Melbourne-based crooner Nick Murphy (aka Chet Faker) has emerged as one of 2012’s breakout stars by giving a bleak, arty spin to soul. A seamless concept album, his debut EP Thinking In Textures traces a woozy, debauched journey over seven slow jams that join the current conversation in hallucinatory R&B, soul and indie electronica; the kind stimulated in recent years by the likes of James Blake, Frank Ocean, Salem and The Weeknd.

Click over to Mess+Noise to read my full review of Thinking In Textures, which was originally published on March 30, 2012.

Like many acts before them, genre-defying pranksters Aleks and the Ramps have a wealth of crazily divergent influences, amply documented on their 2006 debut Pisces vs. Aquarius and 2009 follow-up Midnight Believer. The difference is that Aleks and the Ramps borrow their heroes’ doggedly original artistic values as much as their easy sonic trademarks.

Click over to Mess+Noise to read my full review of Aleks and the Ramps’ third LP FACTS, originally published on February 14, 2012.

“All-time” lists, be it football teams or songs, will always be met with conjecture. This is perhaps why The Great Australian Songbook – a set which promises “40 of Australia’s finest recording artists performing 40 of the best Australian songs from ‘last century’ and ‘this century’” – is, by its very nature, contentious.

Click over to Mess+Noise to read my review of The Great Australian Songbook, which was published on January 26, 2012.

Full of spaced-out sound effects, and making no concessions to conventional song structure, Canyon’s debut LP Keep Your Dreams is best described as a trip (light show and chemical refreshment optional). Over 11 long tracks, the Perth-raised, now Sydney-based Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomson thread together a post-rave library’s worth of slow-rolling chillout-room rhythms, referencing everything from dub to Krautrock along the way. The pair ply their dubby squiggles, electronic bubblebaths and trippy soundbites to drop little shiver-inducing melodic runs like it’s no big deal. The effect is never to surprise or to subdue the listener, but to touch and placate a very deep and primal need that you didn’t know you had.

Click over to Mess+Noise to read my full review of Keep Your Dreams, which was published on January 23, 2012.

No longer ruled by the pain, the panic attacks and the drug jags that seemed to go hand-in-hand with his rise to become alt-country’s biggest star, Ryan Adams returns to the fore with an album which could very well be his best yet. Speaking candidly ahead of the release of Ashes & Fire, the prolific singer-songwriter explains that for all his demons, he still hates the idea of being labelled a “suffering artist”.

My full interview interview with Adams was published in Issue 446 of The Brag which hit the stands on January 23, 2012. Read my full feature, entitled Old Country, here.

An alternate version of this feature, entitled A Pretty Complicated Guy, was published in Beat Magazine on February 13, 2012. You can read the full version here.

Among the many great upheavals of the past 100 years, is there any that remains as patchily remembered as the creative revolution in advertising? Why, after all, should anyone outside the industry want to read a book about the personalities and practices involved? Because they love Mad Men?

This is certainly what Marion Von Adlerstein has plumped for with her ’60s-set chick-lit novel The Freudian Slip. My full review of her novel, was published yesterday, Saturday, January 28 in The West Australian.

Unfortunately the link on their website appears to be broken, but should it be fixed I will amend this post accordingly.

A witchy brew of madness and cunning, Various Positions tells the story of a young ballerina who aches, with battered feet, to break out of the corps. My review of Martha Schabas’ dark Young Adult novel, was published last Tuesday, January 24 in The West Australian.

Unfortunately the link on their website appears to be broken, but should it be fixed I will amend this post accordingly.

1302 is done and dusted! Local musical comedian Tim Minchin graces our cover this week alongside Andy C, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Lamb Of God! Also catch a very special interview I had with indie superstar Twin Shadow as well as record reviews for Trailer Trash Traceys, Benjamin Golby (of New Rules For Boats/Split Seconds fame) and Nerves Junior.

In the Local Scene pages read up on 15-piece Big Band Junkadelic (who are celebrating 10 years playing locally), electro-rock up-and-comers Broken Royale and read some of our contributors thoughts on three of the week’s biggest gigs – Vengaboys, The Whitest Boy Alive and Thee Oh Sees. Phewph!

To read the magazine in its entirety visit the X-Press Magazine Flip Archive.

Sleepers Publishing are responsible for publishing some of the best short fiction being written in Australia today. My review of their latest collection, The Sleepers Almanac No. 7, was published today in The West Australian.

Click over to The West’s website to read the full review.

Issue 1301 hits the streets this morning featuring Brooklyn buzz band Cults on the cover! Grab a copy and check out interviews with Thee Oh Sees, Miles Kane, The Stepkids and Beth Orton! We also have a chat to local wunderkids Andrew Sinclair and Erasers (Rupert Thomas and Rebecca Orchard).

Record reviews for the week include the new EP from Perth kids San Cisco and the wonderful new full-length solo album from former The Coral member Bill Ryder-Jones. Plus, there’s live reviews from The Dresden Doll’s show at The Astor Theatre on Thursday evening and PJ Harvey’s first Australian show for 2012 at the Perth Concert Hall. Read it, Live it!

To read the magazine in its entirety visit the X-Press Magazine Flip Archive.

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