REVIEW: Charcoal by Riordan Stewart-Macdougall

Riordan Stewart-MacDougall, the girl with the pink guitar is back with her third release Charcoal. From the opening chords of the opening track All To Find You, we’re encountering a side to Riordan that we haven’t encountered. The lyrics are a touch more serious and mature, with the song structure highlighting love lost and love regained. It’s still got that Riordan vibe that we have all come to know, but the follow-up and title track Charcoal takes us into a very different direction. Deep piano chords combined with a synthesized string section stand out. Perhaps the most notable area of the title track is the lyrics – lines such as “Just a boy, just a girl – won’t pretend it’s you and me. Skyscrapers falling down, try to build them up. Burnt red cities and towns, whisper songs we won’t forget…” bring a darker shade to Riordan’s music we haven’t heard before. Charcoal is deservedly the title track – it is a powerful and moving track.

Take Me sounds immediately familiar a drumbeat and bassline akin to I’ll Be Watching You by Sting. Riordan adds a new twist by turning this into a worship song we can all sing along to. It would not surprise me to hear this one become a familiar song in churches in the coming weeks and years to come. Again, the lyrics show just show far Riordan has come lyrically, engaging with some darker topics but highlighting how God comes through at the end of the day. The Places We Go is a lighter pop-inspired track that deals with love won, love lost and the healing of wounds. A catchy chord structure and addictive rhythm section will keep this in your head for the rest of the day.

The final track Give Me My Heart is a significant departure from the rest of the EP. With piano and a synthesized beat, Riordan puts the pink guitar aside and lets the production and her vocals do the work. By the second verse, you can tell the song is working on a crescendo that seems to peak by the end of the third chorus. It is great to hear a young artist like Riordan take on a new platform and genre – and Give Me My Heart is a great way to experiment in a new area. Hopefully we can hear more from Riordan in this vein into the future.

Charcoal is one of those EP’s that shows how far an artist has come. Riordan’s songwriting and lyric matter have come a long way since her last release and Charcoal signifies a bit of a departure from the girl with the pink guitar. What we see now is an artist who is venturing into different genres and showing she can excel in all of them.

Charcoal from Riordan Stewart-MacDougall is out now on iTunes and Spotify:

The Updraft Imperative releases new single ‘Luna’

Queensland’s The Updraft Imperative have released a new single entitled ‘Luna‘. Heavily inspired by the tales of child trafficking and sexual abuse that are shared across the globe,  Luna delivers powerful lyrics and combined with a simple, yet powerful song structure – it really hits home.

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Another Language release debut EP ‘Shoulder to the Sun’

Brisbane-based funk/rock outfit Another Language have released their debut EP Shoulder to the Sun on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else you can get music. While it is only early in 2017 – this is a strong contender for release of the year.

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Available at the Counter release new EP “Takeout’s A Treat” + New Video

Available At The Counter 02Western Australian pop-punk band Available At The Counter have released their eagerly anticipated EP entitled Takeout’s A Treat. The opening track is the favourite track Not What I Ordered – the light-hearted guitars and pop-punk beat is still fun to listen to. The second track, This Time Round is a slightly more “punk” effort. More MxPx and less Good Charlotte – if you’re a fan of strong riffs then you’ll get a kick out of this. The final track of the three song EP is Third Time’s A Charm. It’s definitely the most serious track on the release, and they have definitely saved the best until last. Chad’s vocals add an extra dimension of power in the chorus, taking the whole track to an extra level.

To celebrate the release of the EP, Available At The Counter have released a new video to accompany the second track  – This Time Round. The video is dedicated to beloved Sydney-based promoter Justin Nichol from Zed Vegas Bookings. It’s in a similar vein to their previous video for Not What I Ordered, which matches the tone of the song; light, fun-filled and good times.

Takeout’s A Treat is available at the Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis. Check it out below, and drop them a few dollars if you like what you’re hearing.



REVIEW: Roar by Melissa Merrett

Melissa Merrett, the worship leader at Healing Life Ministries in Adelaide has released her debut solo album Roar. The album is the product of almost two years of writing and recording, following an inspiration from the Holy Spirit to step out and release music under her own name. As a worship leader, the themes of the album focus on the worshipful and soulful, taking simple aspects of life and reminding the listener to take time to recognise the Lord and all he has done.

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We Are The Outpost release new single ‘Vanity Mirror’

wearetheoutpost02Sydney’s We Are The Outpost have released their newest single Vanity Mirror. The guitar-driven track is reminiscent of the Mars Volta meets Coheed & Cambria, delivering an atmospheric twist that dives and climbs across the full four minutes.

The first thing you’ll notice in the track are the vocals, the soft voice of Ethan Vigilone takes you on the first twist of the journey as he traverses the compelling guitar sounds across the opening verse and launching into the first chorus. The drums are another important character in this escapade – while they begin simply across the first verse, as soon as the first chorus kicks in they begin to become sparse, which works beautifully. I imagine it would have been hard to resist overplaying initially, as the bass begins to climb across the first chorus, second verse and second chorus.

Come the 3 minute mark, you realise the full extent of the journey you’re on. The bass switches to funk-inspired bassline as a synthesiser sounds kicks in and dances in tandem with the guitar. Once the 3 minute 40 mark kicks in, you’d be hard pressed not to feel the full swing of the track.

Keep an eye out for We Are The Outpost in the coming few weeks – they’ve been teasing a few major announcements – hopefully they include an album and a tour.

Vanity Mirror is available exclusively through Spotify – have a stream of it below.