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Category Archives: Music


Do music critics need music theory?

Canadian musician Owen Pallett – the man who arranged the strings on Arcade Fire’s albums, co-wrote the soundtrack for Spike Jonze’s Her, and has a bunch of wonderful solo albums – can now add another feather to his cap: that of an engaging music writer. Read more »

Drips, leaks, and spurts

I’ve spent the last two weeks in a state of perpetual excitement – musically speaking, that is. First came tUnE-yArDs’ new song, ‘Water Fountain’, a joyous, riotous explosion of colour and movement. Then Swans released ‘A Little God in My Hands’, a seven-minute epic of a track … Read more »

Singing out

My maternal grandmother, Merilai Lilburn, recently died in a nursing home in Katikati, New Zealand, of complications arising from pneumonia. She was 82 years old. At the time of her death, I and the other members of our extended family based in Australia Read more »

Something rich and strange: Beck’s Morning Phase

Few artists are as burdened by their pasts as Beck Hansen. The man responsible for ‘Loser’ released three albums’ worth of material (Stereopathic Soulmanure, Mellow Gold and One Foot in the Grave) in the year after it first hit the airwaves, as if to prove Read more »

The future isn’t what it used to be: Daft Punk, nostalgia, and musical conservatism

  There’s no reason not to be very happy for Daft Punk right now. The French production duo, who have been making music since 1993, recently won five awards at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards – including both Album of the Year (for Random Access Memories) and … Read more »

That kind of racism just ain’t for us: Lorde’s ‘Royals’ and offence criticism

One of the most widely-read and influential pieces of music criticism in 2013 was not written by a music critic – its author possesses a master’s degree in sexuality and public health, works in the field of reproductive justice, and had written little about music before the … Read more »

Venus Gets Even in Paris

After nearly two decades performing abroad, Nadeah Miranda is at last hitting her stride with her first solo album. The Australian-raised singer-songwriter discusses her journey through drug abuse, mental illness, loss, and having to start over and over again. It’s the evening before the So Frenchy So … Read more »

Riding the crazy-wave with Lana Del Rey

  Don’t worry, this is not another post about whether Lana Del Rey is a worthwhile popstar or not. It’s a rant about the personal crisis I had after watching her video Ride, released in September last year. ‘It’s Thelma and Louise meets grindhouse meets David Lynch,’ … Read more »

Out of the graveyard: Dock Boggs and Smithsonian Folkways

In 1927 in the heart of the United States’ central Appalachian mountains, an audition was held at the Norton Hotel in Norton, Virginia. The audition’s purpose was to find musicians playing traditional Appalachian mountain music to then bring back to New York to record phonograph records for … Read more »

Meet Me on the Desertshore

  It’s easy, and inaccurate, to reduce Throbbing Gristle to a band obsessed equally with sex and death; but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t obsessed with those very topics. Take the cover of their seminal 1979 album 20 Jazz Funk Greats: a lovely shot of the … Read more »