THE PICTURES – I Can’t Hold It Back / Ground Control (4 Track Demo)

The name Davey Lane might not mean much to a huge amount of people in the UK, but the Aussie musician has been more than prolific over the years. In the 90s, he was a key member of rock band The Pictures before joining You Am I in 1999. In more recent times, he’s carved out a solo career, played on albums by Jimmy Barnes, The Saints’ Chris Bailey, and also appeared on recordings by Robyn Hitchcock. He’s worked with the legendary Todd Rundgren, and even toured with Crowded House. He’s the archetypal go-to guy; a face you don’t necessarily know, but one that has always been there.

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SLAVES OF DISSONANCE – Toxoplasmosis EP

Based in Queensland, Slaves of Dissonance are a great addition to the Aussie metal scene. On their debut EP ‘Toxoplasmosis’, the riffs come with the heaviness of Lamb of God, the pneumatics of late period Death and Periphery, and even a smidgeon of TesseracT’s artiness, to create something that’s interesting and occasionally challenging, but somehow always familiar. On that score, its a release that pushes all of the right buttons.

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THE VIOLETS – Smoke, Mirrors & Other Half Truths

Long before Matt Cahill became vocalist/guitarist with Evoletah, he was a member of Aussie rock band The Violets. The Violets received critical acclaim in Australia, but like so many other bands from the southern hemisphere, they didn’t really achieve any commercial success overseas. They were always a band Matt looked upon favourably, but the more the years passed and the more Evoletah covered new musical ground – since 2012, they’ve evolved from being an alternative rock band, into an almost proggy affair, taking in elements of pop, jazz and electronica along the way – the more it seemed as if The Violets would be forever associated with the past.

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ILIUM – Quantum Evolution Event

Since their formation in the late 90s, Australian power metal band Ilium have worked hard at building a fan base, but a sporadic approach to recording and a fairly fluid line up have contributed to making their output seem a little inconsistent. The arrival of Masterplan’s Mike DiMeo on vocals in 2009 and a distribution deal with the Escape Music label helped bring the band to a wider audience, but these associations were fairly short-lived. After a short time away, they re-emerged with the ‘My Misanthropia’ album, recorded with vocalist Lance King – the fourth man to hold that position – and although further albums released between 2017 and 2020 brought former members Mark Sneddon and “Lord” Tim Grose back to the fold, by this time, Ilium only seemed to be reaching out to their more committed fans.

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DR CHRIS & THE REDEEMERS – Stone Cold Redemption

When a band places a bottle of Makers Mark rather prominently in one of their earliest promotional photos and advertises themselves as a blues band, chances are, you’ll get no big surprises when it comes to the kind of sounds they make. For Dr Chris & The Redeemers, the big twist comes from their location. This band comes well versed in the Texas blues, but deliver their rootsy grooves and Stevie Ray Vaughan inflected riffs straight from the heart of Adelaide. In terms of all round authenticity, though, they hit everything absolutely square on. Their debut album is a great release which doesn’t so much present itself like the sound of 2021, but a brilliant throwback to 1990.

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