New Laura Marling Shows Announced

Laura Marling
Image Courtesy of Laura Marling

Following on the footsteps of Florence and the Machine, Laura Marling has also announced a couple of extra sideshows during her Splendour visit in August. Marling will be doing an all ages show at the Factory Theatre in Sydney on the the 1st August and a second show at The Hi-Fi Bar in Melbourne on the 5th August. Both these shows are on sale on the 4th June. Laura Marling will be supported by Boy & Bear and Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit.

BAM! Festival Lineup Announced

BAM Festival
Image Courtesy of BAM! Festival

On the 20th May we announced the brand new BAM! Festival would be hitting South-East Queensland in October. Well the first lineup announcement for the festival is out and it’s … interesting.

Definitely local in flavour BAM! artists include The Winnie Coopers, The Barons of Tang, Dallas Frasca, Blame Ringo, The Mercy Beat, Baby Seal Club, Tin Can Radio, Headkase, Bang Bang Boss Kelly, The Good Ship, Chocolate Strings, Free Agent Crew, Dead Riot, The View From Madeleine’s Couch, Flowers for Lily, The City Shake Up, They Are Spies, TroubleKarmaFlow, Jac Stone, The Belligerents, The Lyrical, Torn Asunder, Recoil, The Fricken Hecks, 1989, Chamberland, The Arachnids, The Orange City Sings, Dirtybird, Jack Flash and more.

The lineup is very obviously local in focus and with no “big name” acts to pull a crowd many fans are wondering whether it’s worth the $205 price tag. We’ll leave that up to you to decide. More information on the official site.

Florence Adds More Sideshows

Florence and the Machine
Image Courtesy of Florence and the Machine.

If you missed out on tickets to Florence and the Machine’s Splendour sideshows don’t be dismayed. The harp-loving, flame-haired songtress and band have announced two more shows, one in Melbourne at Festival Hall (2nd August) and the other in Sydney this time at the Horden Pavilion (8th August).

Tickets for both shows are on sale on the 8th June. Don’t miss out again!

Review: Basement Birds, Bundle One

Image Courtesy of iTunes

When I first heard that Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans, Jebediah), Josh Pyke, Kav Temperley (Eskimo Joe) and Steve Parkin would be collaborating for their Basement Birds project I got pretty excited. I’d been a huge fan of both Josh Pyke and Kevin Mitchell’s folk-infused solo work for some time and it seemed likely that the supergroup would exhibit many of the same influences.

When the first single, “Waiting For You”, was released it looked as though my excitement was well founded. The song was catchy, poppy and had a great folky undertone – just what I had expected.

Then last week the group released the first bundle of tracks from their upcoming album. The bundle consisted of 3 songs from the group (“Skin of the Sky”, “Reasons” and “Bus Stop”), each a little gem in it’s own right.

“Skin of the Sky” opens with a catchy line whistled over a strummed guitar. Each of the boys’ unique voices are featured on the track and the harmonies are perfectly pitched throughout. This is probably the most radio friendly of the 3 songs in the bundle so don’t be surprised to hear it on the airwaves soon if it isn’t there already.

With “Reasons” I was intially a little worried that Kav Temperley’s rock voice wouldn’t transfer to the folk genre as well as those of his band mates. But while the Eskimo Joe lead singer’s unique warble is ever present on this track it fits nicely with the overall tone. It’s obvious “Reasons” was born out of late night acoustic jam sessions and there’s definitely a sense of fun here.

“Bus Stop” is by far my favourite song of the bundle. Featuring the pixie-voiced backing vocals of Julia Stone “Bus Stop” is pure folk-pop goodness. Josh Pyke and Kevin Mitchell (I’m never sure whether I’m meant to call him Bob Evans when he’s not singing with Jebediah) duel perfectly with Stone as they tell the tale of a girl who won’t return their calls (the apparent reason is that she’s “never been too good with numbers”). Of all three tracks this is the one I repeated several times upon first listen and the one I have played to my friends.

Overall a very promising opening play from the Basement Birds. Each of their future bundles will be taken from different recording sessions so may well have completely different sounds to this one, but we can expect solid work from the boys here on in.

And before you go and download the tracks check out this “guerilla gig” the boys did for Channel [V] in Bondi Junction over the weekend:

The Audreys Announce New Album

The Audreys
Image Courtesy of The Audreys

If you were lucky enough to catch The Audreys duo show at Notes in Sydney last night you would have been party to quite a juicy bit of information: The Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based band will be releasing their third studio album on the 15th October this year. The album, titled Sometimes the Stars has already been recorded according to the band’s singer Tarsha Coates. So pencil the date into your diary and get down to one of the duo shows if you haven’t already to hear the new material (and some of the older stuff) first hand.

“Roll Away Your Stone” Clip Released

Mumford and Sons
Image Courtesy of Mumford and Sons

Nu-folk giants Mumford and Sons have released a clip to their latest single “Roll Away Your Stone”. The clip, a departure from the surreal mo-ped road trip of their last single “The Cave”, is a mixture of live footage and a hoedown in the studio. Watch it below:

Spotlight On: The Snowdroppers

The Snowdroppers
Image Courtesy of The Snowdroppers

I first became aware of The Snowdroppers when a friend posted their “Rosemary” film clip to facebook. Soon after I discovered they were presenting Barrelhouse at the Bridge Hotel in Balmain, a launch of their album Too Late To Pray which saw them taking up residency for four consecutive Friday’s in October 2009. I went to two shows and was thoroughly addicted. Since then I’m not even sure how many times I’ve seen them live, more than a dozen easily.

While they easily fit in to the blues category, The Snowdroppers are far more than just a blues band. This Sydney based, 1920’s inspired four piece draw on folk and country with a rockin’ Banjo and mean harmonica played by lead singer Johnny Wishbone, rock out with Pauly K’s guitar and Cougar Jones’ crazy drums and still deliver some serious bluegrass base lines courtesy of bass guitarist London. And then there’s some rockabilly influences just to keep you on your toes.

Every show is alive with energy and enthusiasm and a raw sound which seeps in to your bones. Unable to capture such show vibrancy on their recorded album, they made up for it by embellishing with extra instrumental back up creating a rich and addictive sound that still gets your blood pumping as much as if you were on the dance floor at a live gig.

Hitting the scene in late 2007, it’s been a typical Aussie band story of working hard during the day and working even harder on the band by night (And they’ve even got a song about it, their latest single “Do the Stomp”). They’ve played many local Sydney venues and have graced the stages of many summer festivals including playing on New Years Eve at the 2009 Peats Ridge Festival. Finally the hard work is beginning to pay off with an entry in Rolling Stone’s bands to watch in 2010 and sell out audiences just by word of mouth at both the Vanguard and Annandale early this year.

Currently half way through their Do the Stomp tour, these guys are packing out venues around Australia, have just been signed up to support Grinspoon on their regional tour in August, have been receiving regular rotation on the likes of Rage, MTV, and Channel V and manage to fit in extra gigs like supporting the Wagons at the Annandale Hotel tonight. If they’re not on the up and up, I don’t know who is. Go see The Snowdroppers, if you’re not dancing by the end of their set, you’re probably dead.

Country of Origin: Australia
Sounds Like: the blues just got dirty again
File Under: Blues, Bluegrass, Rockabilly
Official site:

Basement Birds Tour in August

Basement Birds
Image Courtesy of Basement Birds

It seems you can’t turn on the radio or television these days without supergroup Basement Birds popping up. Which is great because if their recently released EP sampler is anything to go by these boys deserve the exposure.

This morning the Basement Birds dropped into triple j to perform their fantastic hoedown cover of The Presets “My People” as part of the station’s Like a Version segment. While they were there they told presenters Tom and Alex that they would most likely be touring the upcoming album in August. They also pointed out that due to their other commitments this will likely be their only tour ever.

As soon as dates are announced and tickets go on sale you’ll read about it here. Given that this will be the only chance to see Basement Birds live tickets will no doubt sell out fast.

if you missed the boys on triple j this morning you can hear it here.

Also watch their performance on Sunrise here.

Arcade Fire Album Art and Release Date

Arcade Fire
Image Courtesy of Arcade Fire

In typical Arcade Fire fashion the band have released the cover art (above) and release date of their upcoming album The Suburbs via a hand written note on their web site.

The note reads that the release date for the album will be “August 2nd or August 3rd depending on where you live (“check local listings” ha ha ha)”. As previously mentioned their 12″ vinyl single is out now with a sample streaming on the Arcade Fire site.

Spotlight On: Béla Fleck

Bela Fleck
Image Courtesy of Béla Fleck

There was a time when being a banjo player was not something you admitted in polite company. The fact that the instrument has made a renaissance is probably due in some small way to one man: Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck is probably a name that’s familiar to anyone who’s graced the East or West Coast Blues and Roots festivals in the past few years. Whether as a solo artist, with his band The Flecktones or as part of his latest Africa Project, Béla Fleck has always left Australian audiences wanting more.

When one normally thinks of banjo music bluegrass, trad or even barbershop spring to mind. And while Béla Fleck touches on all of these genres in truth he transcends them and turns the banjo into truly classical instrument. More similar to a concert pianist or virtuoso violinist, Fleck is truly in a league of his own.

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones first came to prominence supporting the Dave Matthews Band on their numerous tours around America and has appeared as a guest musician on their albums. He has also recently written and released “Danse Macabre” a piece of music to accompany Neil Gaiman’s latest novel The Graveyard Book. Having just visited our shores with his African Project at Easter we are unlikely to see him here again soon, although don’t be surprised if he pops up on the lineup for festivals next year.

Country of Origin: USA
Sounds Like: The Yo Yo Ma of banjo music
File Under: Trad, Bluegrass, Fusion-Folk, Blues
Official site:

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