- Radio host / music reviewer / blogger / interviewer
I have been involved in the music industry for over 30 years, mainly in the area of music journalism and radio broadcasting. I am based in Australia and have written for local magazines such as dB Magazine (Adelaide) and online sources such as MusicSA, a Government funded local music resource. I have also written for US-based blogs Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog, mainly reviewing CDs. My radio show 'Roots & Branches', which I have been presenting since November 1985, focuses on all different types of roots & folk music, though I have also co-presented another show on psychedelic rock, prog and various musical oddities and obscurities! Artists I've interviewed over the years include Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Richard Thompson, Maire Brennan (Clannad), Adrian Edmondson, Loreena McKennitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Bruce Cockburn, Maddy Prior, Ralph McTell and literally hundreds of other local and international acts, both established and up and coming. This gives me wide experience in the area, and a reputation for well considered and accurate assessment of music. I'd be happy to extend this skill to assist acts via Fluence!
- radio, music industry, journalism, radio promotion, radio host, music journalism, music blogging, radio hosting, music reviews, radio programming
- indie rock, rock, classic rock, folk, singer/songwriter, music, world music, ambient, folk rock, indie folk, psychedelic rock, acoustic, country, alternative folk, downbeat / electro-acoustic, progressive rock, alt-country
- Adelaide, Australia
There are two main things I want to say right at the start. One - love the design of the bass. Two - love the skirt. Moving on from that - this was my first exposure to the work of The Hollow, and it's an understatement to say it's made a positive impression. To the extent that I can't really think of anything I'd want to particularly change about any of it! I'm going to look up more details about the band after I've written this, so the impressions can be entirely from what I've just seen and heard here. The song itself develops well, and clearly shows a band that has grown into a tight unit, and that knows how to write, perform and present their music to a high level. That's probably stating the obvious! The production, to my ears, not only complements the song but also doesn't seem to get into the whole "loudness wars" / over-compression thing that's way too common these days. It's powerful enough to suit the song but doesn't seem to lose the sonic highs and lows that are often lost in a production and/or mastering mire. This is something to be grateful for. In common with the song, the video captured my interest from the start and didn't let go. They complement each other well. There's obvious attention to detail and the sort of creativity that can be both 'arty' and down to earth and relatable at the same time. Nice one. If you're after helpful advice, I'm not sure what to offer other than hearty encouragement! The end result is well worth the effort taken in making the recording and the video.
That's great, as a song and as a presentation. I actually can't find much to suggest in terms of improvement, as it's pretty much self contained and confident-sounding just as it is. I was surprised to read it was your first recording as it sounds very professional, until I noticed the band history. Even with a gap, the experience does show. I usually jot down a few general thoughts as a song plays. For this one, I wrote... "A classic sound but not necessarily as predictable-sounding as that may imply. Memorable. Professional. Strong production but doesn't sound overly compressed like some. Intelligent lyrics." So that's several points in the song's favour as far as I'm concerned! As mentioned, I actually have no suggestions as to what might be done to improve it. But I can offer some airplay on local, Australian radio so I hope that helps!
First things first, I really like the song itself. No if's or buts, it's an appealing song as it is. The opening acoustic guitar reminded me of 60s English folk style but then the pedal steel etc progressed the song to a more country / folk style that works well, and the voice certainly suits it as well. It's the sort of music that, I think, requires a voice which is melodic, but not so stylised that it loses the true emotion of the song through being sung in too "trained" and commercial a style. And the vocals here are just right in that regard. That might also apply to the question of does it need more production? I'm actually not sure that it does, to be honest. It didn't strike me as sounding too much like a demo, as such. It probably depends on what the ultimate goal is - I do a radio show in Adelaide, Australia and I'm happy to play it just as it is! So I imagine others would be as well. It would have to be fine for blogs as it is, too. As a song, it's a good introduction to your work and that includes the lyrics. As a recording, the mix sounds perfectly acceptable to my ears. Of course, if the chance came to record it in a way that you imagine might be better, then go for it. :) But I think this recording will serve its purpose as an introduction to your music. It did with me, anyway...
Yeah, that's nice! It's a straightforward sort of song but still carries the listener along with it, and I was a willing participant in the process. :) Obviously well played and well structured, and the voices blend well too. Personally, I'd have preferred for the female vocals to be a little higher in the mix to hear that blending more clearly, but it's fine as is. I like how the arrangement grows as the song progresses - the pedal steel adds to the overall sound very well. It's also good that the song takes only as long as it needs to, without the need for excessive showing-off; it's more a case of keeping it effectively simple. It's definitely a professional sound overall, and I'll be happy to give it some airplay, so you can say you've been played on Australian radio, anyway!
That's great! Almost anthemic in sound, and I would never have guessed it was recorded in a bedroom unless you'd mentioned it in the promo. A full sound all right, but with enough interesting dynamics in the arrangement to keep me listening all the way through, as opposed to some one-dimensional thrash (which is fine in its own way but not my preference). Nice effects on the vocals in various places, although they don't disguise the fact that you can actually sing well too... Plenty of thought has obviously gone into the song, the lyrics, the recording and the arrangement, and it shows. Actualy a pretty professional sound altogether. Hope it goes as far as you'd like it to.
I imagine 'dramatic' and intense' would be two of the most obvious words to describe Cracked Diamonds, but it's also pleasing to note this doesn't at all preclude the notion of accessibility for the listener. It can be all too easy for a composer, performer and/or producer to make music that suits their own ego to the exclusion of those who are meant to actually be listening to the work. But here is a track that has clearly sprung from a creative, personal place in the composer's mind but is still easy for the listener to digest in a satisfying way. That is a handy line to be able to traverse. While the track does have the deliberately cinematic feel as described, and its occasional spy-music influences are there to be heard, it still stands as its own piece of music. The variations in intensity help keep interest as the instrumental progresses, and obviously the playing by all musicians is of the high quality to be expected. Likewise, I found the production to be clear and precise, even when listening via the sometimes less than ideal medium of mp3. Similarly, I was also very pleased that the dynamic range was allowed to breathe and be clear by not indulging in the unnecessary "loudness wars" that plague so many recordings these days! Yes, it could be film music or spy music - or it could just be a dynamically rich piece that succeeds in its intent to take the listener to a place they would be happy to go, while still retaining its musical substantiality.
Wow, yeah! The first thought that came to mind is that there's no easy category to put this music into, and that is a good thing. I saw the list of instrumentation and mention of electric violin and the first thing that came to mind was "folk rock" - but no, it's far broader than that. I won't even bother to categorise it, because it doesn't really matter. The thought also occurred to check other peoples' definitions but then taking it purely on face value seems the better option for the first time one hears it. In doing so, lots of aspects came to mind. Mainly, that it easily held my attention all the way through. Everything works together - the masterful playing by all concerned, the idea that the listener can't be quite sure where the music is going but you know you'll be happy to go there with it, the apparent ease with navigating different time signatures etc. Plus the video itself is comparatively simple but still effective; it also maintains the interest without distracting from the music itself. On purely face value, without worrying about any technical or critical side of it, this is simply very energetic music too. Easy to just "get into", but complex enough for those who want to listen more deeply. The production keeps everything clear to my ears, with good separation of instruments. Bottom line - I'm definitely impressed, and this intriguingly titled track has served its purpose in making me want to hear more. In the meantime, I'll be happy to give this one some airplay!
Impressive! Captivating. Intriguing. That's a few of the adjectives I'd feel inclined to use after only hearing the song once or twice. I also like how you grab the listener in with what at first is a straightforward, well constructed, song and then, once they have the emotional investment, go into the odd time signatures so that one has to continue with it and sort out the new rhythms for oneself because it's too late to ignore the song by that point. It's also very respectful to the subject. I'll admit I may or may not have guessed the song was about dementia if I wasn't already told, but it works either way. It's good poetry in its own right. The arrangement also works to the benefit of the song; it enhances without overpowering the music or, importantly, the vocals. Quite a light touch to the playing in the first section, leading to the "complexity" in the second part that seems thematically appropriate. For me, the overall effect is that I just naturally want to hear the song again as a result of all of the above. Having heard approximately 10 million songs in my life and therefore having an appropriate amount of jadedness at this point, please take that as a high compliment! I'll be very happy to give the song some airplay, so you can say you've been played on South Australian radio.
Yes indeed! It's not a phrase that has come to mind often before when listening to music critically, but to my mind that song sounds fully formed. What do I mean by that? Yes, good question. I'd say it's because every aspect of it seems to have been thought through well, and the quality of each individual aspect combines and builds up to a greater, even more impressive whole. First thing to strike me were the lyrics, intelligent but not impenetrable. Then of course the vocals, melodic and emotional but not to the point of over-emoting. Just right, and appropriate to the overall feel. Then the overall performance and production - a good amount of light and shade that maintains interest along the way. And while it may well be a personal song, I'm sure it would resonate easily enough with many people on whichever level they choose to take it. So yeah, that's probably what I mean when I call it fully formed! Definitely a good introduction to your work and if it doesn't inspire someone to want to hear more, they were probably never going to get into your music in the first place anyway... I'll be happy to give it some airplay soon, so you can say you've been played on radio in Australia. Thanks for sending it along.
I should preface this by saying I'm just on the verge of the age group that this is most tailored to, so I can relate to it well enough! It's a good, tight sound, and the production is as clear as it needs to be. I'm not sure if I'd call it so much country or folk though - maybe more early rock with blues influence, eg the 12-bar format. Maybe that's just me being semantic... I'm also not sure if there's a great deal to distinguish it from a lot of other songs in terms of its structure and feel. Then again, a) it's probably impossible to be completely original in any genre nowadays (a thought borne from a few decades experience too), and b) I suspect the playing is mainly for fun and entertaining yourselves and friends and fans - and what more need it be? The evident sense of humour is helpful in that regard too. Come to think of it, there's probably an increasing number of people in the demographic of the band, and musically & lyrically, I reckon they would find this kind of music very much fit for purpose.
OK, that one's definitely country! Along with the humour again on display, the things that struck me this time were: a) the playing. That's some tasty lead work on the guitar and mandolin. And everywhere else; that's good ensemble playing. The vocals are also melodic and have the appropriate kind of tone and inflection for the song; b) the lyrics. Not every line rhymes. That's good. That makes it stand out more to my mind. You expect it to go one way, and it goes another. I don't know how many people might notice that, but I did! I can imagine the whole song going down well in both bars and senior citizens homes.
When the songs get serious, they get very serious. The lyrical points are well made and develop logically, and meaningfully. The music is also appropriate and it all manages to steer well clear of any problems with sounding maudlin. Or of preaching a point of view. Just the facts are enough for the points to be made, and of course it doesn't need to apply to any one particular conflict, either. The playing again is really well done - restrained but breaking through as necessary. I don't know if you're familiar with the song "I Was Only 19" by Australian band Redgum? (It's on YouTube) An early 80s national Australian hit on much the same subject. I can imagine an audience listening intently to this song in a live setting, a hushed pause of a few seconds at the end, then loud applause. Good one.
Yes indeed, this is the stuff! Sometimes I like to just listen to the song, without even checking the artist bio or any other information, just to see the effect of the music itself without any other distractions, and whether it can grab me on nothing more than its own merits. Easily done, in this case. Purely as a listening experience, the playing is great and the subtlety works very much in the track's favour. The somewhat minimalist arrangement likewise. Listening to the lyrics a second time, it becomes apparent the music is clearly written to enhance their theme, and it does so in a way that could maybe be described as "moody" (but not in the negative sense), maybe "atmospheric" might be a better description. I also like the way more words than usual are utilised for some lines; it doesn't make it all sound too busy but does add to the unexpected nature of the arrangement. The playing is great and again shows the variety of music that a uke can be used for, and I found it easy to be caught up in the melodic vocals as well. Everything works together, by itself and collectively in service of the song. That's pretty much all one could ask, really! I'll be happy to give it a play on radio and help spread the word a bit. Very glad you sent it.
It's probably best to put my cards on the table at the start and say I really don't know my Chill from my House! Yet despite that, I did enjoy the track, so I guess you could consider that "crossover potential" right there, outside the usual followers of such styles. As a song, it works for me. Actually melodic and it progresses well, keeping the interest as it goes along. Definitely well produced; it does sound like a professional work. Elements of Asian music in the riff at times?? Not necessarily in a K-pop kind of way, maybe just the scales used. I do have a thing about treated vocals though - I really would have preferred a more natural voice, and I don't think it would be to the song's detriment at all. I don't even know if that's a common thing in the tracks you produce, or that it just seemed appropriate for this one! But yeah, even toning down the autotune, if that's what it is, would have pleased my ears more. But still, the effort that's gone into the track is clear and if someone whose first musical love isn't what you produce can still like it, then I reckon you may well be onto something!
Even the subject of the song is one that would likely be best recognised by people of a certain age! Probably. It's a well written song using salient examples of its subject of heroes that are unsung or unappreciated, but still an important part of the fabric of life. There are no doubt many other such examples, worldwide, so the song could easily be appreciated regardless of location, or age. The song structure and performance certainly sounds professional; nice arrangement and good, clear vocals. However, the sound itself seemed just a little too "trebley" to my ears in places (via headphones and speakers). That might just be personal preference though. It's certainly a tight sounding track and I could easily imagine your gaining new fans through it. Old and not so old ones.
I'm sorry to say I was unaware of Dirtwire before encountering this video and track, but if its purpose was to introduce someone to your music, while enhancing it with visuals that capture the mood, then it's a definite success on both counts! It's not that the electronic and acoustic sides seem to be competing with each other; they complement without even needing to try. No reason why that shouldn't be the case, of course. The music itself, the bottom line if you will, is obviously well constructed and played with passion - it's easy to follow, without the listener necessarily being sure of where it may go. I do like the almost mysterious way it starts, and then continues in similar vein but with the funky and folky elements, and great violin playing. So yes, well done indeed. You've inspired me to seek out more of your music, on the basis of one track (and its intriguing video) alone. In the meantime, I'll play RipTide on air soon, so you can say you've had some Australian airplay.
Nothing like musical diversity. Actually, compared to No One I Know, it's very much musical diversity. It's interesting to note the differences between the other more produced, more arranged track and this far more stripped back song - where the focus is very much on the song itself. One approach is not better than the other of course; it all comes down to how well it works in terms of fitting in with the artist's intent for it. I actually like that the vocals are natural and unaffected, and the guitar playing is straightforward. The song doesn't need anything else like this. I'm sure it could work in various other ways but this is the song at the heart of it. The vocals convey enough emotion - but not excessively so - to show that there *is* heart to it, too. What I know right now is that within two tracks, I've seen the diversity of your music. I don't know which way it might lean more than the other, or if there's other ways it might go too, but I get the impression you like to go your own way with it regardless, so if you needed any encouragement I'd say it's a good approach to keep pursuing! Appropriately simple video, too.
Intriguing! I found the song itself to be - not so much "catchy" in a straightforward pop kind of way, but it "caught" my attention and held it all the way through. In fact, I was only saying the other day how I've heard so much music in my time that it takes a lot to impress me these days, and I think you just managed it! The trick seems to be to make the song accessible enough that it doesn't distract the listener from itself with excessive cleverness. Yet still it's brooding and captivating at the same time. This is all from the first listening; I think I'll need to listen more (and happy to do so) to explore the lyrics which I didn't try to focus on, as I was too busy getting into the overall feel. First impressions and everything..! Interesting production techniques and musical construction add to a track that I find both accessible and pleasingly slightly disturbing. :) The B&W nature of the video seems appropriate, as does the fact its story isn't immediately apparent. I get the impression the shoot may have been relatively straightforward but post-production may have taken a fair amount of time? To its credit, the song works equally well with or without the video. Big thanks for sending it my way - happy to spread the word. I hope it all leads to the level of success you desire!
I like the mix of acoustic and electronic instruments, and the subtle way they work together, as opposed to one trying to overwhelm the other. The song itself benefits from this approach with its subtle feel. It is somewhat difficult to describe the vocal style - the best I can come up with is that it's "human", by which I mean it doesn't sound over-synthesised or treated but is there with what comes across as real human emotion, and a human "imperfection" at times that somehow makes it stand out more as a result. Interestingly, the song needs to be heard at least twice on first listening - once for the music and once to listen to the lyrics properly. That was my experience, anyway! The production works to my ears as well; I like the way different instruments subtly become more apparent at different times - as I hear it anyway. I should be able to find a place for it on my show here in South Australia, and will put a link on the show blog afterwards. Thanks for sharing!
I'm finding it interesting how many songs are coming my way here where, despite being quite different genres altogether, there is a shared willingness to go a bit beyond the perceived expectations of a style and to keep the listener's interest by keeping them guessing. In this case, the heavy chords of a metal song herald what could have been a straight-ahead aural assault but then almost immediately, the shifting of time signatures add what could be called a prog-rock element. Then the vocals come in and rather than being a screamfest, there is a definite melodic quality that actually fits with the feel of the song, rather than seeming incongruous. Listening to the vocals by themselves as best I could (it's still a loud and heavy track however you approach it), I thought they could maybe fit with much earlier styles such as 80s bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as well as they do here, although the production on this track is of a more modern variety. I like the way heaviness-upon-heaviness is added to the overall sound as the song progresses too. Lyrics like “I’ve been as beautiful as you make me” may not be quite what's expected in such a song either - which only adds to the whole effect of going beyond expectations as mentioned earlier. All of which, to me, adds up to a song with a "melodic assault" (I just made that up) that not only keeps the listener's interest but would most likely make them want to explore the band in more depth.
This is a good strong song, both lyrically and musically. The vocals are also melodic and carry the right amount of emotion for the theme. It's interesting that while some songs with a similar "you can do it" focus can become bogged down by cliches or platitudes, this one doesn't come across as talking down to its listener. I guess that would come down to lyrics such as “Paint a picture with your battle scars”, which is not standard fare, particularly if it is being used in the context of a childrens' campaign. The track is substantial enough to carry its message but simple enough to be memorable, which is important if you're trying to implant its lyrics in people's minds! It's not over-produced either - everything works well together without needing a continual aural assault. The song does deserve wide exposure, and getting it known via Fluence is one good way! I'm sure you've put your mind to various other methods, including maybe trying to get it heard on college / community radio, or NPR? Worth a try.
Well, that's a little intriguing! Its a melodic song with a memorable chorus, and could easily be considered "commercial" if one wanted to think in such terms. But the production and arrangement with its interesting use of light and shade, and interplay of acoustic and electric instruments, gives the track a less obvious (and therefore more interesting) progression than standard commercial fare. Seems to me the idea behind it is indeed to lure the listener in with a straightforward enough melody, and then mess with their mind a little. Only a little, and in a not at all unpleasant way. If so, I'd say it's a success. If not, it's still true anyway. The production suits the song, and effects such as the occasional stop / start and utilising various instruments' textures only when needed all work in favour of the song, while still perhaps giving an insight into the creative processes of the artist. The overall effect, with this being the first TashHagz track I've heard, is of piqued interest. In which case, job well done. "TashHagz". I just got the joke.
I clicked "Like It" because I really do! I'm not sure why it might be described as "not radio friendly" - perhaps for the unadventurous stations, but I'm sure there would be plenty of college / community stations happy to play it. Maybe it's the rough edges (or what might be considered such) in the vocals and performance that might be a sticking point, but a) I think they may be intentional, and b) they help to give the song a certain individuality too. A very melodic song, with generally a classic sound and structure. It's well produced but not over produced, which I think is important. The vocals are appropriately emotional and the arrangement comes across as well considered. I can see why the various influences are mentioned, with elements of various 60s to 90s bands (to speak very generally) but somehow it all works well together, and the song becomes one that's enjoyable the first time, and easily lends itself to further listens. What's it about? It's about five minutes. You're welcome.
Would it mean anything to you if I said I was reminded of '90s Australian band Boom Crash Opera? Probably not! It's a good sign, anyway. One of the first things to strike me was the production - well defined, clear and definitely with a professional sound overall. This is fortunate as the song really needs that clarity with its light-and-shade arrangement, to give the various mood changes the maximum effect they deserve, and get. I'll admit that as the song started, I thought it was good but with a very familiar tempo and what seemed to be a standard kind of structure. None the worse for that, but I thought if that was all there was, then it's just another well written, well played song without too much to distinguish it. I guess you proved me wrong before too long! The upsurge and - what's the opposite of that, downsurge? - of the guitar is effective and appropriate, the more reflective sections equally so. The vocals are strong and fit the music as it progresses and changes. The arrangement did keep this listener's interest all the way along, as it should. The song does rock but it does more than that. Definitely a good, strong track and a fine introduction to the work of 22HERTZ.
Well that's a contagious song you have there! Even though its general influences seem to be apparent - a Motown kind of feel to the rhythm, maybe a slight Dexy's Midnight Runners sound to the brass in the arrangement, and I don't know if it's just me, but maybe even a hint of a jazzier George Harrison to the melody line in places - it's still clearly an original song which is very easy to enjoy. The vocals are emotive without being excessively so, the playing is excellent individually and collectively and it's certainly a full sound, again because it suits the song itself, without overwhelming it. You're clearly all enjoying it too, as well you should, and that would have to inevitably influence the audience the same way. I really can't think of any negatives. The song, the playing, the arrangement and production and mix of brass and string sections all combine very effectively - I also like songs that have an opening line that hints at something that's already been said that the listener hasn't heard, so "I repeat...." works for me as a starter too. The video works well to show the personality of the band as well, which is important whether you're "together" in a shot or not! So altogether, definitely colour me impressed. Hope things go well for you, because you have the type of music that could definitely be considered "commercial" but clearly has real heart and soul beyond that.
It's very thoughtful of you to write a song on the subject, so that if anyone is in the situation, they can just post a link to it rather than have to say it to the guilty party themselves. But then of course, if the recipient likes the song, they might want to see your band play which I imagine you would then have to discourage. Funny thing, irony. An easy song to enjoy, though.
OK, there's a few aspects that are likely to intrigue a viewer or listener enough to want to keep listening to or watching this piece. The didge itself of course is still an exotic instrument to many people but even if not, it's interesting to see the artist play various percussive instruments at the same time. The visuals are not only appropriate but there's some really nice use of angles and landscapes - altogether very creatively handled, such as the use of night time scenes nearer the end. I wonder if there is a particular purpose for the music itself, though? In other words, is it meant to be meditative or trance-like in which case I can easily see it working as such. Or is it meant to be a "listening experience" on its own - if so, it might be somewhat repetitive in terms of rhythm and pace and could possibly do with a little more light and shade in the arrangement? Although as a "music and visuals" package, I think it works very well just as it is. There's very clear talent on display with the use of breath and control of the instrument, in any case. Certainly a good introduction to the artist's work. Thanks for submitting it.
I think "simple but effective" would sum up both the song and the video. In both cases, it starts minimally but builds at a gradual and appropriate pace and certainly didn't lose my attention along the way. It was obviously done on a budget, shall we say, but is none the worse for that, in fact it might all work together very nicely. I like the build of the music from subtle to rockier, keeping the listener's interest as it progresses by means of the uncertainty as to where the song may go - will it remain on a steady course or explode into something else at some point? It's not necessarily a standard structure for a song in that sense, which may be another reason for its effectiveness. When variations do come along in the song or the visuals, they are more noticeable than if it was a constant assault on the senses. Overall, a melodic well performed song with a clear mix and a confident performance, though it's uncertain from the video if it's the artist playing all the instruments or if a band is involved. Nonetheless, the thought and care put into the whole thing is apparent, and appreciated.
If there was ever a topic that required a sensitive approach, this is it, and that's exactly how it's been done. Trying to get into the mind of such a subject would be difficult, but it is approached in an appropriate and non-maudlin way. Needing to remember 'to keep us alive' is a really nice thought to bear in mind. I wonder if the keyboard solo is a little "busy" comparatively, though? Still a good instrumental and vocal performance from all concerned.
It looks good and the music works well and is professionally presented overall. Maybe it assumes that people already know the meaning of the word "curator" in this context, though? If someone watches the video as a standalone with no prior knowledge of Fluence, it may not be immediately clear - maybe something like "expert" or similar for a promo video could be useful.
An intriguing, melodic intro leading into a continually intriguing song. Not just the music but the lyrics clearly have more depth than the standard, inane "I love you, do you love me?" type. I'm not sure I'd call it 'gloom' though, I think it just delves a bit more deeply than usual into the emotions of the listener. I have no problem with the length; it gives the song the time it needs to expand naturally. I also like the way the riff is almost pop in its structure to contrast the overall feel but still fits anyway! It does sound a bit like a home production but is none the worse for that. A solid effort overall.