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Let us die, let us die, and dying we reply:

someday I’ll find me.”


These two lines bookend the discography of mewithoutYou. One screamed out in anguish, in a voice furious at the world and itself, already resigned to a darker fate; one sung peacefully, almost with acceptance, as if the 16 years inbetween were just a pitstop on a lifelong journey of self-discovery. What a stop it was, though: crafty foxes and existential elephants, porcupines with threatening auras and spiders on leaves, apocalyptic prophecies and silly little fables. I could write for days and not begin to sift the multitudes mewithoutYou contained – truly, if any band has ever had cause to lay claim to being more than just the members it was comprised of, this was the one. Perhaps if I stick to their final night, I may find the words before the world ends.

mewithoutYou played their last show on August 20th 2022, and it’s hard to ask for a better setlist with which to say goodbye. Having burned through the big fan favourites on night one, the second night of the farewell tour was almost wall-to-wall deep cuts that would never get airtime within the confines of a normal tour. From their early rippers, receiving one final acknowledgement (god did “Bullet to Binary” go off though) to mid-career deep cuts that rank as some of the band’s best (“Nine Stories”, “The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate” and the bizarrely overlooked “Bethlehem, WV”) to a…

Shoegaze is a big genre and this is a big fucking post.

Cut out 10-15 minutes for yourself, and away we go…



I feel that practically everyone listens to shoegaze in some form or another, but what landmarks or band-families this entails varies surprisingly wildly depending on who you ask. Shoegaze is old and it’s big: 30+ years is easily enough time for successive generations of bed-headed indie fucks and aesthete space cadets to carve out their own fuzzy atmospheres and dish them into the proximity of every single other genre that looks good in mood lighting (and a few that don’t). Back in its ‘90s heyday, shoegaze was panned for being homogenous and turgid, guitar music’s version of an overused slow-motion effect, but it grown so many variants across so many styles that these remarks’ failure to pick up on its creative potential is case-closed moot. 

All of which amounts to quite a lot. How do you navigate it? Who’s the next step if you never made it past My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive? What’s your ticket to mothership if your main exposure is from mayfly albums on the fringes of Bandcamp? What if you’re up to your arse in Deftones and Beach House and still aren’t sure whether real shoegaze is worth the money? Aren’t there any acts who’ve done something surprising or exciting with the genre? Why gaze in the first place?

If only through its sheer size,

My Video1

Older is a dark album. Forget about all of those broody metalheads sporting warpaint and screaming about Satan over blast beats and tremolo-picked guitars, this album is genuinely dark, palpably agonising and it uses an array of styles in order to emit the nuances of Michael’s anguish and cognitive dissonance. At this point, for the uninitiated, you’re probably asking yourself how the hell George Michael, one of the biggest pop artists of the eighties and nineties, went from being a bubbly popstar sensation who sang about being on the dole and having steamy sex over archaic synthesiser, to crafting intensely emotive songs in an almost unrecognisable fashion? Welcome to post-mortem, the essay series that deep-dives into some of my most revered works. Whether you’re a fan of George Michael’s very modest volume of work or not, Older is nevertheless an intriguing monster bathed in sorrow, confusion and, surprisingly, optimism over what George was going through between the time of Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 and his seminal masterpiece, Older. On a personal level, George Michael’s third album is one of my all-time favourite albums and as such, is easily Michael’s magnum opus (which isn’t to be trifled with when you consider every one of his works are, at the very least, excellent). However, what makes Older such an interesting case study is how it was birthed on, arguably, some of the darkest events of Michael’s entire life. These events would cement his direction in 1996; an album that would take…


Post-mortem: We Are Chaos

Marilyn Manson’s career has been an eventful one, there’s no denying that, but what I find particularly interesting is how he manages to find reinvention at the most crucial moments – to the point where it’s as if he knows his relevance is on the guillotine. It’s no secret that he’s had a lot of ups and downs in his three decades of making music. The man fluctuates between two personas: a profound prophet, and a lowbrow, brainless jester – admittedly donning the latter more than the former – and I’m convinced he’s completely self-aware of these two personalities. The bit that makes him so fascinating and by association enduring, is that just when you’re about to write him off for good, slipping on the banana peel for the umpteenth time, landing firmly on his face and writhing around on the floor with a pathetic desperation, he somehow manages to bounce back stronger than before. At this point I just account this rare pattern of events to be Manson’s Thing. Seldom do you see an artist rebound like this guy does.

By the turn of the ‘10s, I had at this point long accepted that Marilyn Manson was over the hill – he wrote a timeless and classic trilogy of albums and proceeded those works with a decade of solid-to-average follow-ups for the LOLs. To be honest, this story is an age-old one for a vast majority of bands, but then…

The Little Engine That Could

A four-part series by MarsKid

[Part I] || [Part II] || [Part III] || [Part IV]

Part IV: Changing the Game

On paper, detractors that remained in the metalcore scene had plenty of ammunition in 2016. After years of providing the most chaotic brand of the genre to hit a mainstream audience, The Dillinger Escape Plan announced that they were terminating the band, concluding an enviable career with their swan song Dissociation. Their counterparts in Converge, though not absent from the scene, had not released new material since 2012, creating a subtle sense of doubt over whether or not there would be more to come. In the prog-core circle, proceedings apparently reached a grinding halt once key groups began to falter late in their career, in part due to personnel alterations. Erra presented Drift, which was caught in the shadow of Augment — a tall task to defeat such an influential record, in fairness — while Northlane began a steady decline in quality. Younger acts that took up the mantle were similarly faltering; Invent, Animate disappeared following Stillworld and lost a critical component when vocalist Ben English decided to depart from the band. For those that desired another surge in the creativity of the underground or the progress metal crossover realm, the classification seemed to have launched headfirst into a brick wall and shattered, with little…

The Little Engine That Could

A four-part series by MarsKid

[Part I] || [Part II] || [Part III] || [Part IV]

Part III: Death of a Genre?

What exactly causes a genre of music to ‘die’? The concept is used commonly, yet the specific definition shifts depending on who utters it. For some observers, a category experiencing a demise means that it has lost any and all creativity. Others contend it occurs when, as far as mainstream coverage is concerned, the genre appears to lose whatever relevance it had. In an extreme case, there may be so few named players in a scene that it might as well be declared obsolete. If anything, I find that the latter explanation seems most appropriate. First, the concept often supplied of ‘lacking imagination’ is less of a “genre is dead” scenario and more of a case of stagnation. Groups still exist in the classification — perhaps even in high amounts — but none of them are diverging from the classics that led to their emergence. Secondly, the mainstream is a poor judge of measuring viability, since the underground will never receive the same press coverage. Thus, a scene where the big-league bands are struggling can give a false illustration, because what happens under their domineering popularity might be compelling. The nadirs of metalcore may not have been at the productivity witnessed years prior, but it was…

Do you ever listen to music and feel like it was made for you, when it clearly wasn’t? Sometimes even when you know an artist absolutely has not had the same experiences, something about their music feels personalized, as if they were watching your life and wrote it with you in mind. I can’t speak for the entire transgender population, obviously, but I have a theory that trans people face this more than other people. We don’t have the privilege of being surrounded by art that was created by people like us, for people like us. As much as trans music has achieved more mainstream acceptance in the past decade (looking at you, Arca, SOPHIE, and 100 Gecs), there’s still very little out there, especially for people who like music that isn’t pop-adjacent experimental electronic. I think there is a lot of discussion to be had about what makes some music so relatable to certain trans people (read: me, a trans woman). So that’s what this is about – music that isn’t specifically for or by trans people that feels like it is.

First on my list is “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” by Sheena Easton. This song is very traditional in its portrayal of gender roles, glorifying a man who works hard to find his (narrating) wife waiting for him when he gets back home, fucks her that night, and then continues the cycle the next day. It’s understandable that from an outside perspective, this…

The Little Engine That Could

A four-part series by MarsKid

[Part I] || [Part II] || [Part III] || [Part IV]

Part II: Underground Alone

The blueprints for post-metalcore had been amassed over the course of the 1990s. Once the genre began near the early 2000s and stepped into a new century, the efforts of groups past started to coalesce into products that combined their influences into the primary works of the post-metalcore catalogue. The overarching category as a whole was readying to embark upon a renaissance period that would result in an explosion of new acts. A changing of the guard was occurring as the hardcore acts of yesteryear passed the torch on to nascent crews. Those that survived the shifting of years, like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, and Zao continued to accrue relevance, with the former two bands hitting their stride in the initial half of the new decade — Miss Machine would arrive in 2004, while the iconic Jane Doe would storm the metal world in 2001, forever changing the category it was attached to. It was in this period that an affinity for melody was championed, which found a home in the spacey soundscapes of Hopesfall and the addicting passages of Misery Signals. Norma Jean was starting to wreak havoc. Underoath was slowly starting…

The Little Engine That Could

A four-part series by MarsKid

[Part I] || [Part II] || [Part III] || [Part IV]

Part I: Roots

What Rolo Tomassi managed to accomplish in 2018 deserves to be remembered for decades to come. The year 2018 as a whole was a landmark for the metalcore genre in the modern era of its existence, but Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It attained mainstream attention that wasn’t matched by peers who performed a similar style. Across metal music platforms, the British collective dominated front pages and earned acclaim for a sound that wasn’t often brought to the forefront of the scene. Perhaps most surprisingly was the crossover appeal that the group cultivated; individuals that had not a care for metalcore or even metal overall discovered that the band scratched a very particular itch few other acts could offer. However, I’d argue that this phenomenon was inevitable, not shocking. It’s imperative to note that Rolo Tomassi were not an unknown entity, as their impressive body of work in the underground demonstrated a gradual progression to a magnum opus — Grievances was enough of a hint that a masterwork was imminent. Other than that fact, the precise presentation the group engaged in was a methodology that had been quietly developed in the background for years. It took a tremendous year for metalcore to expose…

I feel a certain sort of pride in knowing that the country I came from produced an artist like Nick Cave. It’s a feeling invariably mixed in with a kind of disappointment towards a lot, though far from all, of the music we’ve produced otherwise, and borderline bewilderment at how a country composed (as Australia is) 95% of quiet rural towns where nothing ever happens and there’s nothing to do produced an artist like this. An artist who somehow drew together like-minded art students like himself to bang out some of the craziest post-punk ever put to record with The Birthday Party; an artist who adapted like a chameleon to the bluesier, folksier talents of Blixa Bargeld, Thomas Wydler and the dearly missed Conway Savage in the 90s to create stunning albums that many justifiably consider his greatest work; an artist who can give us the wounded, desperate baroque love songs of No More Shall We Part in the same decade he hammered out some dirty garage rock with Grinderman and Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. In short, sometimes I wonder if Nick Cave was a total fluke.

If so, I’m happy to number one of the greatest living songwriters as my country’s lucky dice roll; it’s a distinction I’d award not just for the sheer breadth and consistency of his back catalogue, but because of Cave’s peerless ability to conjure an entire world with his words. Cave’s worlds aren’t a dark mirror reflection of our society or any cliche like that.

One of the very first things I remember loving was blink-182’s “The Rock Show”. Yeah, I was like five at the time, young as shit blah blah blah, but that put me right in the targets of blink’s music. I was the archetype of the demographic that found “The Rock Show” a refreshing change of pace from MTV’s usual fare, which at the turn of the millennium was Coldplay’s “Yellow”, Coldplay’s “Trouble”, a few spins of U2’s “Beautiful Day” and then “Yellow” again. “The Rock Show” was nothing if not a gear shift: it was short, brash and stupid, it demanded to get stuck in your head, Tom spat on the camera in the video. To me it was cool as all fuck.

I lead with this partly because “The Rock Show” is blink’s best single – one of the best singles of the 2000s, really – and partly because there’s no other way to broach the topic of Enema of the State than via what it means to the listener personally, subjectively. From the outside, it’s not hard to see why this is disposable, trashy music to some: pop-punk in general is the most maligned genre, outside of those that actually deserve it like fucking nu-metal. Pop-punk wants to get inside your head and stay there at any cost – the best pop-punk bands understood that it was a multi-approach task, pulling together not just the best hooks but the best production, the best instrumentals, and every now…

Nobody else alive can do what Childish Gambino is doing. It’s not a matter of outstanding talent in any one area: he’s far outranked at rapping by Earl, Danny and Vince, can’t dominate a singing feature like Anderson .Paak, hasn’t yet pulled together a concept album the likes of which make big waves in the scene nowadays. But the fact remains: that thing he does, that he did demonstrably, mesmerisingly, ridiculously at Coachella last weekend, is one of a kind.

I think his closest compatriot was actually Mac Miller – another rapper who, initially considered kinda embarrassing to listen to, pulled himself up through a scattershot spread of talent in basically every area. Up into something that looked from the ground like a genuine higher calling. Gambino’s mention of Mac’s name in the show’s quiet pause before an emotional “Riot” gives me hope that he thought the same. Or maybe he was just reading the room, feeling out that the crowd would be receptive to some tributes to fallen brothers – it’s hard to begrudge him that.

Donald Glover the man is brilliant because it seems like he can do everything, but Childish Gambino the artist is incredible because at any moment he might do anything. For example, he can debut a new song at Coachella with no words in English, a primitive tribal ritual which whips the crowd and striking team of backup dancers into a circle pit that feels seconds away from either transcending music entirely or

“Untitled” wouldn’t just have improved Noonday Dream if it had been recorded for the album, it’s downright essential to its entire tapestry. The song ties together an astonishing amount of this dreamy, impressionistic LP – clarifying “Towing the Line”‘s rookery-as-metaphor, contrasting the closing of “Murmurations” with its celebration of sight, unnervingly foreshadowing the ‘something in the canopy’ in “The Defeat” which makes Ben ruminate on death like the birch tree in “Untitled”. There’s actually something weirdly fitting about the thematic, like, key? to an album this distant and unaccommodating being impossible to find outside of a couple YouTube live vids, which makes you wonder if it was sidelined for giving away too much of the album’s thematic tissue. Then again, this is the dude who never released “Keiko”, so chances are he’s just fucking insane with this ‘dropping his best music’ stuff.

The definitive version of “Untitled” thus far, in this writer’s opinion.


Whatever. “Untitled” is a gorgeous piece of work, often played as an intro to “The Defeat” in live shows as above. It’s almost more powerful to read it poetically than it is to hear the words sung out loud. Birch tree lost its branch one day in violent winter / I said it was grieving, you said ‘it don’t feel nothing / I bet you think everything’s in its rightful place – that sentiment is man’s disgrace’. Howard’s lineage of imagistic lyrical masters in the folk scene – Cohen, Dylan, Drake – is…

The first things which interest me on every play of this album are the parallels between Kids See Ghosts and Pusha T’s DAYTONA. Both albums begin with a slow, surgical verse from Pusha delivered nearly a cappella; both move to a foot-stomping Track 2 built around vintage-sounding guitars with a hint of psychedelia; both repurpose soundbites with positive intentions and turn them to their own twisted ends. (To that last point, “Come Back Baby”‘s flip of Mighty Hannibal’s anti-drug “The Truth Shall Make You Free” as an intro to, uh, a drug song is one of Kanye’s best black comedy moments, while “4th Dimension”’s creepy sample is where the album veers closest to its surreal cover art). This isn’t a direct one-to-one comparison, though, and it’s the divergences between the albums which colour them as much as their similarities. While DAYTONA doubles down on Pusha’s ice-cold raps in its second half, Kids See Ghosts starts to resemble a more complete ye in its emotionally vulnerable second half, when the two rappers begin an unexpected, touching reckoning with their insecurities and mistakes.

This is why a moment which many have justifiably rolled eyes at, namely Cudi’s extended repetition of the chorus at the end of “Reborn”, is to me the most important on the album. This more than anything is music of reclamation – “Freeee” reclaims a line 070 Shake introduced to the project as an ode to emotional numbness and turns it to joyous proclamation, “Cudi Montage” reclaims Cudi’s…

I must confess that this is not my idea; having recently come across Tom Breihan’s ‘The Number Ones’ column for Stereogum, and in turn, Tom Ewing’s ‘Popular’ column for Freaky Trigger, I felt inspired to approach the format from my own geographical perspective; that is, review every single to reach number 1 on the ARIA Charts/Kent Report, and assign a numerical grade from 1-10. In the interest of brevity (and some pertinence), the column shall begin from July 1974, the date in which the initial Kent Report was first published commercially, and work forwards from there. Dependent upon time constraints and general interest, publishing of these articles will, similar to Ewing and Breihan’s columns, be daily. And now…


daryl-braithwaite-youre-my-world-infinityDaryl Braithwaite – “You’re My World”

6 January – 20 January 1975 (3 Weeks).

Perhaps one of the most underrated delights of exploring a history of Australian pop music is that I can accord some attention to songwriters that have either had a minimal presence in the US and the UK, or just plainly didn’t make much of an international dent to begin with. Daryl Braithwaite is one of those performers; having fronted Sherbet, he produced some of Australia’s biggest anthems including “Summer Love” and “Howzat,” whilst topping the charts in his own right with “One Summer” and “The Horses.” As an inductee to the ARIA Hall of Fame, he’s a national treasure; to those North of the equator, he’s Daryl Braithwaite.

It’s only

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