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.

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.