt on Cool Southern Night. The pair work wonderfully together, especially later on Fisherman’s Daughter. He plays to his crowd – deadpan and slightly selfdeprecating, but ever grateful. From jokes following a spine-tingling Hasta Luego, to calling the beautiful I Just Want To Love a ballad for “you sensitive bunch”, he proves to have none of the ego of the musical heavyweights he is often compared to. The audience livens slightly during the up-beat Fit To Print and calls for an encore, amidst which is a stunning version of Love Hurts, making me concede this whole tour was designed as a comfort hug to the heartbroken. It’s an unfortunately small affair for the final leg of their national Fact Or Fiction tour, but that doesn’t stop them from demonstrating exactly why they deserve a much bigger hurrah.
ANNA ANGEL

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: 'Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale' for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine. Read the original review here.


Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Director: Jalmari Helander.

Starring:
Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila, Peeter Jakobi, Rauno Juvonen, Per Christian Ellefsen

Reviewed by Anna Angel
This novel, sinister Christmas tale began in 2003 as a short by Finnish director Jalmari Helander that quickly gained momentum on the internet. Quirky ideas that capture audiences for a matter of minutes don’t necessarily translate into feature-length films, so it’s interesting to see if Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale can avoid going stale.

This is the antithesis of 1998’s
A Very Brady Christmas and any recent Hollywood offering (though there’s a distinct lack of cheesy Christmas releases this year, which is somewhat disappointing). This is not an uplifting movie, and there are no Christian morals to be shared. Helander’s Santa Claus is decidedly different to Coca-Cola’s version  -  so different that he sniffs out and smacks to death any children in his vicinity, rather than gifting them the latest Mattel creations. 

Feature: 'Travel Writing' for Frock Paper Scissors

Written for Frock Paper Scissors. I do love Bookcrossing! Read the original article here.


I left Jonathan Safran Foer at the Balmoral Cineplex, his orange spine camouflaged against the taxi service phone. The next morning he was gone, and I haven’t heard from him since. The pursuit of Doctor Who brought me to Albion train station in the early hours of the morning, and I almost lost hope when Stephen King wasn’t waiting at a sodden park bench. That was, until a friend unwittingly sat next to Thomas Hardy on the Caboolture line, and introduced him to me.

Feature: 'Eat Your Greens!' for Frock Paper Scissors


An in-depth guide to Brisbane's vegetarian and vegan restaurants written for Frock Paper Scissors. I won't post it in full here, but any Brisbane veggo or possible veggo should take a look!

As a seasoned Brisbane veggo, I have some words of wisdom. We are not welcome at Breakfast Creek or Norman Hotel. While times have changed and vegetarians are catered for at most other venues, it gets a bit boring eating side chips and salad, or the token cream-based veg pasta at every meal out. More choice – a whole menu of options – and quality meat-free and vegan options are tucked away at a number of eateries across our fine city. Some you can take your partner’s conservative parents to, while some will frighten your relations with drum circles and hypnotic chanting. Here’s a handy guide of where to go, when, and with whom.

Read the full article here.

Feature: 'Many hands' for Frock Paper Scissors.

Written for Frock Paper Scissors.


By Anna Angel
They say birds of a feather flock together; this is especially true of Brisbane’s community of independent crafters.
The success of local artistic collectives like BrisStyle has given rise to new avenues for artists and shoppers to connect. The first franchise of Melbourne’s In.cube8r gallery, where independent artists lease small spaces to sell their wares commission-free, officially launched in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in August 2010.
In 2007, Isy Galey opened In.cube8r, which she labels “Coles-Myer on a smaller scale”, after struggling to find economically viable ways to market her glasswork to the public.
“I have always thought – and I’ve been making my whole life – that commission kills handmade,” she says.
Her success and passion has paved the way for the store, run by Vicki Sinclair, on Wickham Street to emerge as a staple among the Valley’s artistic tapestry, where shoppers have overwhelmingly embraced local crafters.
“Nothing compares to a product that’s made by hand, and because the item has been made without pressure, and not under duress in a sweatshop environment, that person is able to put love and thought behind it,” Galey says.

Original article and images here or read after the jump.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fiction: 'Gingerbread' for Eve's Harvest


Eve's Harvest has been published through Odyssey, is available through Amazon, and looks pretty amazing! You can also see a preview, which means reading a few pages of my story for free! Check it out here. The theme is 'One', so my story, and many of the others, centre on the concept of one true love, which, is not entirely original, but given the feminist slant of lip magazine, who published the anthology, you can expect something a bit different to the usual drivel.

Feature: Madman National Cosplay Championships for Rave Magazine

For RAVE Magazine, issue 969. It was a fun day!


On the weekend the RNA showgrounds were invaded by the most colourful collection of characters  has ever seen. ANNA ANGEL reports on the highlights witnessed at the MADMAN NATIONAL COSPLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS.
It ain’t easy being a national cosplay (costume role-play) finalist, and as I found out at the weekend, months of painstaking stitching, hand-dying and collecting animal skeletons are just par for the course. If you call yourself a cosplayer because you once made out with Mary Jane (i.e. your right hand) while wearing a Spider-Man mask, these costuming spectaculars, sets, props and finely rehearsed skits would put you to shame. That is, if the cosplay community weren’t overwhelmingly supportive. For the second year, Madman Entertainment and Supanova presented the country’s biggest festival of anime, manga and video game cosplay, with the Brisbane leg scoring the additional gong of naming Australia’s best cosplayer. The finalists – five state champions and three wildcards – took to the stage after a morning of anime madness and mutual costume appreciation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Updates and inspirations: Frock Paper Scissors launch


The new-look Frock Paper Scissors is finally live, and I couldn't be prouder of the way it's turned out. The contributors were all so talented and amazing to work with, and this project has definitely been worth all the tears, emails and late nights. It will continue to be updated over the coming year, but the frequency is up to circumstance at the moment. I will also be posting some of my own work featured on the site, but I'm generally just ecstatic to see it all come to life, after so many months of planning, deliberating, discussing and editing. Until it the reins are handed over next year, this has been/will be my 'baby'. To use an awkward analogy, the past months have been a bit of a gestation period (and those final hiccups and stresses, the labour?), and I'm exciting to see where else it can grow.

Review: 'Walk' by Israel Cannan for Rave Magazine

Belated review for Rave, published earlier this month.

Israel Cannan - Walk
(Poets Corner)
Soul-searching and country wandering
Track names like Set Me Free, The Revolution Fight and Rise indicate the angry chords of a wayward activist. Whilst Israel Cannan’s first full-length release is at times political, he comes off more as a likeable old soul than a jaded socialist. Walk is the result of Cannan’s penniless cross-country meandering, and the places and people along the way. Because of this, it feels like the indie-rock soundtrack to an over-saturated montage of road-trip escapades and self-discovery – Ben Harper meets a travelling gypsy and makes a movie about it. There’s reflective soundscapes as he’s rolling through the countryside (Letting Go and the standout Set Me Free) and spirited, layered tracks as our protagonist faces the world’s wrongs (The Revolution Fight, One Fine Day). There’s tracks to build the interwoven romantic tensions (The Final Day) and accompaniments to the touching final scenes (Forever This Time). With songwriting talent this strong, that film would be worth the price of admission.

ANNA ANGEL

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Updates and inspirations: QUT Awards

I was excited to receive QUT Journalism awards in the categories of Best Feature by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate student and Best Story on a Mental Health Issue. No monetary value, damn! As reported here.
See below for proof, don't worry I couldn't believe it either.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Claire Bowditch at The Hi-Fi for Tom Magazine

Clare Bowditch and The New Slang/ Glenn Richards/ Little Scout
The Hi-Fi 08/10/2010 


 




















Clare Bowditch brought her ‘Lady Garden’, her Julia Gillard impersonation and an unfortunate case of "throatitis" to her set at West End’s The Hi Fi, touring her fourth release, Modern Day Addiction. Opening acts, local four-piece Little Scout, and Glenn Richards of Augie March, got a raw deal, as the rain seemed to keep most of the punters at bay. By the time The Hi-Fi’s glowing steps started filling, Glenn Richards’ evocative set, pre-empting his solo record release next month, was already winding down. Even the ears attentive to Richards’ considerable vocal work wouldn’t have heard too much over the din of rest of the crowd, concerned with finding a spot to perch or a drink. Following final number, ‘This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers’ the relaxed chatter from the lounging crowd grew until the stage lit up nearly twenty minutes later.

Review: 'Flamingo' by Brandon Flowers for Tom Magazine

I have been busy with Frock Paper Scissors (which is entering an exciting stage at the moment - it's starting to come together!) so haven't done much else recently, bar a few reviews.

BRANDON FLOWERS

Flamingo-Deluxe Edition (Island/ Universal)
Flowers takes a gamble with this Vegas vs. Jesus themed solo record, presenting a somewhat-wilted version of what could have been. On Flamingo, The Killers frontman goes it alone for the first time, telling the story of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spent much of his formative years. More than with any of his work with The Killers, the influence of Flowers strong religious beliefs is also evident. With such different circumstances and style than his previous offerings, the record is more reflective and acoustic, but not as bright, or memorable as it should be.

The temptation and sin of Las Vegas provides a perfect contrast for tales of loss, desolation, and ultimate redemption. It
s then fair to expect the multiple gambling and neon-light references that pepper the ambitious lyrics. Opening track Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, On the Floor, Only the Young, as well as lead single, Crossfire all seem to touch on a limbo-like physical or emotional state, the search for faith or your place in the world. Then there are lovelorn pleas and narratives to add to the metaphor-heavy mix

Unexpected highlights are the close-to-anthemic
Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts, and Magdalena, where beautiful lyrics and a classic Flowers chorus meets gospel, and they are on agreeable terms. The only possible reason to pick up the extended Deluxe Edition, which boasts four extra tracks - mostly country-twanged rock - is for Jacksonville. "The sky was blue and the night was all I wanted/ Let me be your comet, I will fly", Flowers sings on the well-packaged track.

He has the sweeping melodies, and clever, yet ostensi
bly touching lyrics perfected;  theres some great vocal work and guest spots by Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. Theres something about the clean-edged Flamingo, however, that leaves me wanting; it dies down into radio fodder just when you think itll pick up.
(Anna Angel)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Updates and inspirations: Frock Paper Scissors

Being the editor of Frock Paper Scissors online has been full on: hundreds and hundreds of emails, lots of chasing up different people, and liaison with various departments who all have their own agendas, contributors blowing you away with their creative talent, or going AWOL. This is exactly what I had expected, and it's been very rewarding.

I think even as a writer, it makes me appreciate how many hands my work passes through, and how much behind-the-scenes work happens after I've submitted copy. I think if nothing else it's make me consider that all editors have standards, and deadlines to strive for, and are juggling so much in any one day that it's often nothing personal if your work doesn't make the cut. I'll also never again be too afraid to clarify something, to email an editor with questions about the work I'm submitting or what's expected of me, as the worst thing I've found is people who don't ask for help when they need it.

I've also discovered that fashion kids do everything with style, not just clothing.

 Golf clap for my learning curves?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Interview: Joel Edmondson for Rave Magazine

Interview with Joel Edmondson in Issue 959.
















JOEL EDMONDSON chats to ANNA ANGEL about his departure from Brisbane, and the record that’s seeing him return.


Joel Edmondson might have been a pivotal player in the formation of one of Brisbane’s best-loved live venues and labels in Lofly Hangar, but he hung up his Brisbane boots last year in favour of Melbournian loafers. Originally performing with his band under the name of Calvara, Edmondson returns this month to launch his debut full-length record, Invisible Steps. This is not, however, a sign of a permanent homecoming.

“You stay somewhere for as long as it suits you and I do want to embed myself in the scene here,” Edmondson says. “It takes time for people to know who you are.”

He says that while Brisbane will always be home, “once you’ve played Ric’s and The Troubadour so many times, it feels like you can only reach so many people.

Read the article here.

Review: 'Easy A' for Tom Magazine

Whoops! Forgot about this one, was published on Tom Magazine last week.
Easy A

















Director: Will Gluck.
Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Dan Byrd.

Reviewed By Anna Angel.
Fodder for pun-embracing reviewers like myself, Easy A calls for an old-school style of grading. Gluck makes a near-faultless pass at smart modern comedy - self-referential and tinged with an obvious nostalgia for yesteryear, with imperfect and therefore likeable characters - but falls short of flying colours. The film is the strongest release in its genre perhaps all year, however it relies too much on its predecessors, particularly John Hughes’ teen masterpieces, seeming content to pay homage rather than blaze a new trail. Let’s call it a big, red, embroidered A-minus sewn onto Ferris Bueller’s t-shirt, with extra credit for the talented and sassy cast.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: 'The Disappearance of Alice Creed' for Tom Magazine

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Director: J Blakeson.

Starring:
Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, Eddie Marsan.

Reviewed By Anna Angel.
Paranormal Activity taught us you don’t need a blockbuster budget and CGI effects to keep audiences in suspense. The Disappearance of Alice Creed, by J Blakeson, pipes up that you don’t need a spacious or varied set, or more than a few players, either. This British film borrows a formulaic kidnap scenario  -  but how it unfolds from there is worth discussing. Or, it would be, if it wouldn’t ruin the movie for you. All I can say is that when Danny and Vic, your thugs for the evening, go to kidnap and hold Alice Creed, a millionaire’s daughter, for a large ransom, it doesn’t quite go to plan. Vague enough for you? 

Read more at TOM Magazine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: 'Love at First Bite' for Tom Magazine.

For Tom Magazine. This is possible the most tentatively-linked Twilight merch available.












Title: Love at First Bite  -  The Unoffical Twilight Cookbook
By: Gina Myers

Publisher: iUniverse

Reviewed by: Anna Angel
Like oversized boom boxes and most hipster fashion, Love at First Bite: The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook straddles the line between ironic statement and practical use. I can’t speculate whether the Twilight merchandise industry (I think they’ve formed their own union) based on Stephanie Meyer’s saga, is too oversaturated for this cookbook to appeal to its target market. It is, however, quite amusing in a ‘coffee table collection of Lolcat pictures’, kind of way. Author Gina Meyers attempts to take the reader through a culinary exploration of every food ever mentioned in the series, plus some basic recipes renamed to sound vampiric.

A disappointing omission is the food choice of the Cullen family, which would have helped determine that this is indeed meant as a smart satire on the ridiculous list of unofficial Twilight goodies available. After the dismal failure of the new Vampires Suck movie in the US, maybe this is what we’ve all been craving? At the back of the cookbook, a list of cast members for all three Twilight movies and a guide to having your own Twilight party are included. Are they merely fighting for the bucks of Aunt Glenda who knows nothing about her preteen nieces except that they heart Taylor Lautner, thus gifting them the one related thing they won’t already have? What of the large list of cocktails, with names like ‘Bella Loves Edward Punch’, the highly alcoholic, ‘Never Die’, and ‘Charlie Swan Sergeant Drink’?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interview: Josh Pyke for Basement Birds, Rave Magazine

Interview with Josh Pyke for The Basement Birds. Issue 953.


ANNA ANGEL develops a bit of a crush on one fourth of the BASEMENT BIRDS project, singer-songwriter JOSH PYKE, and discovers that getting four established musos together in one place is harder than having them collaborate on a record.


Since the days of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the term ‘supergroup’ has come to mean any number of vaguely accomplished musicians coming together in any fashion to whack out a record. The original sense of the word is making a fighting recovery with the introduction of Basement Birds, a harmonious union of four renowned Australian artists. The group comprises Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans, Jebediah) up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Steve Parkin, Eskimo Joe’s frontman, Kavyen Temperley and singer-songwriter, Josh Pyke. While not the most obvious mix of sounds and personalities, Pyke assures it was a “pretty organic meeting of minds, on the creativity side of things”.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Updates and inspirations: Frock Paper Scissors Magazine - Online Editor 2010

I am very excited to be announced as Frock Paper Scissors Online Editor for this year. Working with a team of eds, we will be in charge of the web component of the magazine. Keep tabs of our progress here. It's going to be an amazing experience.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: Splendour in the Grass 2010 for Tom Magazine


Did a festival wrap up for Tom Magazine, the amazing folk who sent me to Splendour this year, and to stop the problem that I had last year, where the mammoth review took up the whole page, I'll just use a link this time. It was a three and a half day event, mind you. Read of the adventures here.

Splendour In The Grass 2010

Woodford 29.7.10 to 1.8.10

This year’s Splendour In The Grass festival, which marks the tenth anniversary for the revered music and arts event, has been discussed for months. The excitement has been tangible since the line up was announced, and it was revealed the event, temporarily moved to Woodfordia in Queensland, would now be over three days. This year everything seemed oversized - more acts, more venues, a larger labyrinth of an event site and thousands more tickets (from around 18,000 to 30,000). Long time attendees were complaining it wouldn’t be the same with such a large crowd, and with such commercial elements as a tent city dedicated to shopping and a day spa. They were right, after all, but with a line up like that, nobody would opt out just to avoid the raving, singleted, beer-stacking festival tools. When all was said and done, the memories you left with in the stagnant rows of cars early on Monday morning would be worth putting up with a lot worse. There were more standout acts than can be listed, but headliners included Ben Harper and Relentless 7, The Temper Trap, Grizzly Bear, Scissor Sisters (pictured), The Strokes, Band of Horses, Midnight Juggernauts, Empire of the Sun, Mumford and Sons, and Pixies.


The imminent crowd control issues became obvious in the wee hours of Thursday, as the punters struggled to secure a camping spot, and those already set up camp tried in vain to rest up for the days ahead. By Friday night, the site was buckling under the pressure of a mind-boggling number of sweaty bodies. Navigating the crowds turned out to be the only downside of the extended weekend, aside from doing a mad dash in the middle of a set, elbowing your way through to see another ‘must see’ act scheduled at the same time. Anyone who got tired of being a human sardine had numerous tents to chill in, though, from the Chai Lounge, to foam parties and workshops, to the returning Tipi Forest and Guzman Y Gomez tent. The best way to get your money’s worth though, was to get in amongst the throng, and carry your mid-strength drink of choice gingerly.

Updates and inspirations: Faster Louder

Recently went on board as a Faster Louder contributor, as it looked like fun! Here's my first contibution.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Review: 'Wooly Jumpers Vol 1' for Rave Magazine

WOOLY JUMPERS EP VOL 1
(Wool)

A bundle of sweet, unrelated musical tangents

French independent label Wool Recordings showcase a selection of unreleased material from their favourite artists to delight and entice us. Racial profiling is wrong I know, but damn the French have good taste. On side A Stereolab’s singer, Laetita Sadier, hints at what’s inside her upcoming solo record with Statues, a minimalist track full of dramatic pitch changes and heavy silences. Castanets’ Little Pretty Eyes provides a highlight; a touching track sounding like a rougher, more tremulous Mumford & Sons, with obsessively loving lyrics teetering on the right side of creepiness. On side B, Peter Broderick gives us a haunting narrative, the simply powerful Man On The Bridge, full of eerily altered vocals and harmonies. Finally, Wool’s own outfit, Double-U, bring sparse lo-fi synth-pop to the table. This collection provides a dreamy, more-ish experience.

ANNA ANGEL

Original article can be viewed here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Updates and inspirations: Frock Paper Scissors

QUT is affording me another 'real world' experience (oh dear) as I am now a part of the Frock Paper Scissors 2010 project. I'm not sure what place I'll have within the team yet, but this is quite an amazing magazine, and a pretty exciting opportunity to get my hands dirty. More as it all comes together.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: 'Night Work' by Scissor Sisters for Tom Magazine

 For TOM Magazine.
Night Work (Universal)

 
















 Scissor Sisters danced onto the scene in 2004 and won the world over (aside from the US, their home country) with their unashamedly camp disco-pop sensibilities, and overt sexuality. Their third release has a lot to live up to, and it delivers, leaving a big, pink lipstick kiss on the ass cheek of those who didn’t think they could make something even catchier. The cover art says everything you need to know to decide if this is the album for you  -  and trust me, it is. Sex? Check. Obligatory retro vibe? Check. Camp and over the top? Check. Night Work is a little bit glam rock, a little bit modern electronic, but very much Scissor Sisters.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Feature: 'Ink Nation(alism)' for Voiceworks

Voiceworks Issue 81 - Birthmark has just come out, with a column by me commenting on Australian identity through tattooing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review: Eclipse for Tom Magazine

The Twilight Saga: EclipseDirector: David Slade.
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner.
Reviewed by Anna Angel.















I am in two minds about the third film instalment of the widely criticised, and secretly (often fanatically) cherished world of the Twilight Saga. It is the best adaption of the franchise, surpassing the dead-in-the-water New Moon by far, but the film’s premise is ridiculous, often unbelievable and stunted. It is not the film’s or the actor’s fault that Stephanie Meyer did a job on her characters in the latter parts of her saga, pushing the believability of their choices to the limit and providing little in the way of action. Eclipse is saved by increasingly winning characterisation, shirtlessness that makes grown women squeal in embarrassing pitches, and gooey moments that don’t feel as forced as in the first film.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Interview: Amy Meredith for TOM Magazine















Amy Meredith experienced virtually a whole career in a matter of months, all years before finishing their soon-to-be-released debut album. Beginning with six months writing and rehearsing a handful of sure-fire catchy tracks, and a first gig in Sydney, playing to a few record executives by sheer chance, Amy Meredith could only go upwards. "It really started snowballing after our second gig," the band’s front man Christian Lo Russo tells TOM Magazine, "every record company in the country was at our second show".

They were flown to LA the next day, to showcase for record executives, signed to a progressive label, and were set to be the Next Big Thing. "We all had mediocre jobs that we hated, and here we were in 5 star hotels with room service in LA," Lo Russo says. "That label fell apart and it wasn’t able to go on. We went back to going, ‘what do we need to do now?’"

They then released an EP on Warner, but were dropped from the label, so they rolled up their sleeves to develop no less than sixty songs that would form the pool for their upcoming record. The debut full-length album from these Sydneysiders, Restless, is the result of what Lo Russo calls their ‘two mis-starts’, and built progressively, in the over three years they’ve been together, from the realisation that "in this climate, the whole rock star thing isn’t possible".

Review: 'Eurovision 2010 Soundtrack' for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine. I loved Eurovision this year! So camp and wonderful.

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2010
Various Artists (EMI)















This really needs to be a DVD, to capture the spirit, and the hilariously over-the-top vibe of Eurovision. Let’s assume we’re making do with the songs themselves, (this is supposed to be a song competition, after all), no matter how much funnier the whole thing is with a wind machine and lighting. Eurovision has created some greats in the past - it even gave the world ABBA. This year didn’t provide anything promising to be quite as big, but gosh, 19-year-old German winner, Lena is adorable. ‘Satellite’ was by far the most appealing song on offer from this year’s competition, and the most modern. What probably made it stand out from most of the competitors is that it doesn’t sound like a throwaway pop track from 1996 we’d all forgotten about. The beauty of Eurovision is that even the worst tracks - like ‘Butterflies’ by 3+2 from Belarus ("Just emaggeeeeeeeeein"), are at least worthy of a sing-a-long with a deliberately bad accent and a fake moustache. That is, except the wooden spoon of this year - the UK’s dismally bland ‘That Sounds Good to Me’ by Josh Dubovie.
This is definitely not an album to play all the way through, but there will be a few great tracks for everyone, depending on your style. My favourites were not in genres or languages I would normally listen to, but there’s a surprising element to competitions like this - don’t pass them all off as camp novelties. For example, on the softer side of Eurovision, inject a little Spanish into your iTunes, with ‘Algo Pequenito (Something Tiny)’, or try the acoustic pop ‘Me and My Guitar’ by Tom Dice. The standout of the pop/dance tracks are Iceland’s ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, an synth-tinged pop track that is begging to be remixed, and Greece’s ‘Opa’, an unashamedly simple pop call-and-response party tune with a chorus of "Opa!" That’s what it’s all about.
(Anna Angel)

Original post here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: 'With Emperor Antarctica' by Boy and Bear for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine.
With Emperor Antarctica (Universal)
There’s a lot of anticipation surrounding this hard-touring Sydney band’s debut EP. The hype is sure to build following its release; especially since they scored a spot at this year’s Splendour in the Grass. Boy & Bear is the amalgamation of three front men, who first performed under the name of probably their most well known member, lead vocalist Dave Hosking, and two other members. There are a number of bands around doing a similar thing musically right now - think Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and that whole bandwagon. But once you hear Boy & Bear, if you haven’t yet caught their first single, ‘Mexican Mavis’ on the air, you’ll know why they’re deserve a place, too.

They combine influences to create ‘70s-inspired indie rock that is at once distinctly Australian, sincere and fresh. The five-track collection feels tight and stylistically united, but not to the point of repetition. You can almost hear the different songwriters coming in to play, so it’s not the same indie structure - catchy but quiet intro, building into sweeping guitars and soaring vocals - time and time again. Opening track ‘Blood to Gold’, and the anti-establishment second single, ‘Rabbit Song’ are the most immediately likeable songs when taken separately, but the whole collection combines the harmonies of talented vocalists, and clever song writing in a way that will make you pine for a full record.
(Anna Angel)

Full article here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: 'The Road' for Tom Magazine

For Tom Magazine

THE ROAD (Dimension)

















Anyone who has read Cormac McCarthy’s bleak masterpiece will know what to expect from the film. This is a faithful adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize winning novel that is every bit as heart-wrenching. The language powerfully conveyed an overriding desolation, and was converted expertly into a grey and sparse visual landscape. This is a vivid picture of the world’s future without rose coloured glasses; a nuclear winter has set in, and humanity is pushed to its limit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Ben Harper and Relentless 7 for Rave Magazine

 Issue 938 
BEN HARPER AND RELENTLESS 7
Live From The Montreal International Jazz Festival
(Virgin/EMI)




















Live set that one-ups the studio recording Fans of Ben Harper and co. will procure this CD/DVD without asking any questions. Those who are indiff erent will probably remain so; such is the nature of live records. A bit like buying Black & Gold chocolate-coated wafer biscuits when you want Tim Tams, those who settle for the studio version are selling these tracks short. Harper’s voice has an honest character that can only be captured live and all the intricate details add to the overall appeal. Rock music is at its best when left unharnessed, and this set reveals a charming, raw stage presence on the video included. Harper’s take on David Bowie’s Under Pressure is understated, stylistically recognisable only because of the telltale opening sequence. Hendrix’s Red Door however, may as well have been written for Harper. He hits every quivering note with the same force brought to his own tracks Lay There & Hate Me and Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart). The milder moments of White Lies For Dark Times are suitably chill here, but the standout, rather than the expected, Shimmer and Shine, is a sweet, trembling rendition of Faithfully Remain.

ANNA ANGEL
Digital edition here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

News: 'Queensland property bargains off beaten track' for The Courier Mail

 Monday 26th 
Queensland property bargains off the beaten track













AUSSIE families are now paying off mortgages of more than $350,000 on average, but you can own your own piece of Queensland for a fraction of that.
In corners of the state mostly forgotten by the major cities, family homes are going for as little as $40,000.

If you want to snare your own real estate bargain, be prepared for a long commute, and a little wear and tear.
Etc.

Online version here. Featured on Pg 14 of print edition, and front feature on the site.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News: 'Galactic basketball bound for Oz' for The Courier-Mail

For the Courier online.



















Tiny Japanese spacecraft scheduled to land in Australia  

Anna Angel

A JAPANESE spacecraft the size of a basketball carrying material from an asteroid is set to touch down in Woomera in June.

The Hayabusa spacecraft, which weighs only 17 kilograms, will be the first craft to bring asteroid materials back to Earth.

Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner said Australian authorities will assist the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency in ensuring a safe return for Hayabusa.

The Australian innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said this was a great example of Australia's ongoing contribution to international space programs.

"Australia is proud to support Japan in this world-first expedition," Senator Carr said.
The craft, which first made contact with the asteroid Itokawa in 2005, will land in Australian defence land, at the Woomera Prohibited Area in Southern Australia.


Dr Michael Green of the department of innovation said the capsule is protected by heat-sensors that activate as it nears Earth, and a parachute will be deployed before its landing.

"People looking at the night sky at the right time will be able to see a shooting star like object," Dr Green said.   
Original story here.

News: 'Rent levels too high for single parents, students' for The Courier-Mail Online

 For the Courier online.

Rent levels too high for single parents, students in southeast Queensland - study  

Anna Angel

THERE are no affordable rentals in Brisbane and surrounding council areas for single parents and students on benefits, according to a new study.

The Anglican Community Services Commission surveyed all properties listed over the weekend of April 11 and 12 and found only 3 per cent would be viable for those living off benefits.

Some household specifications turned up no results, with no properties found to be affordable for singles on Austudy and Youth Allowance or single parent benefits.

Almost 80 per cent of the properties deemed affordable for other benefit receivers - that is, lower than 30 per cent of the renter’s total income - were in shared accommodation.

ACSC executive director Don Luke said that the hunt for reasonable shared accommodation was harder for some low-income earners than others.


“Share house ads, understandably, often specify the characteristics the advertisers would prefer in their new housemate,” Mr Luke said.

“Usually they are looking for a younger person with a job rather than a single age pensioner or disability support pensioner, yet often rents in share houses are the only ones low enough to be affordable on a single benefit."

The ACSC “snapshot” research, which included online and print rental listings, suggests Queensland housing has become some of the most expensive in the world.

Researcher Dr Joanne Copp said further research was being done on the issue, but that the findings so far had brought up some important questions.

“For me, it’s an issue of seeing what is out there for shared accommodation, and what the quality actually is, and the appropriateness,” she said.

“It may be that we need to look at the level of benefits they are receiving and, even if nothing can be done in the short term, it’s a matter of just knowing how much of their income is actually going on rent, and thinking about how to improve the situation in the medium-to-long term.”

Original story here.

News: 'Show Anzac spirit and donate blood' for The Courier-Mail

 Currently interning at The Courier Mail.

Show Anzac spirit and donate blood  
By Anna Angel
Diggers donate
DIGGERS DONATE: Ken Cross and son Nick have blood taken for the Red Cross. Source: Supplied
 
MUCH is made of the Anzac spirit in this country and the Red Cross is calling for every Australian to show a little of that famous generosity and self sacrifice.
The number of Australian soldiers that died in the Gallipoli campaign, some 26,000, is slightly lower than the number of blood donors needed in Australia each week.
The national blood service, which says only one in every 30 Australians will donate blood, is using the holiday to try to change that statistic.
''Anzac Day is a time for reflection, but we ask that Australians also adopt a bit of the Anzac spirit, do something selfless, and become a blood or plasma donor,'' Belinda Haynes of the Blood Service said.
Ms Haynes said the push for donations in the lead up to Anzac Day was especially crucial because collection centres would be closed over the national holiday but they still need to meet the same targets.

Original story can be found, here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interview: Ann Vriend for Rave Magazine

Issue 936 


ANNA ANGEL discovers that hard-touring Canadian songstress ANN VRIEND has a few confessions to make after five years on the road.











Everyone wants to come back from Australia with proof they saw a kangaroo and cuddled a koala “bear”. Filling out those crucial tourist criteria in between her many shows, Vancouver-born Ann Vriend chats from a Victorian wildlife sanctuary, so captivated by the kangaroos she originally forgot to turn her phone on.
Vriend later admits she’s already gotten a lot closer to Skippy on a previous Australian tour, hitting a kangaroo on the way to the Port Fairy Folk Festival. “We were going really slowly, and I don’t think I killed it because we couldn’t find it on the road”, Vriend says. She is no stranger to rural Australia, and after five years spent touring internationally, she’s got some killer stories under her belt. The one involving the kangaroo incident ends with Vriend breaking into a stranger’s beach shack, and spending the night there with a comedian she’d met the day before. Following a map drawn on a series of napkins to a fellow musician’s place where they planned to camp out, Vriend lost the final napkin, relying on a sketch of the outside of the shack to try to find it. “We thought we couldn’t find the key because it was really dark, so we broke in ... a year later we figured out whose place it was, and it was actually a neighbour,” Vriend says.

Read online here, pg 12.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Feature: 'iPledge' for Voiceworks


I wrote a column for Voiceworks Magazine's 80th issue, which was themed 'Missionary' on purity balls and pledges, their intense marketing and the cohersive techniques used to gain new pledges. Check out the issue here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review: Xavier Rudd for Rave Magazine

Issue 935 
XAVIER RUDD – Koonyum Sun

(Salt/Universal)
Folksy earth-child amps up the beat



















Xavier Rudd’s parents couldn’t have been able to bear seeing his reaction to the death of a childhood pet. Every goldfi sh and kelpie would have gone ‘to the farm’. If I met Rudd, I don’t think I’d have the heart to give him bad news, either. Despite a noticeable thickening of his musical crust, with a newfound force, and a playful fl itter with darkness, he still exhibits of a joyous, gentle spirit that is nothing if not contagious. His collaboration with drum maestros Izintaba gives Koonyum Sun a more vital, upbeat energy than some of his previous, calmer releases – frenetic or hypnotic beats pierce almost every track. Recorded in Byron Bay, this is a sincere collection of personal stories and calls to action, weaved together with moving vocal harmonies, and sanguine images of our earth. While I must have looked like a pyjama-clad pelican fl apping madly on my living room floor, I couldn’t help but sway my arms and head to the hooks of tracks like Moving On and Set Me Free. In my defence, during these peppier moments, Rudd is like a folked-up Men At Work, which is nowhere near as bad as it sounds. Other tracks are quietly ethereal, with chants and harmonies as backdrops, playing off Rudd’s eclectic vocal range. A great example of this is The ReasonsWe Are Blessed, a short allusion to a love story that will break your heart, or your money back, guaranteed. More incentives to have a listen include the unhurried emotion of Bleed, and the graceful imagery contained within Fresh Green Freedom.

ANNA ANGEL

Review: 'She's Out of My League' for TOM Magazine

She’s Out Of My League

















Directed by: Jim Field Smith.
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, T.J. Miller.
Reviewed by Anna Angel.


The title tells you everything you need to decide whether this movie is for you. The little guy, Kirk (Baruchel), wants the big fish, the stunning Molly (Eve), but doesn’t have faith that he can reel it in, so stands to ruin his own chances. With a little support, can he realise he has enough to catch the girl? (Loreal, because he’s worth it.) Beware this is not just a heart-warming bundle of laughs to lift your sprits when you realise that you’re almost thirty, still work at Dominos and that acne isn’t clearing up. With moments of admittedly well-done crass humour, and solid characterisation, this film is slightly confused, trying to play to the American Pie audience and their girlfriends, but ultimately funny.

Etc, here.

Review: 'Blurry' by Kate Gogarty for Rave Magazine

Issue 934
KATE GOGARTY – Blurry

(Independent)
Acoustic pop from simpler times



Apparently there was a time when singer-songwriters were celebrated for their great voices, for the natural talent they’d harnessed and slaved over. That may well be the case today, but with all the remastering of pop tracks, these voices are wiped-down with stain remover and voided of charm. Gogarty’s fi rst off ering, a six-track EP, demonstrates a skilled vocal range and a rare voice that is beautiful for its breaks and imperfections. Gogarty powers through each track with equal force – a mixture of Sarah McLachlan and a hardened folk artist. With lyrics telling of love and heartache in a universal way, tracks such as I Will Be Waiting will appeal widely, but don’t show much contrast in style or even topic. If you close your eyes and let them meld into one extended piece, it’s enough to transport you somewhere that’s better than here, to make you feel even if you don’t know quite what it is you’re feeling.
ANNA ANGEL
 
Available here, pg

Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: 'A Million Different Truths' by Hussy Hicks for Rave Magazine

Issue 933 
HUSSY HICKS – A Million Different Truths
(Independent)
Two hussies, one guitar













There’s no room for religious politics in the street press so we won’t cry divine intervention, but I’ll just say it’s a happy coincidence when different pieces of a musical outfit align in one place this well. This folk/acoustic debut is one such coming-together of influences. With the vocals and lyrics of Leesa Gentz and the guitar work of Julz Parker there’s a strange diversity in the sound thanks to the nature of equal collaboration – most tracks either flourish vocally or instrumentally. There are definite moments of musical and lyric gorgeousness, occasionally at the same time. It’s a lot Missy Higgins, a smattering of Tegan & Sara and a wee bit knee-slapping country. Highlights are the understated, vocal-focussed This Time and the oldschool country charm of You Are. The meld of drawn-out, chirpy guitar twang and playful, overly metaphoric lyrics could be too sanguine to handle, except that it’s balanced by downright cynical and sweetly emotive moments.

ANNA ANGEL

View online here, or in the digital edition here, pg 26.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Updates and inspirations: Post 88

Now blogging for Post 88, a music source for Gen Y, as part of a project run by Everett True. Very interesting, indeed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Column: 'Posting on eggshells' for lip Magazine

Blog for lip mag online.

The internet comes with more warning signs and stickers reading ‘vicious dog on premises!’ than a property with several vicious dogs on the premises. We need firewalls, fraud protection, and  - seemingly - fake identities. Nowadays a large portion of news stories are accompanied by photos pulled from Facebook profiles (they’re technically public property), and bosses are monitoring our behaviour online. How free are we to truly socialise on these networks? A UK reporter was recently told to delete her Twitter account for posting risque sports commentary, and stories of employees being outed for pulling sickies thanks to their online activity are constantly emerging. I know many employers who scope out potential employees’ profiles for incriminating evidence – like drunken pics and expletive-laden posts. It’s obvious that whatever we wouldn’t want everyone we know – and those we don’t – finding out shouldn’t go into the vast Google-tube. But doesn’t self-censoring our innocent jokes with friends, the pictures we allow ourselves to be tagged in, or that we share, defeat the whole purpose of what is supposed to be a free avenue to connect with loved ones?

More here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Interview: Chris Smither for Rave Magazine

Interview with Chris Smither for Rave Magazine issue 931.








Photo and online story: here.

ANNA ANGEL ponders the future with folk/blues veteran CHRIS SMITHER.
After over forty years of hauling his guitar all over the world, this all-American bluesman shows no signs of relenting. “Most people retire at around my age, and I’ve thought about it but it doesn’t really appeal to me, and I haven’t had anyone tell me I have to, yet,” 65-year-old Smither says.

He is taking five weeks away from his family – which now includes a five-year-old daughter – to tour Australia, playing a string of folk festivals and local solo gigs this month. Smither has said he wrote Time Stands Still, released late last year, so he’d have a fresh excuse to perform. “I consider myself a performer first, but if you want to do shows you need to have something new to sing,” he deadpans in a noticeable southern accent that is much too concise to be considered a drawl. These new tunes aren’t a mind-blowing deviation from Smither’s time-tested grizzly folk sound, with his classic man-and-a-guitar approach intact. “They’ll be recognisable shows to everyone who’s seen me before. Many of them won’t have heard the new record, but it’ll pretty much be a Chris Smither show.”

Etc. Digital edition here, page 19.





Column: 'Outside the box' for lip Magazine

Blogging for lip mag.
Photo: here.

Outside the Box
by Anna Angel

We’re a notoriously lazy bunch. For most Australians, entertainment comes from that box in the lounge room, or that other box in the study, bedroom, or wherever your computer is located. It is playing Xbox, or watching DVDs. None of these activities require company, and for the most part, they don’t require much thought or effort. But are we getting so lazy we’re missing out on things we’re bound to enjoy just because we can’t make the effort to attend?

I’m a massive advocate of Australian theatre,and live arts events. It might feel good to watch So You Think You Can Dance, and it’s great to see performance headlining our TV programmes, but nothing beats the real thing. Etc.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview: Tex Perkins for Rave Magazine

Did an interview piece with The Cruel Sea and an album review for the latest issue of Rave, issue 930 . Interview was interesting and frustrating.


CRUEL INTENTIONS

Amongst a small crowd of afternoon drunks, TEX
PERKINS
assures ANNA ANGEL that THE CRUEL SEA hasn't tempered yet.

Tex Perkins has one of those charismatic voices that
defi es genre and logic, and even carries over the 1pm
din of a local pub – almost. Using his gruff , distinctly Australian
timbre, the one-man powerhouse has fronted a
number of successful outfi ts, including Beasts Of Bourbon
and The Cruel Sea.

While The Cruel Sea was born in late ‘80s Sydney as an
instrumental-only group, the unlikely addition of Perkin’s
rock swagger was an ARIA-winning, hit-producing fusion.
Ever since he fi rst put words to their music, other projects
have intersected The Cruel Sea’s releases – but they’re
borderline commitment-phobic nowadays. There ain’t
no ring on this fi nger, at least, and they’re content with
nothing resembling “a proper career”. After a fi ve year hiatus
in 2003, which Perkin’s attributes to “playing so much
we took the joy out of it”, they now only perform around
three gigs a year. Perkins, who is currently touring with The
Man In Black – The Johnny Cash Story, is taking a break in
March for a Gold Coast gigs with his Cruel Sea bandmates,
Jim Elliot, Dan Rumour, and Ken Gormley.
Impatient fans may have hoped these shows were
a signal to an upcoming release, an idea that Perkins
quickly dismisses. He blames their reluctance to write
new material on the tedium of releasing, promoting, and
touring that follows the initial creative burst, sounding
exhausted at even explaining the process. It may be a
while before the boys start honing another record, with
an elusive, if not quite reassuring promise from Perkins
that they will “eventually write some songs, and probably
record them”.


With a future that vague, what can The Cruel Sea’s
many wives and mistresses hold on to but memories of
the days of young, passionate love? “You’ll hear some
obscure tracks from our back catalogue – it’ll basically
be the songs we enjoy playing. I think that will correspond
with the songs that people expect us to play.”
Perkins says the tracks now come so naturally to them,
a quickie catch-up rehearsal is all they’ll need. “The
Cruel Sea is hard wired into our DNA; I think we’ve all
done it in our sleep.”


Perkins is a hard man to pin down to one project or
musical style, and he’s moving on to more unfamiliar
territory after his stint as Cash. “For me, it’s a whole new
landscape out there, now I don’t have a record company;
I’m free of the shackles of Universal,” he says. “It’s a matter
of deciding what kind of record, and what kind of band
I’m creating. I just keep writing until I’ve got a big pile of
songs, and I’ll throw a match on it, and whatever burns,
I’ll record.”


With all the spontaneity and abandon of a true rock
legend, Perkins leaves me with that sentiment, resigned
to the fact that a pub, with what sounds like a growing
number of banshees in the background, is not an ideal
place to hold an interview. They sure know how to leave
you wanting more.


Digital edition here, page 12.




WHYTE ZEBRA – Double Or Nothing
(Independent)
Music for fly-swatting back-porch days

Before you get all angsty that Whyte Zebra got
the arts grant to make a CD/DVD single release that
your ‘indie-trip-bop-banana-core’ band deserved,
have a listen. Every member of this Central Queensland
pub staple fits together easily to bring a brand
of alternative rock that’s less ‘painfully hip’ and more
‘established, successful band that knows exactly
where they’re at musically’. The lead track, Double
Or Nothing is a sweeping, melodic number that benefits
from the outstanding vocals of Andy Stanhope.
The clip for the track is simple but effective, proving
that this outfit is a low-key, natural occurrence
against the backdrop of a country town. It also features
a cute dog. The bonus tracks, instead of being
fillers, seem to outshine the main event. Gorgeous
instrumental piece, Closer To Getting Close, demonstrates
the skill of Bec Romeo on violin, and Knock
Knock stands out as a memorable, drum-heavy track
reminiscent of Alice In Chains.

ANNA ANGEL

Digital edition here, page 28.


Review: 'Dear John' for Tom Magazine


For Tom Magazine. Sigh, made me cry like a baby.

Dear John
****
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Channing Tatum, Richard Jenkins
Reviewed by Anna Angel.

This Nicholas Sparks adaptation begins like The Notebook 2: Modern Era. Maybe I just noticed the connections more because The Notebook happens to be by the same author. Either way, it eventually separates itself as an equally tear-jerking and original story on its own. While on a summer break, the young, beautiful, and sweet Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) meets John (Channing Tatum), a soldier on leave, visiting his father. They begin a whirlwind romance, and fall spectacularly in love, spinning some corny lines that are delivered so expertly they feel natural. After only two weeks, they are condemned to a year apart, as John goes back to his mission. It may sound all-too familiar, but the main difference here is that the letters they send each other don’t go unanswered.

Updates and inspirations: getmusic.com.au

It's hardly worth noting, but attempted my first foray into PR-type writing, reviewing for getmusic.com.au, which is run by universal. Once I figured out the 'reviews' were supposed to be posing as buyer comments, I decided not to expend too much effort doing their advertising. And now I just have... anyway, it can be found here. And I got MOS - Underground 2010 for free, at least.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: 'Our Own War' by Project 62 for Rave Magazine

Didn't even realise until just now this had gone to print already, but here's a review of Project 62's record, 'Our Own War' for Rave Magazine issue 929, which you can view online here, page 24. I was recently taken on as a freelance contributor with them, and have a few things coming up in the next issues as well. Watch this space!


PROJECT 62 – Our Own War
(Independent)


Grizzly rockers come together to gather an army

Our Own War, the first release for Toowoomba based
eclectic rock quintet Project 62, follows a burgeoning
reputation as a solid live act. It’s a record
of playful contradictions: deep vocals over bluestinged
tracks; the sweeter, melodic ballad Without;
and angrier, heavier rock tracks with political agendas
like God’s Gift. The record is driven lyrically by
a staunch, nearly religious rejection of passivity,
both personal and political. Project 62 presents
a raucous, self-aware but likeable meld of rock influences,
lined with the earnest ethos of old-soul
punk-rockers. Our Own War comes complete with
a handy appreciation guide for listeners: “1. Play it
loud. 2. Read the lyrics while you listen. 3. When the
album seems over, keep listening – you might be in
for a surprise!” Ideal listening would be live from a
dank, darkened country bar, but if that’s not possible,
try suggestion 5: “For best results, serve with
whiskey and/or beer.”
ANNA ANGEL

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: 'Valentine's Day' for Tom Magazine

A generous review of Valentine's Day, taking into account the general standard of American RomComs, for Tom Magazine. I hear they're already planning a sequel, 'New Year's Eve'. Ouch.

VALENTINE’S DAY

Director: Gary Marshall
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Jessica Biel, Jaime Foxx, Topher Grace, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Alba, Patrick Dempsey, Taylor Lautner, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift, and more.
Reviewed by: Anna Angel

One morning, King of the RomCom, Gary Marshall said to himself, "How many celebrities can I fit into one movie and still attempt to build a heart wrenching story arc for each?" The answer was around nineteen, plus cameos. This film - essentially a ‘day in the life of’ interweaving narrative, set in LA on the big day itself - borrows a lot from the success of Love, Actually. While it features seemingly unrelated characters, throwing them together in unexpected ways, Valentine’s Day is more on the romance side than the comedy. Since they’re naturally going to be compared, I’m going to set it straight right now - Love, Actually wins hands down. This movie is cute, funny and clever at times, but nowhere near as frequently as its predecessor is.

Etc.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Column: 'Pop-stars are not just pretty faces' for lip Magazine

I've recently started up as a blogger for lip Magazine, my first entry can be found here.


pop-stars are not just pretty faces
by Anna Angel


Only a few years ago the words “female pop star” would conjure up images of scantily-clad, pouting sex kittens with a vocabulary limited to ‘ooh’, ‘baby’, and the occasional ‘oh, baby’. True to the ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ classic deadpan, “I want you, I need you, oh, baby, oh, baby,” many of the artists on the airwaves were no more than synthesised hotties. Right now, more than ever, the music industry is making way for scantily clad and pouting female pop singers with a brain and personality behind them. Whether you like their music or not, and it’s evidenced that many do, the likes of Beth Ditto, and Lily Allen are leading a brigade of songstresses that have powerful voices and something to say with them.

Etc.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Sunset Sounds 2010 for Tom Magazine

For Tom Magazine. Written by myself and Stephen Smith.


Sunset Sounds Festival
City Botanic Gardens - 6th & 7th January 2010


Sunset Sounds, held in the lush surrounds of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, may be a baby on the festival circuit, but it’s already come of age. The second year of Sunset saw a stellar line-up, both local and international, comprising most of the main acts to hit this year’s Falls Festival in Victoria. With the atmosphere the festival grounds provided and the eclectic mix of artists, Sunset Sounds was a relaxed summer’s day, a chance to be awestruck by tear-inducing performances, and a sweaty two-day party all at once. Given half the patrons’ lingering New Year’s Eve hangovers, it was whatever you wanted it to be. The line-up boasted acts such as Moby (pictured), Sarah Blasko, The Temper Trap, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hilltop Hoods, Xavier Rudd and The Middle East. Even when spaced out over two days there was enough to test any music lover’s ability to decide who to see next.

Etc.