What the media have to say...
Provenance - Collected Works
This collection the best of the group's five records is a revelation. A timeless sound that pursues classic songwriting, rather than pandering to the popular; the Lovetones' output is instantly endearing, as is the performance of singer Matt Tow.
(Jonno Seidler, SMH, February 2013)
Parlez-vous Francais? Check out the 8/10 review of Provenance. It’s tres bonne!
Great stuff, pathos with pop punch!
“The Lovetones are the Australian music scene’s best-kept secret. Over the past 10 years, the band created several psychedelic masterpieces that were adored by a small cult following both here and in the US. Hearing this ‘best of’ will have you wondering how The Lovetones didn’t make it big. The dreamy pop bliss of ‘(I Gotta) Feel’ is the best top 10 hit Australia never had. If you’re a fan of The Byrds, Pink Floyd or Deep Sea Arcade, then you need to discover The Lovetones. Provenance is the perfect introduction.” (Andy McLean, Charter Magazine)
“The Lovetones are one of the best Australian bands I've come across.”
(Andy McLean, Charter Magazine)
The Lovetones latest release is a fantastic introduction to the band's back catalogue and at a time where psychedelic rock is experiencing a resurgence, it's seems apt that the youth look to bands who have been playing it for over a decade. Provenance is a well-rounded release; and a reminder of the wealth of Australian bands that too often get forgotten about.
(Krystal Maynard, Beat)
Check out the full review here
Check out “a milestone interview with Matthew J Tow of The Lovetones” for The Process Records here
“Back in the 1960s, when the standard fare of the music industry was the catchy, radio-friendly single and albums were held together loosely with forgettable filler, record labels would capitalise on an artist’s success with a greatest hits record featuring previously released hit singles. Eventually the album became a worthy product of its own and, in the cyclical ways things happen, overtook the single in popularity. Commensurate with this development, the compilation album tended to appear later in an artist’s career, often reflecting the artist’s decline in output and the label’s naked desire to exploit their once-productive charge’s halcyon era.
The relevance to The Lovetones and their newly-released compilation album Provenance is two-fold. Firstly, The Lovetones are a band that captures and extends the best of the classic 1960s pop sensibility. Secondly, unlike the near-dead band relying on a greatest hits album to resuscitate a failing career, Provenance is a timely reminder of the songwriting brilliance of The Lovetones, and Matthew Tow in particular.
The Lovetones rose from the ashes of Tow’s previous band, the ’60s pop influenced Drop City, who despite experiencing a modicum of popular and critical success, found themselves a casualty of the late-1990s break-up between the independent music scene and the major labels. Tow headed over to the US where he hung out with Anton Newcombe and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, finding both a supporter for Tow’s songwriting and a kindred ’60s spirit. (In the early part of the century, The Lovetones would assume a central role in the now infamous Brian Jonestown Massacre tour of 2003.)
The Lovetones have gone on to release five studio albums and develop a strong live following – particularly in the US where arguably the band is better known than in Australia. Provenance collects the best tracks from their catalogue, capturing their marriage of pop sensibility and misty-eyed psychedelia.
It eschews a chronological progression, as well, choosing instead to chart a more diverse course across The Lovetones’ evolution. Tracks from the band’s debut album, Be What You Want (released on Greg Shaw’s Bomp! label in 2003), are nestled away later in the record. ‘Give It All I Can’ is awash with a frontal-lobe massaging sonic aesthetic, while perennial crowd-pleaser ‘The Sound and The Fury’ walks the perfect line between dirty garage rock riff and astral exploration. If the songwriting lacks the delicacy of later Lovetones material, the primitive aspect of the track captures the band’s original brazen attitude.
Many of The Lovetones’ subsequent releases should, in an ideal world, be pop classics in the commercially successful sense of the term. The opening track, ‘Mantra’ from 2005’s Meditations, builds gradually from the ground up: a simple drum beat, Matthew Sigley’s viscous bass lines and a culminating riff that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Ray Davies’ finest licks. Tracks such as ‘Wintertime in Hollywood’ from 2007’s Axiom and ‘Love and Redemption’ from 2008’s Dimensions are near-perfect pop songs, as elegant as Paul McCartney at the height of his musical powers. ‘I Gotta Feel’, also from Meditations, is the ideal soundtrack for a road trip anywhere, anytime. Close your eyes and listen to ‘Inside a Dream’ and you’re transported into a Lewis Carroll-like world of infinite possibility. ‘This Great Romance’, written by Sigley, sparkles and dazzles with the grace and beauty of a Victorian heroine. ‘There Is No Sound’ is the tender romantic lament many have purported to write, and most have failed dismally.
Beyond The Lovetones’ pop sensibility lies its indulgence of psychedelia. ‘Journeyman’, ‘City Meets the Stars’ and ‘Navigator’ capture the elastic dimension of the genre, both within the lyrical context, and in the stretching of a basic melody into broader musical territory. Unlike vapid practitioners of the psychedelic craft, The Lovetones know that at the heart of any great psychedelic exploration lies a simple structure – and sharp-edged melody – that holds the entire journey together. Sadly, one of The Lovetones’ finest live psychedelic moments, ‘Pictures’, isn’t included, though the Magical Mystery Tour-inspired ‘Stars’ does its best to convey the acid-freak sensibility of 1968. Co-written by the enigmatic Anton Newcombe, ‘A New Low’ could be a metaphor for his plummeting lifestyle, or maybe it’s just a cracking good song.
Provenance comes with a bonus DVD featuring live footage taken at a show at the Metro in Sydney in 2008 (from memory, during the band’s support slot for Brian Jonestown Massacre). The Lovetones have always been a band that revels in a live setting, and while the included footage doesn’t necessarily capture the enjoyment of one of their shows, it does give you a sense of the passion and intensity the band puts in.
(Patrick Emery, Mess + Noise)
“What a great collection of songs!”
(Mark Bolton, MGM Distribution)
“I really had my love for the 'Tones reawakened at ‘Dig It Up’. I had that wonderful moment of "oh, that's right: Tow is AMAZING!"
(Andrew Street, Time Out Sydney)
“I've had a chance to digest. It was most delicious.”
(Andy McLean, Charter Magazine)
"This greatest hits set will hopefully act as an introduction to this great Sydney psychedelic band for some. Led by Matthew J.Tow, who is one of Australia's finest songwriters."
(The Music Network)
“Matt Tow is truly a conduit, and has melody and lyrics coming through him from the same place my heroes of the bygone “classic” eras have tapped into. Lennon, McCartney, Ray Davies, David Bowie, Neil Young and Paul Weller are just some of the names in my iPod that I have no problem playing side by side with Lovetones compositions. Songs created by the Lovetones, are truly songs for all time.” (Rob Campanella
(The Quarter After, The Brian Jonestown Massacre)
“SONG CRAFT, THE LOVE OF MAKING MUSIC & BUILDING BRIDGES. Matthew J Tow is a master architect of all three.”
Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre)
"Matt’s songs have always given me the impression that, in the best positive sense, he is a dreamer. He creates a soundtrack for a rich, undiscovered place… and a conduit to get there."
Brad Shepard (The Hoodoo Gurus)
“Lost is a lovely-sounding album, full of warm, valve-amp bass tones and analogue organs, supplemented by Tow’s world-weary tenor, … gentle and beautiful.”
(Chad Parkhill, Rave Magazine)
“Lost, as an album, proves that The Lovetones can stand alone, away from all the 1960s psychedelic rock that inspired them, and create an amazing collection of songs that are worthy of high praise. The album feels like a dream and creates one at the same time.”
(Katrina Osborne, The Canberra Times)
“It doesn’t take a mad scientist to work out when and where The Lovetones would have prospered most. Kids in late-1960s California pretty much lived on a diet of psychedelic pop. The Lovetones would have had San Franciscan hippy chicks eating out of their hands. Still, even in 2010, the music they serve up is delicious. ‘Navigator’ is the perfect appetiser and ‘Journeyman’ is equally mouth-watering. ‘This Great Romance’ and ‘A New Low in Getting High’ are sweet and bittersweet respectively. Meanwhile, during ‘Stars’ and ‘Chinatime Busride’, you can practically taste the hash cakes.”
(Andy McLean, Brag, Live Review)
"Matthew Tow might have titled the fifth album from his band The Lovetones, Lost, but there's no mistaking what you get – another dizzying dose of glorious psychedelically-charged pop."
(Michael Smith, The Drum Media NSW)
"Australia's the Lovetones' latest album 'Lost' continues the band's creation of rich sonically fulfilling psychedelic pop. 'Dimensions', the Lovetones' last album, set a high standard to live up to and yet 'Lost' delivers. Matthew J Tow's songwriting remains excellent as The Lovetones explore finely textured musical landscapes. 'Lost' represents another powerful outing for The Lovetones - an album that is both lyrically engaging and musically healing."
"The Lovetones have just delivered their fourth consecutive album of consistently outstanding music."
(Indie Album of the Week 4.5 stars – Brag)
"Lost is testament to the unbridled beauty of pop; if you ever happened to be lost, this record will bring you back home."
"From the first song it was clear what immense talent front man Matthew Tow possesses. With his 12-string electric and strong, controlled voice he seemed supremely confident on stage – something that only works when you have the songs to back it up. The Lovetones do and showed tonight that they are a sonic and songwriting match for scene figureheads like Brian Jonestown Massacre and as such deserve plaudits for their progressively refined songs."
(Chris Familton, The Drum Media NSW, Sept, 2010)
Amrap Top 3 Pick
(The Music Network, September 2010)
"I am absolutely loving The Lovetones' 'When The City Meets The Stars', heard it via the newsletter I got this morning from you, could work well on radio."
(Christie Eliezer, Billboard, The Music Network)
Australia’s psychiest and poppiest psych-pop band!
The last time I saw The Lovetones support good mates The Brian Jonestown Massacre, they played a competent set, blending two-part harmonies with psychedelic drones and trance-rock elements. However, new album Dimensions suggests they have a great deal more to offer than that performance suggested. The first three songs ably illustrate the adventurousness of this exceptional guitar pop record, beginning with the Moog twiddling and David Gilmour-esque guitar shapes of instrumental opener Moonlit Suite (Her Room), followed by the shimmering melodicism of Journeyman, then into the ‘60s pop strut of Two Of A Kind. The harmonies occasionally bring to mind the delicate majesticism of The Church, while Mellotron daubs keep things sweepingly psychedelic. The hook-filled Love And Redemption and the orchestral swish of Song To Humanity are two further examples of this record’s impressive and effortless scope. Australia has yet to really embrace this four-piece (led by the gifted songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Tow), but if there is any justice, Dimensions will remedy this situation somewhat.
(4 stars, Rave Magazine)
“Matt Tow lead his band through an inspired entree of psychedelic rock, with a sweet and spicy pop edge. Mantra, I Gotta Feel, Wintertime in Hollywood, Stars, Pictures and a tantilising introduction to the next Lovetones album. The set closer, Navigator, bent, stretched and wandered round corners, just like a good psychedelic track should.”
(Live Review, Beat Magazine October 2008)
'Love and Redemption'
The Lovetones The Metro 29/8/08 Live Review:
"A brilliant show from Sydney's own THE LOVETONES who delivered a tight set of their soothing indie psychadelic tunes. Holistically gentle, newest single 'Love And Redemption' proved to kick along and be quite upbeat in contrast to the rest of the set. At their best during extended vocal-less jams, they were thoroughly captivating and highly enjoyable."
(Scott Fitzsimons, Drum Media Sydney)
“Just why The Lovetones and singer, songwriter and guitarist Matt Tow aren’t bigger in the local psyche remains something of a mystery to me. Then again, Tow was kicking goals with previous band Drop City and was equally as revered and ignored. I can only hope the fact that this group have been embraced by overseas bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, whose Robert Campanella mixed this single, has meant recognition in the US at least for one of this country’s finest psychedelic pop songwriters. The title track Love and Redemption and B-side here, Song To Humanity, are eloquent examples of this.”
(Michael Smith, Drum Media)
'The Lovetones have crafted an aesthetically pleasing collection of songs on AXIOM that radiate an essential ingredient of psychadelic music - to transport listeners to a better place.'
Axiom was ‘Indie Album of the Week’ in Brag. Download the review here.
"Matthew Tow remains a master of the pop song. The Lovetones are criminally under-appreciated in Australia - for once, you can be sure the Americans are smarter than us on this one. Axiom is unlikely to redress completely that criminality, but it should help."
(Patrick Emery, Beat Magazine, August 2007)
"Almost psychadelic pop, leaning towards a drugged out '60s flashback, emanates from this CD. I feel like time traveling, but I get lost in the music and end up staying right here. The songs pulse and resonate with sonic ache and mellow sighs that break like ocean waves across your body. It feels so good, it feels so sad, it feels like longing transforming into love and then losing it all again... Psychadelic right now, like Mercury Rev meets Brian Wilson and they play a game of catch with your dreams. The songs just fit together, and the choruses are catchy without being contrived, the verses stick and sink into you, and the instruments all seem to know your name." (Marcel Feldmar, theredalert.com)
"For those of you that relish the 60s but don't want the poor production, give The Lovetones a listen as everything is there. From mild-psychadelia, to jangling Byrds like influences with the insightful writings of the likes of Roy Davies, great harmonies and superb tunes, this is a band that has it made. No one can emulate them and they don't emulate anyone, this is pure musicianship at its best and will drag you in ever so subtly but ever so quickly."
(Tony Bates, Highlands FM)
"Matthew Tow delivers just the right amount of raw, melodic and somewhat angelic vocals alongside a mixture of guitars, flute, piano and melotrone throughout. Perfect for a quiet evening with yourself after a week of work dramas. Break open a bottle of Merlot and press play." (Jenna Thompson, Drum Media, August 2007)“Axiom overflows with meticulous arrangements full of jangly seventh chords, piano countermelodies and melodic bass lines that elevate the song structures. The Lovetones might know all the tricks of the ‘60s psychedelia, but the end result sounds current instead of psych-by-numbers.”
(Harp Magazine, USA)
"Axiom proves it is a universal truth that The Lovetones create blissful psychadelic pop songs. This album is not as short and simplistic as their debut Be What You Want, but not as stretched out as Meditations. The band has found a wonderful balance in their maturity. The opening cut, 'Navigator' is instantly gratifying, while other standouts include 'Pieces Of Me', 'Say You Will', 'Everybody Hides Away' and 'Wintertime In Hollywood'. The Lovetones continue to satisfy listeners around the globe."
(Todd Jones, www.thetripwire.com)
"There’s something so exciting about this album. Not only does it leave you wishing you had a groovy underground den filled with bean bags, bead curtains and burning jost sticks, it offers just the right amount of escapism to delicately numb the senses. Dripping with psychedelic pop, Meditations is peppered with devilishly good backward playing of records, sitar chords that strike a brilliant divide between exotic inclusion, tart sounds and dreamy lyrics that make it difficult not to form an attachment. Like the days of 60s pop gods sitting in lush gardens with their spiritual gurus expanding their minds over a cup of chai, Meditations is a modern day yearning for the good old days."
"The Lovetones' frontman Matthew J Tow is best known for his work with the Brian Jonestown Massacre: he played guitar on the road with them for three years and contributed two songs to their 2003 album ...And This Is Our Music. There are obvious similarities between the bands, but it's John Lennon rather than the former Stones guitarist that is the main influence here. However, this is no mere Beatles trip: the folky strum of "Inside A Dream" suggests the more pastoral moments of The Pretty Things' SF Sorrow, while epic standout cut "Pictures" recalls The Soundtrack Of Our Lives."
"On Meditations, Matthew Tow delivers some of his finest songwriting moments yet."
The Lovetones, who carry an air of sophistication and class with them wherever they go, concentrated on rousing everyone into a fluster before slowing things down with an otherworldly jam to close their set. More than throwing riffs and disco-beats in your face, The Lovetones mould their music to the shape of your feet, your hips and your soul - theirs is a sound that dares you to stand still, slowly infiltrating all facets of your body until you just have to break out and dance.
(Drum Media - Essential Festival Live Review)
It's hard to believe this is only the second album for The Lovetones, as it's balance between control and caprice represents a feat even The Beatles only accomplished at the latter-end of their career.
Matthew Tow's song-writing abilities remain one of this country's most under appreciated musical assets.
"The Lovetones blend the Kinks, Byrds, and Arthur Lee, with just a splash of VU to bring the psychedelic. They're the antipodal equivalent of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, which makes total sense as the two have toured together."
"What's so beautiful about Meditations is the sense that each track has been so tenderly crafted and thoroughly mapped out, so that even when the Lovetones psych-out into jam mode (which they do so delightfully, several times), the path back to their radiant sixties pop is always sufficiently illuminated."
"These are beautiful songs with infectious hooks, gorgeous melodies and a porduction sound straight out of the '60s. This is an album of classics Beatles and Bowie fans will adore."
(Kathy McCabe, The Daily Telegraph, 3.5 Stars)
"Catchy, addictive, with some attractive lead and clever production."
“Although it seems that Tow’s relationship with cult musician Newcombe has not yet ended in tears, the ongoing quality of the music of The Lovetones ensures there’s little need for Matt to slink back to playing second fiddle to his BJM headkicker pal.”
(Rip It Up)
“A trip from start to finish, Meditations is further proof that songwriters don't lose their ability because they don't have major record deals; in some ways, it can strengthen their resolve to deliver the goods when the opportunity finally arises.”
"This is one of the revelations for this year. Providing the charming and psychedelic edges that 60s pop brought to the world, The Lovetones give hints of all those great times with numerous flavours in “Meditations”. There are many ingredients of the type of pop music we all loved before that has been modernised into a listenable feast. Laced with a classical pop structure of piano, subtle guitars, and delicate, melodic vocals, this is a compelling statement from an Australian band, which has romanticised today’s sounds. Hopefully, the music lovers will not view The Lovetones as nostalgic freaks, paying homage to past glories, but of a band, having spent a few years defining their structure, capable of progressing into their own future from past influences."
“Meditations is The Lovetones’ first significant release since the critically acclaimed Be What You Want, and it deserves equal acclaim, traversing the spectrum of psychedelia without missing a beat. The first two tracks of the album are near perfect psych-pop tunes. If ever there was an album that goes beyond overpriced designer paisley shirts and 15 minute rambling blatant Doors rip-offs and finds the true musical spirit of the 1960s, it’s Meditations.”
“Where less talented musicians might stumble in their tributes, Tow & Co. excel with pleasant melodies and simple, yet effective lyrics.”
(Smug Mag, USA)
“These Aussies, led by singer-songwriter Matthew Tow, colour their evocative pop rock in umber tones. Songs like "Mantra" deliver winsome hooks swaddled in vocals as dark and rich as the finest chocolate. One title asks, "Was I There in Your Future?" Based on this retro-but-right disc, the answer should be "Hope so."
(West Word, USA)
“Judging Meditations from a respectful distance is easy to come to the conclusion that The Lovetones is a band that must not go unnoticed.”
(The Music Edge)
"In tune with the popular sounds of UK-influenced indie rock at the moment thanks to the likes of Youth Group, we are introuduced to the first taste of The Lovetones, Mantra. Taken from their forthcoming album, Meditations, it starts with a slow hum then builds into a brilliant piece of guitar-based pop bliss, full of melody and sweet, easy to listen lyrics that are instantly relatable to all walks of life. Alternative stations have already picked up Mantra on rotational airplay but, given the chance, it has the potential to be a quiet achiever across multi-formats. Spread the love with The Lovetones!"
(The Music Network)
"The Lovetones' new track is fantastic!! Absolutely love it!"
'Be What You Want'
"Noel Gallagher could do a lot worse than to listen and learn."
"Former Drop City frontman Matt Tow emerges with a new outfit and sensational new album. It opens with foot-thumper The Sound And The Fury, while the next track reminds you of Oasis in their heyday. Tow is adept at slow-burners and power pop, as evidenced by It's Always Been That Way and Fairweather."
(4 star review, The Sunday Telegraph)
"It's better than anything Oasis have flung at their adoring public. Heads down AND thumps up!"
"catchy Britpop tunes, many steeped in 1960's psychadelica, it tastes good."
(The Weekend Australian)
"The best Australian band you haven't heard of yet. This punchy debut will be blasting from a radio speaker near you soon. It leaves you hungry for more."
"Be What You Want caters to hippies, young moderns and any girl who has ever done the bum dance to a horn chart. So basically everyone. However, this album is specifically designed for acid-soaked, electric folk fetishists."
(Album of the week - Beat Magazine)
"There's a sincerity in their purist approach that's hard to resist."
"Make it your summer soundtrack today."
"Guided by brilliant production, Be What You Want, is a pop-rock classic. Distinguished by golden melodies and a subject matter that is emotionally direct and largely autobiographical, the Lovetones are reviving the true essence of psychadelic pop."
"a sensational pop record, a beautiful collection of concise, powerful songs."
"The Lovetones have produced one of the best Australian albums so far this year,"
"a rich collage of dynamic rock, heady harmonies and snarling sixties soul, and another interesting piece in the evoloving jig-saw that is Matthew J.Tow."
"an album brimming with hooks, exceptional."
(Rip It Up)
'Give It All I Can'
"An anthemic, colourfully rolling rocker. It's damn good, too."
'Be What You Want' (Single)
Classic Britpop, straight outta Sydney. In an ideal world, Matt Tow should have boldly walked Carnaby Street a few decades back, decked out in paisley and waxing lyrical with the 1960’s popmasters. That way he would have been a peer of Ray Davies, Lennon & McCartney and David Bowie rather than a born-too-late admirer. You see, these are the icons he considers touchstones, both now with The Lovetones and in his past life with Drop City (who cut three high-grade albums during the ‘90’s). He’s a Britpop classicist trapped in a Sydneysider’s body. And Tow’s big pop heart beats loudly throughout the first-rate 'Be What You Want', especially in such tracks as the lead-off single, ‘Give It All I Can’, and the string-sodden ‘Be What You Want’. ‘Guiding Star’ meanwhile, heads into alysergic headspace that even Syd Barrett might have found a little too heavy. Noel Gallagher could do a lot worse that to listen and learn.
Jeff Apter, Rolling Stone, August 2002 (Four Stars Review)