Review – The Sapphires

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The Sapphires is a crowd-pleasing musical comedy drama film that entertains its audience through infectious soul music and the incredible cast. The film has a lot of heart and the narrative is infused with an inherent sense of honesty.

 

The film mirrors a lot of African-American films where the Negros face racism and discrimination from White people and it’s a tale depicting the adversity they faced.

For example, the beginning of the film is set in a rural area in the Outback of Australia and it depicts the idyllic lifestyle for an Indigenous Australian – one where they can co-exist with nature and family.

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While similar films such as Dreamgirls and The Commitments have tackled similar issues, The Sapphires differentiates itself by having a rich screenplay that also tackles inclusive themes such as a family fighting for a better life while at the same time coming to terms with their painful past – themes that all individuals have experienced as everyone has experienced hardship before. The merits of doing so is that through humour, pathos and musical choices, the narrative of this film shines because the screenplay sets the story against the historic context of Australia’s scandalous treatment of its Aboriginal population and ties the infectious and sassy elements of music with the serious and racist moments in Australian history.

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The film is often praised for its stellar cast where Chris O’Dowd’s character was a great comedic device and all 4 of the main actresses turn in impressive performances that showcase not only their vocal talents, but also their ability to connect with one another and the audience. Each character had their own time and way to shine by each having clashing personalities.

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However, the film needs to be criticised for having stereotypical characters. For example,

Julie: the one with the talent

Gail: the one with the chip on her shoulder

Cynthia: the one with libido

Kay: the cute and innocent one.

However, while one can use this as an example of inclusive communication because they’re relatable, it’s a criticism because the characters become stale, predictable and repetitive. Another criticism regarding the film is that the film doesn’t take risks and it does follow a standard formula.

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However, this crowd pleasing film received a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival and most critics agree that there’s a strange comfort in watching a film where any battle – from family feud to one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century – can be eased by singing and dancing regardless of skin colour.


Lin Yang

Flume – Wall Fuck

Last week Australian electronic producer Flume, or the golden boy as I like to refer to him, released a new track from his Skin LP, titled Wall Fuck. The perhaps a little jarring title accurately reflects the sudden bouncing around from soaring layered vocals to hard hitting trap drums. However all these little pieces weave together beautifully in the end. I’ll be honest, the first couple times I listened to it I wasn’t a fan, but the more I listened to it the more I loved it.

Flume’s Skin LP drops May 27.

Tuesday Tunes #3

Australian indie pop band San Cisco continue to impress, dropping their sophomore album last week, titled Gracetown. This album is a delightful blend of fun, upbeat tracks as well as some deep soul-searching, moving songs.

Standout tracks: Too Much Time Together, About You, Skool

Action Bronson dropped a video for Actin Crazy, which is just well, crazy! It weird and wacky as hell and the beat on that song is just so sick.

Mumford and Sons have gone electronic with their new song Believe. It is sure to set up waves of arguments in the Youtube comment section but I think it is a powerful, soulful track, with elements of their folk sound still present. The moment when the electric guitar solo kicks in with the pounding drums evokes such a visceral feeling.

Finally Kanye’s All Day has been released. The song was first premiered at the Brit Awards, where he gave an absolutely vicious performance, with a hundred-strong crowd and flamethrowers on stage. It is by far the most aggressive track he has unveiled from his new Album, So Help Me God.

Here’s the playlist on Spotify.

Enjoy!

Tuesday Tunes #2

Tkay Maidza kicks off this week’s Tuesday Tunes. Her new track M.O.B brings us her unique blend of electronic music and rap. It’s a sure bet for a party starter!

Paces, a producer for Tkay on her Triple J Hottest 100 track Switch Lanes, recently dropped a track called Nothing’s Forever. It features Kučka on the vocals and it is a gorgeous banger.

UP and coming producer UV boi فوق بنفسجي from Brisbane released an excellent remix of Australian rapper Citizen Kay’s Chosen. I love the heavy-hitting syncopated bass hits, which seem to be a signature of UV boi.

Finally as summer down under is drawing to a close, have a listen to the classic, Summer Breeze, covered by the Isley Brothers. Put this on, relax and let the good times roll.

Enjoy!

Tuesday Tunes #1

New Tunes Tuesday is going to be a weekly post where I share my favourite songs from the past week.

To kick things off, Florence + the Machine has announced their new album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. The titular track features minimal vocals, instead showing off a glorious brass ensemble.

She also released What Kind of Man, a kick-ass rock anthem, with a driving guitar and her signature powerful vocals. It is truly Florence at her best.

Her album comes out June 1st.

Meanwhile, Kanye West unveiled the first track off his new album, titled Wolves. It seems to combine the harsh electro production of Yeezus with the auto-tuned vocals from 808s and Heartbreak. The track seems fairly subdued and hopefully leads into an absolute banger.

Kendrick Lamar also released a new track, titled The Blacker The Berry. Fresh of his Grammy win for I, a track which some felt was too poppy and feel good, this is in total contrast. The beat is aggressive and Kendrick is viciously spitting fire. He is conflicted about the issue of racial violence and also the double standard, illustrated in the powerful couplet,

So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?
When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me?
Hypocrite!

A fantastic analysis of the track can be found here.

To round it up, Odesza who released a fantastic album last year, dropped a remix of We Belong, by RAC. It is one of those tracks that makes you feel so warm inside.

I’ve compiled these into a Spotify Playlist and I’ll be updating it each week. Not all of the tracks have been fully released yet, but I’ll add them when they are.

As always, enjoy!

Indestructible – SNSD

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“Indestructible” is a new track from SNSD’s Japanese greatest hits collection and in true SNSD Japan fashion, it’s a familiar girl group sound with impeccable production. Everything about this song is pretty — the subdued R&B-influenced verses, the forcefully graceful chorus, the sweeping instrumentals, the snappy piano line. It’s a pleasant song, something I wouldn’t mind setting as my alarm — and of course the deal-breaker is that it’s well-executed. It’s not ground-breaking, nothing on this song is new or revolutionary, but it’s such a pleasure to listen to. And we all need songs like this in our libraries — songs we genuinely enjoy listening to. In a sense these qualities give “Indestructible” a timeless quality. This is a song that will still sound timely years from now.


Lin Yang

 

Swelo – People Say (Cover)

Swelo is a math teacher. Yeah that’s right. But he also makes damn cool music. I was hooked on the album he released last year, titled Escalator Music, and today he released a cover of one of my favourite bands, Portugal. The Man’s ‘People Say’. Usually I have a tough time with covers because I inevitably compare the two and the cover has to be as good if not better than the original for me to enjoy it. On this track Swelo absolutely nails it, adding his own electronic, groovy flavour to the song. Enjoy!

You can check out his album HERE.

Misterwives – Reflections EP

I haven’t made a music post in a while so what better way to make a return than to talk about Misterwives’ debut EP Reflections! Their EP has been out since the start of the year and if you haven’t heard it yet then listen to it now. It is everything that makes a debut EP great – you can clearly hear their distinct flavour and they offer a variety of sounds on this record. Their music is great – its the kind where you want to just singalong and dance around without a care in the world. Reflections is the stand-out track, with lead vocalist Mandy Lee’s gorgeous voice shining throughout, while Vagabond has an infectiously pulsating chorus. Enjoy!

As an added bonus, Reflections was remixed into a delicious EDM track by Milkman. So put this on at your next party and be the envy of all your friends.

Chrome Sparks – Goddess

Goddess is the title track from Chrome Sparks’s forthcoming EP. It is a really broad, vast track, creating a diverse and incredible soundscape as you listen. After a gradual buildup, the song climaxes, with a multitude of funky rhythms bouncing off each other like fireflies dancing in the night, while the glorious melody just absolutely sings on top. Eventually the track slowly dims down, back to nothingness, which is when I press play, to feel the journey all over again.


Jeremy


UH-EE – CRAYON POP

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Okay, so Crayon Pop aka Slayon Pop aka The Divine 5 have made a comeback with their hit single “UH-EE!” this past week, and world peace is now a reality!
So the song, or production, best described as a techno-old-Korean-trot-song has a very simple, but addicting techno beat that only seems to be comprised of some quick hitting synths, snares and cymbals. The main beat, with its infectious end riff is very Crayon Pop, which helps Crayon Pop both solidify their own music style, and give their fans what they know to love about this Korean act.

What I love most about this song is that it’s not so much inviting, but demanding to be loved and danced to. Crayon Pop’s strength is not their songs, but they’re choreography, so why not do a dance-in-a-box song which you can actually have fun to?tumblr_n3bkzwFSFG1rxq8syo5_250

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The dance, aside from being seemingly manic, is fun to watch and Crayon Pop sells it well. There’s a ton of movement and Crayon Pop looks like they’re participating in some tribal war ceremony as often as they look like they’re dancing. It borders on exhausting to watch but the earnestness with which Crayon Pop attacks the choreography stops things from becoming laughable.tumblr_n3bkzwFSFG1rxq8syo6_250

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Crayon Pop not only marches to the beat of their own drum, they aggressively don’t care about embarrassment and use that to their advantage to gain publicity. And while that can be off-putting to those who aren’t on Crayon Pop’s wavelength (and don’t wish to be), the group has managed to do what few groups can; carve out an identifiable image for themselves.

“UH-EE” is unapologetically Crayon Pop-espque in its wardrobe, choreography and direction and while niches always run the risk of putting themselves into corners, with “UH-EE” Crayon Pop proves that they have the power to just dance all over those naysayers and have the last laugh, because they dun give a damn.

I’d just LOVE to see you TRY not to dance in the club with this playing, because I know I will be!

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Lin Yang