Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is The Monthly’s music critic and the author of Live Through This.

Articles by this author

Image of Primitive Motion
Two Australian groups use vocals to swoon-worthy effect
Primitive Motion’s ‘House in the Wave’ and Totally Mild’s ‘Her’
Primitive Motion, a duo from Brisbane, have a damp, dissolving sound. Their songs are evocative of paper left out in the rain, or the shells of abandoned buildings – things...
Image of Neutral Milk Hotel
From Neutral Milk Hotel to Justin Timberlake
What happened to indie music
Young white men with beards beyond their years put me in mind of a band from the ’90s, whose influence has long outlived their actual career. And it’s not just the prematurely...
Image of The xx
The British band bring their intimate sound to an expansive venue
The xx’s polite party in Sydney
That The xx are, barring One Direction, the most popular group to come out of Britain in a decade remains baffling. It’s not that they’re bad. They’re just so modest, their songs...
Image of Björk
Björk moves towards renewal on ‘Utopia’
The possible future
How very Björk of Björk to laden her new album, Utopia, with flute. It is the world’s oldest extant musical instrument. Paleolithic flutes, carved out of vulture wing and swan...
Image of Drake
The exhausting omnipotence of Drake
Drake is fake, suggests Google’s autocomplete function, and I think to myself, Not this again. Drake is 225,000,000 search results. Drake is 10 billion streams on Spotify, a...
Image of Tetsuya Umeda
The intriguing Tetsuya Umeda, a marriage-equality mixtape, new releases from raven and Kelela, and Burial’s ‘Untrue’ ten years on
The Monthly music wrap: October 2017
Last week I witnessed a performance at Sydney’s Carriageworks by Japanese artist Tetsuya Umeda that fruitfully and rather joyously blurred the lines between installation, sound...
The intangible beauty of The Clientele’s ‘Music for the Age of Miracles’
Another summer’s night
On any given suburban street at dusk, when some houses lie empty and the occupants of the rest are lost to their ordinary duties, there is a sound that can be heard, if you listen...
The majesty of Björk, new releases from Ibeyi and The Orbweavers, and more
The Monthly music wrap: September 2017
Björk’s new single, ‘The Gate’, released last week, must be one of the most extraordinary things she’s ever done, which is saying something. For more than 30 years now she’s been...
Lana Del Rey gets a little happier on ‘Lust for Life’
Torch songs
“Climb up the ‘H’ of the Hollywood sign,” sings Lana Del Rey on ‘Lust for Life’, the title track of her new album. “In these stolen moments the world is mine.” The song is a duet...
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan bring their signature banter – and talk of mortality – on ‘The Trip to Spain’
A new location, familiar terrain
Comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are not quite friends, but nor are they enemies. They are definitely rivals. In The Trip to Spain and its preceding instalments, The...
Image of Jen Cloher
Jen Cloher’s self-titled album is a unique take on the trials of a touring musician
On the road again
There’s a long tradition of rock musicians writing songs about the difficulty of life on the road. AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ is surely the most famous, and the best, its mood...
Vale Simon Holmes and Dr G Yunupingu
The Monthly music wrap: July 2017
In lieu of a news and music round-up, I want to pay tribute to two outstanding local musicians who passed away this month, both prematurely. The first, Simon Holmes, was a...
With their two new other-worldly albums, Shabazz Palaces continue to evade categorisation
Parallel universes
Seattle duo Shabazz Palaces sound like a broadcast delivered underwater, in another language. Their manner is purposeful and their message close to inscrutable. The group’s two...
Image of Lorde
The return of Lorde, Frank Ocean and Radiohead live in Denmark, ‘OK Computer’ at 20, and more
The Monthly music wrap: June 2017
I can’t pretend that I’ve ever enjoyed the music of New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde, but listening to her second album, Melodrama, which was released this month, I can...
Image of Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert reviewing sound-effect tapes produced by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
The Radiophonic Workshop, creator of those ‘Doctor Who’ sound effects, is back
Time Lords
For 40 years, inside a building on a modest side street in Maida Vale, west London, on the site of a former rollerskating rink, there existed a doorway to another world. Had...
The crisis in Australian arts coverage
When no one is left
Many years ago I happened upon a discussion of the word critique, in a book by the American philosopher and political scientist Wendy Brown, that has stuck with me ever since. “...
Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is another quiet triumph
The particular lives of ‘Certain Women’
Kelly Reichardt makes films – six features so far – that are scrupulous, concise, and very, very quiet. She concentrates on the lives of ordinary Americans, mostly women, who come...
A new compilation celebrates the devotional music of jazz legend Alice Coltrane
Feel the divine
Between 1982 and 1995, one of America’s foremost jazz musicians recorded a series of albums that were only ever made available on cassette tape. To obtain one you had to send away...