‘Please refrain from taking any photos during the performance tonight, the main act is very shy’. At the time and in retrospect, I doubt many who handed over their stubs for inspection believed that the young ticket girl had even heard of Neutral Milk Hotel, but such elitism was naturally outranked by the fizzing weight of anticipation surrounding the band’s first tour in 15 years and the fact she was right.

As the eyes of the world dart across the various nations facing turmoil, largely unnoticed lies the bubbling undercurrent of musical and creative growth, converting the tribulations of societal upheaval into blimps of expression. Leading the pack is the diesel-edged “drone ‘n’ roll” of Mechanimal, stirring the dreary-eyed of Athens from their nests and propping them up on supports made of deep electronic rumbles. We asked Giannis Papaioannou to tell us about five tracks that provide similar support for the group on their travels.

For the last 6 years, Greece is going through a rough neo-liberal model. There’s dogmatic devotion to austerity and there are always new measures that try to “reform” the state, which is actually huge salary cuts for the most insecure social groups, more taxes, privatizations of some of the biggest companies in the country, demonisation of the minorities, concentration camps for immigrants.

The other weekend I found myself in a familiar trance. I was perusing the wares of HMV — the unheralded vinyl king of Nottingham — looking for bargains to pad out the slither of space left in my Ikea Kallax shelving unit. I picked up some overlooked essentials as a matter of protocol (Disintegration, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) before plucking for a wild card that I hadn’t gotten round to listening to: You’re Dead!, the latest release from Californian hip-jazz experimentalist Flying Lotus.

As Sinai Vessel prepare to once again brave the cathartic, sweaty discomfort of life on tour, ringmaster Caleb Cordes stopped by to talk about five tracks that he personally feels exemplify said lifestyle to a tee. The band’s new EP, Profanity, is a thoughtful and genuine collection of tracks that both sag with weariness and shine with glistens of optimism — here’s a chance to get yourselves acquainted before the jump.

One of the most gratifying things as a music fan is to be able to follow a band throughout their career – to witness them progress as musicians and individuals, and to hear such reflected in their songs. Some bands chalk up an impressive number of albums, their fans tirelessly discussing and debating their ranking. Others release records with gaps of three or four years, or out of the blue after a decade-long hiatus.

In an interesting twist from the usual, Benjamin Thompson digs through his band’s past to find the songs which proved most influencial in shaping various versions of The Rational Academy, a truly shape-shifting unit that have sailed atop Brisbane’s busy independent scene for nearly a decade.

When we approached the Ministry of Music Journalism with the interest of starting our own little website, they pulled aside before the final agreement and with a hushed voice said “…you do realise that you’ll have to write an Album of the Year list?” We nodded with staunch resolve, not fully understanding the scope of the task at hand. “Let’s do 50,” we said.