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Posted 3 Mar 2018, 1:20 a.m.

Artist: Tamarack

Musicianship / Skill – 5

Synth is as psychedelic as it is bizarre as it is colourful. There are zingy chord changes that certainly offer a different flavour but they serve the vocals well. Early bass line in first song is unabashedly DAD (not at all influenced by the intro here) - perhaps it was because he assaulted me before the set. I joke, but the bass lines are tight with a bass face that may even rival that Dan Carlotta face (way too bold as statements go). Guitar does very well to complement heavy synth work. Work alongside each other to keep the bigger picture manageable. I did notice a little slip when it was just piano voice on its own though.

Professionalism – 4

Straight on and into the set. They don't engage with the audience but I get the sense it's because they are so engaged with the complexity of what's going on musically. They expect the audience to get that and I like it - arrogance that doesn't come off as arrogance.

Songwriting – 4

Vastly diverse sonic texture and expertly executed. Musically it's not something that I would spring out of bed and listen to in the morning but it's very clever and there's a lot of thought that has gone into this. It massively sets you apart.

Creativity – 3.5

Sits nearly into the category of psych/prog rock but has a charm and a flair to it that I wasn't expecting. Some of the sections feel downright sneaky or sentimental for about ten seconds before engaging with playful chord changes and chromatic patterns that are revamped with the texture of the well played synth.

Stage Presence / Entertainment Value – 3.5

I'm getting a nice blend of "into it" and "swaying in the zone". I like how you go the other way and diverge from charismatic front man to industrious unit. It works well for the genre and comes across well to the audience.

Overall – 20

A very talented group of musicians that have a vision and execute it with ease. Not the catchiest or most listenable, but very enjoyable and certainly a journey with a multitude of different strings in their bow. They bring a lot to the table and revel in it. A very enjoyable set.

Ranking: 1st

Artist: Aarya

Musicianship / Skill – 3.5

Guitar work is clean and flourishes simply. Voice is really strong in choruses, the high note in the second song a rasp is pukka well done. Fast delivery is a little shaky - you might need to listen to more Ed Sheeran. (a few minutes later) I completely retract that previous comment, the section in the second song was nailed - maybe bump the consistency.

Professionalism – 4

First to act like the audience is really there. Great crowd interaction - getting them singing - yes. I like the confidence - I really get the sense you enjoy performing. Runs 50 seconds over sad face.

Songwriting – 4

Lyrics meaningful and choruses are strong & well delivered. Acoustic bass drum on the loop is way too frequent - half time it and groooove. Love how the loop overlaps on final song. Same "bass drum" appears later in a bearable form

Creativity – 3

This would have been creative 5 years ago but its so not now. Luckily you delivery really well on the whole. Final song in particular SLAPS - nicely structured with hooks. Love the tonality of the harmonies in the 3rd song - shame about the tuning being slightly out in the first song in the backing though.

Stage Presence / Entertainment Value – 4

Double hand strum has audience on side. You engage them well - claps and group vocals give you the edge in this section so far. Your confidence goes a long way.

Overall – 20

Not going to lie about this, I don't like the "acoustic dude" archetype but you won me over with choppy but also meaningful lyrics, palpable choruses and great crowd interaction. There was a little vocal sloppiness at the start but you get into it well. I'd also like a little more intricacy with the guitar lines to really access the high marks but ultimately a very enjoyable set.

Ranking: 2nd

Artist: Cartwheel

Musicianship / Skill – 4

Lead guitar- lovely matches vocal in choruses serves song well at right times/overall solid with odd missed notes in solo in second song.

Bass tight & bright - lose the pick guard! Understands subtleties of feel - well slid into notes in the slower sections, good attack with fingers.

Drums v. solid - serves the music well, fills never too much.

Vocals - pleasant enough to fit the genre but not outstanding. Not his fault here, could do with help from the rest of the band to thicken the sound.

Professionalism – 3.5

They get up and play, singer tunes during outro - very good use of time. Nice transition into second song, rhythm slightly quiet. Bass drum becomes distorted at the end, but that's not your fault. Audience interaction minimal, but I don't think you need it.

Songwriting – 3.5

Use of stop and lead line was spot on. Somewhere between American Football and the 1975. Competent within the genre without really adding their twist on it. Enjoyable space in final song lets atmosphere & melodies ring, builds nicely. Chorus don't jump but the aim is more for a melodic atmosphere.

Creativity – 3

As said, works well within genre but not pushing boundaries. That being said, phase + reverb combo in final song add a bit of spice to the song's texture.

Stage Presence / Entertainment Value – 3.5

Something really starts to drive in the third song.Nicely grooving in that song seems to fade a bit in the final song with the 3/4. Maybe change the set order to let the energy carry better.

Overall – 17.5

A very listenable polished start to the evening. Professional change over with lead guitar offering the beginnings of a captivating soundscape. Could improve with more backing vocals and more use of effects - they are essential for creativity in this genre. Arrangement and pacing is spot on and I am having to put aside my appreciation for American Football to stay objective.

Ranking: 3rd

Artist: Naga Sadhu

Musicianship / Skill – 3.5

Guitar - starts off muddy tone - tastful vibrato. When full distortion comes in it is disgustingly fat!

Drums - clinical and looming. Uses overheads admirably to smack home the doomy pulse - I don't think he drops the beat once.

Professionalism – 3.5

Tunes in intro to third song - economy of time is good! Drummer is a flail of limbs - love the conviction and guitarist has strong understated confidence about her that is endearing. Guitar might be over distorted in places - maybe dial off the fuzz a tad, but this is doom afterall!

Songwriting – 2.5

First riff generates an atmosphere in its repetition but then maybe takes it a bit too far - needs more development than riff A to riff B. Second riff brings drums to life but guitar suffers from less clarity with the quicker succession of notes. Perhaps a low cut for 2nd riff. More influence creativity in 2nd song.

Creativity – 3.5

Blues influence on second riff - want low raspy vocals here. I like the track in the third song - differentiates the ignition of songs - back to the murky tones!

Stage Presence / Entertainment Value – 3.5

Spinal tap 20/5

Where can you go from there? Cowbell? It gets better. Solid here - guitarist is into it and the drummer owns the kit. But I still think you need a conduit, a central figure to give balance. I refrain from using frontperson because it's not just that - I need tonal interaction between instruments as well as a wall of sound - you do this well as a pair though.

Overall – 16.5

Ranking: 4th

Artist: GoldReed

Musicianship / Skill – 3

Drummer serves the indie pop framework nicely - nice hats in 1st song chorus but its a little 2006 for me. PRS guitarist (yes!) delivers some delicate leads in first two songs. Vocalist has a very fitting voice - there is enough range but also enough texture to fit the genre nicely. Bass lines serve the chords but don't really offer anything else -> see cartwheel bassist.

Professionalism – 2

First song has no toneees. Guitars are audible they just blend with each other and bass too much. Shame because the cleans are much more articulate. Seemed to get past the grimey tone at the start - good recovery. Ran 1 minute over.

Songwriting – 3.5

Forms the most memorable choruses so far but I'm not hearing the killer hooks that the genre demands. Piano vocals intro works great - nice vocal fry!

Creativity – 2.5

Change to 6/8 - nice and you pull it off. I want to give more here but the genre demands catchier choruses. It feels a little safe. I can tell there are some thoughtful lyrics in there (which is telling for the delivery)

Stage Presence / Entertainment Value – 2

Stage presence felt a little awkward. You don't exude experience, which can be spun positively. There's some good ideas here and plenty of potential. The performance just didn't grab me tonight - which can again be worked on. Bassist movement came off a bit nervous - stand still and deliver. Also I get headless basses and everything but get something with resonance. Sell a kidney and buy a Kiesel Vader.

Overall – 13

A band that were more charming than convincing. It wasn't so much a fault in musicality but conviction. By all means an enjoyable set but I need convinving - write some monstrous choruses, some cheeky lead lines and smash them out with some gusto and you'll be well on your way.

Ranking: 5th

Artist: Human Resources

Musicianship / Skill – 1

Guitar is out of tune - I get it's punk but it's not hard to tune. While the bass is a touch bungly in tone (I'm against the bungle) some parts are still dexterous (Carter quote). Drums are in the pocket and keep the flow nicely. Vox are shouty and a little shrill - it fits with the genre but you can't mark it well

Professionalism – 2.5

Drummer playing acoustic - like it. Unfortunately other guitar is out of tune so it's hard to score well here. Too self deprecating, yeah it doesn't sound fab but fuck the system hard - revel in the challenge!

Songwriting – 2

Fast paced punk muck of muckiness but as I said, credit for consistent drums and basslines.

Creativity – 2

Matching vox and bass is a nice touch and a little different. Was that uptown girl with alternative chords? Sweet pastiche! Double vox at the end are chaotic - nice (sort of!)

Stage Presence / Entertainment Value – 2.5

I love that you're all really into it and march on without you're focal point member.

Overall – 10

Fun if a little rough on the ears - that's what punk is. Rules there to be broken etc.

Ranking: 6th

Posted 3 Mar 2018, 1:44 a.m.

My two cents:

Cartwheel - bring back backing vocals. Guitars don't be afraid of making a bigger wall of noise during the loud sections - your rhythm section has more than enough dynamic control to keep up with you.

Naga Sadhu - just a suggestion, but lighter gauge strings could help with the "clean" vibrato and sliding between the heavy chords

Aarya - You're a good guitarist, show it off more. I reckon you'd surprise yourself with how much complicated guitar work you could reliably play once you let muscle memory take control - you shouldn't have to sacrifice your powerful vocals

GoldReed - friends don't let friends groove alone, don't leave bassman home alone: you've all gotta groove with him! Vocals you've got great tonal control but I feel like you're too "clean" for the band. If you let more character into your voice like you do in major minor then you should be able to relax more. Also lead guitar, your heavy tone was heavier than Naga Sadhu! Dial it back a notch!

Tamarack - The darker parts actually pull off a terrifyingly powerful wall of sound but it seems most of the wall is from the drums and keys. Get some distorted guitar in there too! Just my personal preference there, you always seem so calm and collected like a professional session guitarist when the other two look like they aren't allowed within 100m of schools. 

Human Resources - You're allowed to play stuff wrong in punk, if you allow yourself to play shit wrong then you can go more wild with everything else. Hitting bum notes as you trash the place is punk as hell, standing still and playing it all correctly is for the dweebs in Tamarack.

Posted 3 Mar 2018, 3:39 p.m.

I thought the sound let us down a little bit here with the feedback. Wasn’t keen on the mix, but overall had probably my most enjoyable performance ever. Sad not to get to the final (with my actual band) but loved playing with Cartwheel/ Cousins over the last two years. Hopefully we will record an EP soon :)

Posted 3 Mar 2018, 6:25 p.m.

I don't quite understand what "drums are a little 2006" means

Posted 3 Mar 2018, 7:25 p.m.

I'm very surprised Naga Sadhu came 4th considering the competition we had, did not expect to even get to the semi, so proper chuffed with that. 

Think Will did a good job of judging, like how constructive and detailed the comments are (although I also don't get the 2006 comment, I was listening to a lot of MCR at that time, lame). I do think he was pretty harsh on GoldReed and I definitely think you were better than NS, but then I am a bit of a GoldReed fan girl :)

Posted 3 Mar 2018, 10:44 p.m.

Fucking stellar job on the judging from William - I can attest that the quality and quantity of the he's written here is no mean feat, especially given it was his first blast. Get that man back!

Posted 3 Mar 2018, 11:16 p.m.

Awesome night despite the trash weather- everyone played super tightly IMO. I don't think there was a single set I didn't find wicked hot (with the exception of my own, perhaps- I'm not that vain.) Bex, your guitar was on point and Eric's Cowbell Surprise was the cherry on an already great set. You guys definitely deserved your spot in the semis. Full steam ahead to the finals I guess!

Posted 4 Mar 2018, 4:25 p.m.

Such a quality night and the comments are ace. Noooo one wants to hear backing vocals from George Sam or me though. You may think you do - but you don't.

Posted 10 Mar 2018, 5:34 p.m.

Was there any semi recordings by the way, or none with the snow? Didn't get to listen to radio show but Eric said they played recordings from the heat. 

Posted 10 Mar 2018, 5:46 p.m.

Yep the semi was recorded, just waiting on Will from RAW to upload them. If I remember correctly, the recordings hadn't been put on RAW's system in time for the radio show so the heat recordings were used instead.