Monday, August 31, 2015

twelvefour || The Paper Kites Review

It really is a talent to grow. There is something extra special about people who recognise the time and place for re-emerging, not completely changed but...more. And The Paper Kites have seized that scope of cocoon-to-butterfly and re-tuned it into songs. More specifically, the album twelvefour.

It was wild to write until you are so tired that nothing sounded too over-worked – songs didn't feel restricted by a commonly analytical brain. This record is the sound of five people trying to make something they're proud of... And we really are.”

The album opens with a quiet bang of sorts. It's not an explosion, but a coloured firework of musical goodness. Electric Indigo was the ideal choice for the opening gig; just different enough but keeping true to The Paper Kites signature. Truly a tune to sink your teeth into, I could write another three posts on this track alone. I don't like to play favourites but this was so good that I nearly wanted to just listen to that track. Over and over and over again.

twelvefour doesn't have a wind-down; there is no slow drag to the finish line here. The concluding track, Too Late, should never be thought of as being in last place; instead a tune just as strong that's earned its place as the encore track. And trust me, if you were at a concert, you'd cheer for this one to played.

I started panicking about halfway through, when I realised that the album wasn't going to last forever. This was an album that made my life happier. People talk about music a lot as this mood-changing thing, and twelvefour is a prime example of that. If you need a break for a little while, this is the LP I'd recommend. It's what I'll be telling my friends about and it's what you should share with yours, too.

Much like a good book, this is the sort of world you'd be happy to get lost in. And I almost didn't come back.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I Tried Really Hard To Think Of A Pun || Red Beard

One thing great thing about Australia is the amount of new bands breaking into the music scene; no matter what genre there is rarely a shortage of something fresh to blast. Red Beard doesn't fit in to one genre, but it definitely fits in to this category.

Hailing from Gympie, these indie/electro/heavy rock checked all the boxes for amazing music and then kept writing outside the lines. A force to be reckoned with and absolutely one to watch; meet Red Beard.

So I've got to ask about the band name. How many did you go through before you settled with Red Beard?
In actual fact, the name was the first thing to come and was decided on even before we had written a single son.

Hells Gate is a seriously cool track, what was it like writing and recording this one?
Thank you. It's funny how the songs you're most proud of usually take the least amount of time or effort. Hells Gate for example came together really fast, once the idea was loosely there we didn't waste any time in getting into the studio to track it out.

What's the song's story? Why was Hells Gate written?
I wrote the song in Brisbane when I was staying there for some time with friends. Being from a small town I couldn't help but notice how detached we are from one another, it seems as though the more people you have in one place the more alone they will all feel.

From the video clip synth playing looks like quite a workout! Should fans expect similar at a live show?
Haha YES! For sure, Reece is switched onto full octane always!

What's like performing in a music clip compared to performing the song in a live show?
I guess it's kinda the same, [the] biggest difference is live you play the song once; in a video shoot it's closer to 1000 times.

How much input did you guys have into the video?
Well [collectively] we as a band pitched the idea to Red Boss, and honestly what they delivered [from that] was far beyond our expectations.

Were you happy with the result? Would you change anything about it?
Very happy with the result, I really don't think I'd change anything; I can't wait to work with the guys again in the future for many more clips!

What's next for Red Beard? What should we expect in the future?
We are planning to be on the road as much as possible; [we're] trying to get to every square inch of this great southern land! We are touring with The Getaway Plan next month, so jump on the socials to check out the dates!

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Like No Other Band" || At Fates.

Metal is one of those genres you either love or hate. My dad is Hate all over, I definitely lean more on the love side. And At Fates. has a lot to love. The perfect balance of clean and scream vocals is at the forefront, but it's the instrumentation that really steals the show. Heavy guitar riffs and some serious drumming is all on show with their new track Pointless Philosophy.

To celebrate the new tune and its ace new video, I had a chat with At Fates. drummer, Will, about filming, tour dates and writing more music.

So first, just to clear up any confusion, why the slight name change?
We had decided that with becoming a four-piece combined with the change in direction musically, that an evolution of the band name was also fitting. That being said, we did not want to change it so much that the band was no longer recognisable.

How much input do you all have into the film clip?
The band had long discussions within itself for concepts for the film clip, in which we attempted to tie in a concept from the song itself. In the end, it was [a] fairly collaborative effort between us, and Eli & Julia at Imagenel Productions. They did a great job.

I think the whole video looks pretty amazing, were you guys as happy with the result?
We are stoked with the end result considering how low our budget was. The shots of us playing live were filmed in the loft of my (Will's) family holiday shack at Victor Harbour (Coastal South Australia). I have so many cherished memories from that place as I have grown up. I am happy it is now 'immortalised on film' so to speak.

You've recently announced several July tour dates, what would a fan expect from an At Fates. show?
Definitely high energy! Benn brings his passion and maybe a few inspirational quotes from time to time. Jim brings flamboyancy and exceptional hair, meanwhile Ben and I just try and keep the other two in line (and time) really. Everybody knows the rhythm section of the band is the most important part of every band anyway, right?

Tell me about At Fates. in five words?
Sounds Like No Other Band.

How does it feel when you hear one of your songs on the radio?
Obviously it's a great feeling that the music we have put a great amount of time and money into is being played to a bunch of fresh ears on a platform that almost anyone can reach. If just one person gets amped on it, then that's a win for us.

Where's next for At Fates.? What can we expect now?
Once we wrap up this tour, we will start getting stuck into writing and finishing material for our new release. This is usually a fairly long process as ideas come and go, plus you could say that we (especially Jim) are perfectionists when it comes to writing. We have a few other things related and unrelated to that in the pipeline, so keep an eye on our Facebook/Website/Twitter pages and also our new website should [be] up and running soon. Very soon..

Thanks for stopping by Love 'Em!
Cheers heaps!

*Coming soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New York Fashion Week X Madeline Stuart

The world is pushing for new fashion icons, people we all can admire on the catwalk without feeling the need to diet or change to fit in. The plus-size movement is an example of this, Madeline Stuart is possibly an even greater one. The fiery red-head continues to break down barriers of what is and isn't beautiful; one photoshoot at a time.

Over 441,000 followers on Facebook and two major modelling contracts - one with luxury bag brand everMaya and the other with inclusive fitness gals Manifesta - Maddy is breaking into the industry at near breakneck speed. Plus, and perhaps the most historic, Maddy has been announced as the face of Glossigirl Cosmetics, the first person with down's syndrome ever to front a make up company. Nobody is surprised by the opportunities that come the way of this talented model, least of all her mother who recently gushed to Cosmo Magazine about her talented daughter.

Continuing to shift public perception of what 'disabled' means, Maddy's resumé continues to impress. Boasting shoots in Los Angeles, trending in magazines worldwide, as well as continuing to grow her social media empire, this is one 18-year-old that you need to keep an eye on.

On September 13, Maddy Stuart will be gliding down the New York Fashion Week catwalk for FTL Moda. It's everything little girls dream about, but Maddy is proving, yet again, that nothing should stop dreams from becoming a reality.

Where the Stars Still Shine || Book Review

Title: Where the Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Release Date: June 2015 (paperback)
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Source: Copy for Review
Buy the book: Book Depository

What if you found out that the only life you've ever known...was a complete lie?

Stolen as a child from her family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like.

But after Callie's mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie's real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, she must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love is more than just a possibility. By turns heartbreaking and hopeful, this sweet and sexy romance offers a whole new take on happily ever after.

I nearly didn't read this book because of how much I don't like the cover. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I just wanted something that would look nicer on my shelf after I'd finished reading it. Thankfully it's totally what's on the inside that counts (wow I'm going good with those cliches today..) and Where the Stars Still Shine was a fantastic contemporary read.

Where the Stars Still Shine is the story of Callie. After being reunited with her father and his new family, she is forced to live a 'normal' life. Which is a million miles from the whirlwind, leave-no-trace of her old world with her mother, who spent her time sleeping with random men or packing up and moving Callie to a new town. Going from that to a large, loud Greek family sets Callie into a tailspin, but new friends, new boys and a family that loves her how she is might just be what she needs.

Although I read this in the middle of a Tasmanian winter (i.e freaking cold!) this is probably a book I'd take the beach in future. Even though it wasn't as light-hearted as some contemporary romance novels, I thought the relationships in this book were totally sweet and well-written. Even Callie's inability to maintain a healthy relationship felt plausible considering everything she'd been through.

Callie's love interest, Alex, was a totally swoon-worthy, only-ever-found-in-books type of guy. "All week I've wanted just three things: hot wings, cold beer, and you." He was the perfect guy for Callie and it was hard to not fall in love with him too! Another strong point of this book was Callie's father, Greg. Possibly the most loving and understanding father, I really felt for him. Although the book is told through Callie's eyes, it was obvious that living with her was no easy feat. Yay for good dads in books!

My only real bad point about this book is the ending. I love realistic endings, but I also want the loose ends mostly tied up; especially when there's romance involved. But in my mind the ending was happy, so I suppose there's that. Overall I would definitely recommend picking this book up. Read it. And then maybe even read it again.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Secret Agent Man || Jackie Brown Jr

Self-described as 'musical soup' Jackie Brown Jr is the fresh face of mixed-genre banding. With a core of soul and R&B, with a sprinkling of Hip Hop too, these five talents are set to blow you away with their latest track Secret Agent Man.

And the music clip isn't half bad either.

So to start, where did the band Jackie Brown Jr come from, how did you become the group we know today?
Maddy: It started from a few different people jamming over some songs I had been writing and then it was Rhyan, Michael, Gideon and Ben just jamming over some songs. I think we all just kept having a good time so we kept going.

What about the name; is there a story behind it or did you just like the sound?
Maddy: One day I was sitting at my desk and it just came to me and popped right into my head. I think it has a pretty god ring to it.

Your music doesn't seem to stick to just one genre, but do you have a favourite vibe to work with?
Gideon: We seem to fall into a mixed groove of R&B and Soul when we're jamming, so we reckon that's definitely a core ingredient in our musical soup.
Maddy: Yeah, that's definitely a core part of it, but we seem to be doing a lot more Hip-hop, too.

What about to listen to; what's your favourite genre?
Rhyan: We don't have a favourite genre. We all come from different backgrounds and all of us being musically unique we bring something different to the table.

Tell me about the new video for Secret Agent Man, whose idea was it to produce something so tongue-in-cheek?
Maddy: I'm not really sure. I knew when we started to talk about doing a music video that I wanted some sort of girl power thing going on. The secret agent portrayed in the song is [a] real up himself, big-headed guy. I wanted to see him get his own, you know? I think that's kind of what started the tongue-in-cheek thing. But the rest is all from the brains of the director!

What's coming up next for Jackie Brown Jr?
Ben: A whole bunch of gigs! If you take a look at our Facebook page, you can get a comprehensive list of our upcoming shows.

Thanks for stopping by Love 'Em!
Thanks for having us!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stonefield || More Than A Girl Band

I get on with my sister, I'm not going to lie. But touring and performing and hanging out all of the days of the week with her might be a stretch. Stonefield, however, draw on their blood relations to strengthen their rocking sound. Kudos to them!

Hailing from rural Victoria, these four sisters are as musically gifted and wardrobe enviable as gals come. Stonefield are breaking moulds, girls can rock out and living rurally isn't a setback at all.

Hey ladies, how's the tour going so far?
It's been amazing so far. We're so happy to be back on the road again after taking a bit of time to write our new record.

What's it like being on the road with each other, do you ever sneak away for some alone time?
I think being sisters it probably makes it easier to be around each other because we're so used to it. We all like sharing the same hotel room so we can hang out and share each others clothes. When we're feeling like some alone time we just chuck some headphones in!

What've the crowds been like so far? Is any city particularly loud?
The crowds have been really fun so far. We've been playing a lot of new songs on this tour so it [has] been cool to see how people react to them. Albury has been the craziest show so far..we still can't believe how and appreciative the crowd was. Regional shows always tend to be a bit louder than in major cities, but Albury surpassed anything we've experienced in a country town so far.

For anyone who mightn't be familiar with Stonefield, would you care to fill them in; what should we all know about the band?
We're a rock band from rural Victoria and have been playing together for about 10 years now. We're currently working on our second album, which seems to be taking more of a psychedelic sound as we are experimenting deeper into the spectrum of what rock music is.

What's your proudest moment as a band?
I think being asked to play Glastonbury [Music Festival] after our first gig at a festival in Perth [Western Australia] in 2010. It was such a surreal moment; I don't think we believed it was happening until we were on a plane heading to London.

I hear you gals have a new album coming out later this year, is there anything you can share at this stage?
We've been working on this album from the moment we finished our first one in 2013, so we've been through so many batches of songs and feel so happy with the point we've gotten to. We have explored each tune more deeply than ever before with sounds, lyrics and each little part that makes up a song. I think it is also much more of a journey than our previous releases as there is a lot more contrast between each song.

Thanks for stopping by Love 'Em!
Thank you!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Me & Mr J || Book Review

Title: Me & Mr J
Author: Rachel McIntyre
Release Date: 2015
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Source: Copy for Review

Lara's life is far from perfect, but being an upbeat kind of person she saves her venting for her diary. It's the only place she can really let out her true feelings about the family dramas and hideous bullying she has to face every day.

And then a shining light comes out of the darkness - the new, young and male teacher, Mr Jagger. 

The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. 

The one person who cannot love her back...can he?

This was one of those books that left me so torn I wanted to re-read it instantly. Rachel McIntyre's Me & Mr J centres on Lara - a poor, intelligent, social outcast who falls head-over-heels for the new English. The very young, very attractive, very male English teacher. Going into this book I was under the impression that the student-teacher relationship would be the sole plot line of the story, but I felt that the horrendous bullying Lara endures was just, if not more, important to Me & Mr J.

It was heart-wrenching to read what Lara's school life was like every day. The harassment - both verbal and physical - was without a doubt the hardest parts of the book to read. I just wanted to hug her and give her hot chocolate. It was frustrating that Lara didn't speak up about the bullying but I felt that the writing was very accurate to real-life and I really admired the way McIntyre dealt with the subject throughout this book.

The whole relationship between Mr Jagger and Lara was quite confusing really. I found it to be written extremely well but it was a constant should I be rooting for these guys or not? predicament. I still don't really know where I sit with the whole thing - especially without giving away MAJOR spoilers! Because we saw the story through Lara's eyes it was almost impossible to not at least like Mr J a teensy bit - if not love him completely - but the morality of their situation was in the back of my head the entire time. Rachel McIntyre - I am still not sure what to think!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was well-written and the characters all felt like actual people, rather than two-dimensional figures. I would definitely recommend this book, but be aware that it could be a hard read for anyone who has gone through bullying. McIntyre's writing was amazing and I admired the way she had chosen to write about such a controversial topic. Me & Mr J is definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Melbourne Music Bank Competition || Musicians Wanted!

They say you only regret the chances you didn't take. And trust me, you'd seriously regret not taking this one.

The renowned Melbourne Music Bank competition is on again and, if you're an aspiring Victorian muso, it's the perfect opportunity to make your sound known. And for an industry that is infamous for being hard to crack, this is really the chance of a lifetime.

2014's winner Héloise, an indie/folk songstress, can't sing the competition enough praises. "Being involved in the Melbourne Music Bank 2014 was an extremely valuable experience for me as an artist. I received some incredible prizes and tools that have made networking, promoting and growing my fan base much easier, tools that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. I have met some incredible people who have been an excellent support base and offered precious guidance and knowledge, something that is invaluable in a tough industry," she said.

The prize is bigger and better than ever, too. On offer is two days recording time at Sing Sing Studios, a film clip by Oh Yeah Wow, album artwork and printed CDs and the chance to have their winning song featured in a Bank of Melbourne TV ad! But just in case that isn't enough, On The Map PR, Chris Robinson, Varrasso PR, and 123 Agency are all jumping on board to offer mentoring, management, gig bookings, publicity and radio plugging. Victorians musicians: I hope you're paying attention!

All you have to do to enter is to submit your original song (on MP3) to before August 23rd. A shortlist of 12 talented acts will be narrowed down by public vote to four, who will then get the chance to perform live at Melbourne's iconic State Theatre in front of a panel of judges before a winner will be chosen.

So warm up your vocal chords, tune your instruments and start recording. I hope you're ready to work.

Entries close August 23 || Enter Now

When The Storms Would Come || Holy Holy review

Music lovers and everybody in general take note!:
This Is A Masterpiece. 

With their debut LP, Holy Holy have crafted a poetic yet guitar-riff-heavy offering that is sure to stand the test of time. In a world that relies heavily on manufactured music (not that there is anything at all wrong with that) it's an ode to everyone involved in When The Storms Would Come's creation that this holds on to the old school; simplicity, honesty and some seriously catchy tunes.

WTSWC wastes no time getting down to business; the first track, Sentimental and Monday, is the opener of all openers. A mood-setter that hooks from the opening chords. The simplicity of its lyrics - 'darkness is nothing but a lack of light' - too, makes an easy song to listen to but not one you want to miss.

The second track, Outside of the Heart of It, is undoubtedly a personal favourite. Getting the rock/indie mash-up just right is no easy feat for an album, and this tune sums it all up perfectly. It sounds almost like a tribute to Boy & Bear's Feeding Line but manages to be uniquely Holy Holy all at once. Quite a feat, really.

Ending with tenth track, The Crowd, easily the most ballad-like on the LP, Holy Holy wind things up without winding anything down. It's the perfect choice of encore; The Crowd holds its own as a finale track and pulls on just the right heart-strings.

Holy Holy's When The Storms Would Come is not an album that has wasted space. You won't find any tracks that haven't earned their place here; instead it's song after brilliant song and, honestly, it's one of those albums that makes me hit replay before I've finished once. I typically think of indie music as a summer thing - the whole Australian lazy afternoon in the sun. But I'm listening to this on a horrifically miserable day and it fits just as nicely.