The Matador - Decent into the Malestrom - EP 2012
Blunt Magazine: “Brisbane you have outdone yourself this month. First The Royal Artillery’s puff-puff-give-stonerisms and now The Matador’s massive post-rock crunch. Being that the first 3:51 of opener Kingdom of Glass is entirely instrumental and a little light on the rargh, you sorta sit there thinking you’re in for a true blue Mogwai or even an ocker Mono. Then throat Daniel Godson starts barking like Cult Of Luna’s Klas Rydberg if he was a mad dog and shit gets real. Welcome to epic, welcome to excellent. We don’t get much of this ebb’n flow-type-post-rock punishment coming out of ‘Straya, and we certainly don’t get it done with this kind of dedication to the cause. The cause? The cause of splorting eargasms. If you’re a fiend for the lenghty and labyrinthine, put this inside you immediately.” (4.5/5)
Decibel Magazine: “When a template is set, deviations from it are often more interesting. Here’s an example: polished Neur-Isis post-metal from Australia that shines most when it glints with haunting clean tones and drops the obligatory howls. Another worthy Euro-style post-metal contender next to ‘The Ocean, Celeste, et al.”
Heavy Blog Is Heavy: “The tone of the music carries this melancholy perfectly. The lustrous opening notes of “Kingdom of Glass” suggest some sort of post-rock shenanigans; the organic tone disarms you at first, but the beautiful execution suggests that you are indeed in for something special, and they doth deceive you not. The distorted guitars and howls of vocalist Godson soon make their presence felt, however, and the more serene sections serve only to juxtapose the latter, increasing their effectiveness all the more.”
“I’ve been bandying around the high end of the score-scale for a while now, but I honestly can’t find anything wrong with Descent Into The Maelstrom. I really can’t recommend this EP enough, and if I have anything to do with it, these guys are going to get the following they deserve. Check them out or I will kick each and every one of you in the nuts.” (5/5)
Julia Rose - Stairway to the Moon - EP 2012
Julia Rose is a treasure from up on the Gold Coast that’s been sharing her talent in various guises for the past decade. Still performing in a collection of bands, she has released her second solo EP, Stairway to the Moon, and is currently embarking on a limited Australian tour.
With a three-octave range and multi-skilled musicianship, it’s a wonder her Aussie folk ballad-style hasn’t taken over the world yet. “The Rain it Came” is a revolving melody that’s catchy as hell. A fast-paced roots number that ducks in and out of an incredible violin accompaniment while Rose walks you through stormy Queensland weather via operatic vocals.
The rest of her EP follows similar lines: fun guitar licks, multi-instrumentation and flawless vocal technique. What strikes me most about Rose though, is that she’s writing some brilliantly honest tunes. She uses her music to tell narratives that comfortably transport you to where she is. Maybe she’s a better storyteller because of the genre she is working in but listening to a tune like “Melbourne Town” tells me otherwise. Such scope as she croons in ballad and is backed by a beautiful string section and jazz-influenced folk rhythms: she is bending genres to fit her style and not working for anything.
“Gina” steps into Cabaret territory in the same fashion as The Cat Empire with an energetic and comical vocal performance. Her operatic asides pitch it to a new level though; I’m shuddering trying to compare her against anything or anyone else.
What is clear is that this talented beauty is anti-essentialist and damn entertaining. This week she’s reminded me why I love music so much, and it’s been a while.
Julia Rose is currently touring around Australia but unfortunately won’t be joining us in Melbourne. Her second EP Stairway to the Moon is out now through Human Records.
REVIEW BY STEF ITALIA - The Ripe