EVEN – Down The Shops

There are a lot of Australian bands that have never had a huge breakthrough outside of their home country. For example, Powderfinger, You Am I and Killing Heidi all became massive Aussie stars, but only managed cult followings elsewhere. Even with bands like Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel – very much known entities in Europe and beyond – audiences at their UK live shows have often been packed out with expats on a night out. Maybe it’s merely about geography and finance; Australia seems fairly self-contained and self-sufficient. The lack of major overseas success for many Aussie bands certainly has nothing to do with a lack of talent.

Even are another Aussie rock band that probably won’t mean much to audiences in the northern hemisphere, but they’ve worked hard to build a following since the mid 90s. They’ve worked with Yeah Yeah Yeahs producer Nick Launay, had the legendary Ian McLagan guest on one of their albums, and their 1994 debut ‘Less Is More’ was voted one of the all-time great Australian albums by readers of Melbourne newspaper The Age.

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K7s – Mondo Bizarro

When K7s debut album ‘Take 1’ appeared in 2018, it presented itself as an instant classic. In the middle of a pandemic of emo inflected punk, and a bunch of pop punk releases that had too much focus on the pop, the US/Spanish combo gave everyone a perfect reminder of the punk sounds they loved in the 90s. Its half an hour packed in riff after riff, drawing from Ramones, Screeching Weasel and The Apers, quickly setting itself up as an unmissable disc.

The world waited for ‘Take Two’. …And waited. Then, finally, at the beginning of 2021, the band returned with a new work, but fans would still be left waiting for a new disc of self-penned bangers.

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WEIRD TALES – Y’all Motherfuckers Forgot ‘Bout Good Ol’ Son Of A Bitchin’ Blues EP

Polish doom blues trio Weird Tales laid down some pretty heavy vibes on their 2019 long player ‘Hell Services Cost a Lot’. Bookended by two lengthy workouts absolutely laden with distortion, it cared not for giving first time listeners anything easily digestible. Lurching through various slow and heavy moods, and with each track seemingly as oppressive as the last, it eventually blurred into a near hour’s worth of sludge. While those riffs were impressive – at least to begin with – a disregard for actual songs meant it was an album for the most committed doom fiends only.

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LISSIE – Thank You To The Flowers EP

Lissie’s full length debut, 2010’s ‘Catching A Tiger’, gained the American singer-songwriter well deserved worldwide acclaim. With its mix of adult pop, a few country tinges and an obvious Stevie Nicks influence, she captured the imaginations of the adult rock-pop audience with some timeless sounding tunes. Although her 2013 follow up ‘Back To Forever’ scored another UK top twenty chart placing, it wasn’t enough for Columbia Records who subsequently dropped Lissie from their roster following its release. Finding a new home with Cooking Vinyl (the ever reliable home for artists who’d previously ended high profile contracts), she released a further two albums in 2016 and 2018. Even though these discs (‘My Wild West’ and ‘Castles’) did not appear to gain as much press attention, they were equally successful – and especially so in the UK, where ‘Castles’ earnt Lissie her first top ten placing.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Vol 4 (Redux)

In September 2020, Zakk Sabbath released their long-awaited ‘Vertigo’ album, on which legendary guitarist Zakk Wylde and friends recreated the Black Sabbath debut as faithfully as possible. Everything was well played, but with the band taking such a traditional stance, there were moments where you’d wonder why you’d ever choose to listen to it over the original recording. There were a couple of tracks of great interest, however, such as ‘Wicked World’ where the band loosened their grip on self-imposed authenticity and added more of their own flair and ‘N.I.B.’ which proved that Zakk Wylde plus and indestructible riff will often result in something great. The album was well received by fans, and despite any misgivings about long-term interest, it was important that the band got a studio recording under their collective belt after working the live circuit for so many years.

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