Tag Archives: Australian

As Above, So Below the latest from Stonefield

For a bit of background, Stonefield, originally started as Iota, however a cabaret singer of the same name arced up and so they cast around for a new name and settled on Stonefield a reflection on the gravel and volcanic rockiness of their home town in Victoria Australia.  The group came to prominence after winning the Triple J Unearthed competition for new bands in 2010. Its part of their website and a band can upload songs for the the wider audience to listen and comment on and for the judges to decide on an annual winner.  The girls started in the shed and cite their influences as Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, and Hendrix. Tastes imbued growing up the sounds of those great iconic acts permeated their world.

 

mi0004099285Stonefield are four sisters who punch out some solid rock.  Amy on drums and vocals, Hannah started out with the guitar and now has more tricks than a circus monkey.  Sarah is on keyboards and Holly fills out the band being the bass player.

This album is certainly heavier than their previous outings, and they started high and continue to soar.  Sister starts off proceedings with a good dose of loud crashing guitar and solid rhythm. The vocals as in all the tracks are not laid in there not over doing it, but part of the song, the music takes precedence and yet Amy’s vocals are clear, ethereal and distinct. There aren’t typical pop songs on this album, but the core of it is a rock music outing that is more about the whole album than picking a song and putting it on high rotation playlists.

The band delves into deeper psychedelic rock flavours in particular on Dream the second track. Changes takes a different tack, more melodious and harmonies from the girls give it a great feel and easy to like, its a great track that is probably my favourite.  Strangers is the shortest track of the set, with a groovy rolling bass line throughout. Regardless of genre and labels, these are great rock songs to listen to and the sisters who’ve been doing this since 2012 when they first appeared from the wilderness.

Eyes, is a slower ‘Zeppelin’ type number, perhaps not with the soaring solo’s of Jimmy Page, but the guitar work is really tight and solid with a lingering distortion.  The layered keyboards also gives this a Deep Purple feel too. Midnight is a departure into a slow ballad style song with the keyboards of Sarah being highlighted, slower and sensual and easy to get lost in. Lonely is another rocker, and then Eagle the ultimate track ebbs and flows along its entirety weaving a musical and vocal soundscape.

Stonefield bring the rock, these girls put on a good show, and clearly spend time writing songs and then building them into gems.  Changes, Midnight and Eagle are my favourites on this album. As Above, So Below is a great outing from this all girl, all family rock band and impresses!

 

Finely Crafted, Psychedelic Nuanced Blues-Rock

Firstly thank you Jamie from Dukes Vega for making contact, and giving me the opportunity to listen and review another Victorian rock band.

Fresh from the  heart pounding vigour of The Revenators, and not knowing what to expect, Dukes Vega provides me with a strong link to the era of the late sixties, early seventies.  The band is also genre bending in that they may have influences from the great maestro’s like Led Zeppelin, a hint of 13th Floor Elevators, Stooges, The Doors, with subtle hints of later bands like the seminal Jesus & Mary Chain.  Good news though, they are playing a live show at Music Man in Bendigo on Saturday, March 19th.  (its early in the review but i like what I am hearing so go and see these guys!)

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This band does it well. I found myself engrossed in the slow meandering tale of Lizard that was like enhancing day dreams, taking me out of the chair and into the verdant hills of a faraway land. Packing lots of punch, great delivery and full of great bluesy riffs and hooks.

Promoted to go on and listen to the rest of the work available on the album this is a great album to play from go to woe as it really draws on all the essential elements of rock, blues,  and psychedelia. The later is a rich vein throughout the bands work however it’s not overloading the underlying pulse of the blues which the band builds on.  The other great aspect is these songs are crafted to build, plateau and then find a strong denouement like individual short stories.  They are not short hip, poppy dance numbers, these are songs we older folks grew up with, Dutch Tilders, Billy Miller and the Great Blokes, Mick Pealing, Spectrum, there is a strong Melbourne rock lineage in this band and they would be right at home in a pub gig, pumping it at a college ball, or on stage at the Bendigo Blues & Roots Festival.  The pulsing harmonica drum opening of Same Forms gets one eyebrow up and then thinking about other bands that can do it start to come to mind.

For me, its always hard to choose the best of the best, however if I must, these are some that will give you en entree to the workings of Dukes Veda.  I’ll add the link to the bands sites below.   To start with Stoned, Lizard (Tuesday Blues) are two that really highlight the craft of the band and they should give you the listener incentive to indulge like a naughty kid with a box of cupcakes in the rest of the tracks.  Free takes you on another long traditional blues rock journey, interesting it was like the last cupcake, left me wanting a bit more, and thats a good thing.  The songs are crafted, layered and built up, rather than stick to a traditional 12 bar format, and that takes the format and bends it into something new and exciting, with solo’s, faster tempo, slower grinding beats, and that resonance and fuzz to give it another tinge of the surreal.

Dukes Veda Facebook Page

Dukes Veda

Dukes Veda does the old masters justice and are well worth a listen. The whole album is a bargain so help the guys out and get to see them ,or canvas a local venue and get the rock/blues enthusiasts along to enjoy the show. You’ll be surprised how many people out there love the blues and hearing it played live in whatever form it takes.  This was treat!

Week Commencing 2nd October

Dynamic Hepnotics – Take You Higher.

This was a successful eighties rock/soul/funk band with founding member “Continental” Robert Susz, that produced a terrific album in Take You Higher. Continental Bob moved on to form “The Mighty Reapers” after the Hepnotics folded, however he left behind a terrific album that has a heap of catchy soul tunes on it. Some hits in “Gotta be the wrong way to love” and “Soul kind of Feeling”.

It’s an album that can be missed and folks would be none the wiser if they hadn’t heard those great songs. The Mighty Reapers continued this same sound afterwards and Robert Susz also plays and gigs around the country.