Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Ben Harper and Relentless 7 for Rave Magazine

 Issue 938 
Live From The Montreal International Jazz Festival

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.

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.

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

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.


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

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.
Available here, pg