Watch the New Fraser A. Gorman Video “Book Of Love”

Fraser A Gorman
Image Courtesy of Fraser A. Gorman

I have to say it – I love the new Fraser A. Gorman video “Book Of Love”. The laid-back, west coast feel of the track is perfectly offset by the messing-around-in-boats visual of the video. Plus there’s a chicken, and we all love chickens.

“Book Of Love” will feature on Fraser A. Gorman’s upcoming debut album. Check out the video below:

Review: Scott Matthew, Unlearned

Scott Matthew
Image Courtesy of Scott Matthew

Review by Sheridan Morley

How difficult is it to unlearn something?

If you’ve ever attempted to teach yourself to hold a pen differently, or if you still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Pluto was never a planet, you’ll understand the struggle of unlearning – of reconsidering what was previously fact in your mind, or of un-perfecting a skill you had worked so hard to perfect in the first place.

Listening to music, after all, is a skill. In its purest form, it is the reception of sound by our ears, combined with the ability to use our brains to interpret and convert said sound into understanding. It is in this interpretation, though, that listening becomes a polygamous marriage of physicality to experience and emotion – in a split second, we, as unique individuals, apply layers of our own differing experiences to the same sound, and decide to like it (or not) accordingly. From our peers who decide to like those songs we reject as affronts to our very being, we demand reformation: “How can you even STAND Justin Bieber?! Get thee to the JB Hi-fi rock aisle at once!” For those songs we accept as our favourites, however, we act as aggressive defenders: “Bohemian Rhapsody is SO the best song of all time!” It is these songs that become hits; and that we want to explore and share and hear performed again, and again, and again.

If you think I’ve just taken the most roundabout route possible to overhype a covers album, you’re dead wrong. Scott Matthew’s fourth full-length release, Unlearned, is more than a covers album – it is a creative reimagining of the favourite songs of three generations of music listeners. Like a renewal of wedding vows after decades, Matthew challenges you to reaffirm your love for those very songs that you learned to love so long ago, regardless of their genre. This time, though, he wants you to do it his way.

The tracks Matthew showcases on Unlearned are deliberately eclectic. Iconic songwriters ranging from Whitney Houston to Neil Young are featured, and all rebroadcast in his signature rich, resounding tones. The album opens with what could be mistaken for a Birds of Tokyo keyboard arrangement partnered with a Boards of Canada soundscape. When Scott’s smooth, low vocals enter, it is a surprise and a delight to realise he’s crooning his way through the first lines of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody”. A pretty, nylon-string guitar introduces the second half of the first verse, and ever so gradually, the track builds through layers of keyboard to present a beautiful, yet restrained, tribute to a classic love song.

From here, we melt into a gently strummed ukulele to introduce an unlikely version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, joined by a beautiful piano progression – a perfect nod to the ballads of Whitney’s era. The track features one of the album’s only percussive elements, a brushed snare in the chorus, which ends almost too abruptly leading into the second verse, losing a little momentum. We’re quickly distracted, though, by a dazzling three-part harmony in the second chorus, and a decidedly modern, un-cheesy take on the “Don’t You Wanna Dance” bridge to finish. Scott’s voice is surprisingly good in this range, though it’s one more native to a female vocalist – the intensity of such a naturally low voice singing up high really drives an emotional impact that couldn’t have been achieved by a female if they tried.

The sure stand-out track of Unlearned is Joy Division’s classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – probably the closest fit to Scott’s vocals which, in the right (or wrong) context, could sound deliciously creepy. The same piano, drowned in sustain, is an excellent substitute for the original instrumentation and effects, while an electric bass references that iconic bass line, but subtly enough to remain cheeky. At just 4:04, Scott rejects the 80s tendency to milk a good groove for all it’s worth, instead including all that needs to be there for maximum impact. It’s easy to see he’s grown up listening to this song. He demonstrates a devastating intensity and phenomenal clarity of tone up high that hasn’t yet emerged on this album. The worst thing is that it’s buried all the way down at number 9 on the track listing.

The more soft rock-inclined of you will be chuffed to note that Radiohead’s “No Surprises” managed to feature on this album, transformed into a ukulele masterpiece. The addition of a female backing vocal separates the texture of this track nicely from the others. While a beautiful track in its own right, those who have been known to throw their support behind the original version will be endlessly frustrated by the omission of that minor turnaround at the end of the main riff – probably the most interesting feature of the original – which instead lands flat with a standard major turnaround. When it finally appears, though, no earlier than the second last chord of the song, you can almost hear the echo of relieved groans from Radiohead devotees worldwide.

The chance to join Scott on this journey through his musical memories is a privilege, and along the way, we start to get a sense of unity in that these favourites of ours were once someone else’s favourites, too. And not just Scott’s – other selections, namely “Help Me Make It Through The Night” and “Jesse”, have been covered extensively throughout the ages by such greats as Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, Janis Ian, Bryan Ferry and more. Hours of fascination could surely be had by considering how each arrangement came to be, but if you don’t have the time, Scott’s stunning homages are enough. Just quietly, I’d love to hear Scott’s rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” on his next release.

Scott Matthew is touring for Timber and Steel in May. The full dates are below:

Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 18th May -The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat To Release Debut Album

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Jackson McLaren and his band The Triple Threat have been hard at work in the studio over the summer – and now their hard work is coming to fruition with the release of their debut album Songs To Greet The Dawn due out this Friday the 2nd May.

The album has been a long time coming with his breakthrough EP Mirrors and Strings released way back in 2011.

“I think the earliest song is from 2008, and others are from only a couple of months ago,” McLaren explains. “I just wanted my first album to be a big, cohesive picture of what has been happening for the last few years.”

Songs To Greet The Dawn was produced by John Castle – the full track list and the video to the single “Some of My Friends” are below:

1. Gold Turned to Green
2. Here’s a Memory
3. Some of My Friends
4. To See You There
5. This Be the Place
6. In My Old Age
7. A Whole Day Nearer
8. Waltz for a Ghost
9. Farewell This House
10. Song to Greet the Dawn

Old Man Luedecke Announces More Australian Dates

Old Man Luedecke
Image Courtesy of Old Man Luedecke

Canada’s Old Man Luedecke has spent the autumn folk festival season in Australia over the last couple of weeks and it looks like her can’t keep away with the extention of his national tour this May.

We caught Old Man Luedecke recently at the National Folk Festival and we know Australian audiences are already enamoured with his banjo driven folk songs. Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 1st May – South Coast Folk Club, Port Noarlunga, SA
Friday 2nd May – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 3rd May – The Royal Yacht Club, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 4th May – The Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick, VIC
Tuesday 6th May – Burrinja Café, Upwey, VIC

Details of the New Al Parkinson Single “Like This”

Al Parkinson
Image Courtesy of Al Parkinson

2013 was definitely the year of Al Parkinson. The Melbourne based singer-songwriter was everywhere, soaking up a bunch of support slots, putting in time at the various regular nights around her home town and basically working her butt off to be seen.

This week Al Parkinson will be releasing her brand new single “Like This”. The single is the first taste of Parkinson’s journey towards a full-length album and captures her style beautifully. As soon as we have a stream of the single you’ll be able to hear it here.

To launch “Like This” Al Parkinson will be performing a very special, intimate performance at the Aviary Creative Hub in Melbourne where the track was recorded. The gig will take place on Saturday 17th May and will feature Timber and Steel favourite James Kenyon in support. For more information about the show check out the official Facebook event here – and get in quick, tickets are extremely limited.

Interview: Tom Lee-Richards (Catch Release)

Tom Lee-Richards
Image Courtesy of Catch Release

With the Timber and Steel presented Scott Matthew tour kicking off next month we thought it was time to chat with the support, Tom Lee-Richards, about his Catch Release project.

Janine Estoesta: So, Catch Release has to really stand out to me mainly for your beat-boxing – how did that even begin?

Tom Lee-Richards: Hi there! Thanks. Beat boxing or Catch Release? I’ll start with beat boxing. I can’t remember. I know I was experimenting, making weird and kinda gross noises when I was six years old-entertaining myself I guess and I didn’t stop. Fast forward to being 13 and I’m humming the Rocky theme song whilst doing drum roles with a back beat with other parts of my mouth. Don’t know how I got there. Now I’m experimenting, making weird and kinda gross noises. Feels right as another texture in the band.

Catch Release started a few years ago. At first it was about exploring a lot of sounds that influenced all of the players probably with more of a lean towards a world music kinda space vibe. Then it changed.

JE: How did you come to have a violin and french horn in Catch Release’s sound?

TL-R: As songs started to develop a cohesive style we recorded a few songs. French horn and violin felt right for one of the more nostalgic, hopeful songs along with clarinet and cello. We put on a big gig (if we’re talking the amount of players in the band) and realised how grand the sound could be. The most essential instruments seemed to be the odd pairing of Violin and French horn and we got in contact with Tim Hannah (french horn) and Navin Gulavita (bass). Never looked

JE: What is the story behind Asleep Is A Friend Of Mine? Any standout muses?

TL-R: The EP is a journey. Some songs are hopeful, some are idealistic. Some bare honesty in there too and darkness. Asleep is a Friend of Mine is part of a lyric from the song “Chasing Ideas” referring to getting lost in your own thoughts, anxieties and searching for things you don’t need. Is that giving too much away? Muses, hmm now that would be telling. Yes. Short answer no. Ha!

JE: What is cooking for Catch Release as a collective and you as a solo this year?

TL-R: Catch Release will definitely be getting back in the studio later this year. I’m really happy with how the whole sound comes together and the guys are some lovely dudes.

As for me, I’m currently in the studio with the guitar and rhythm base laid down for my favourite new track. It’s for a solo project. I’m very excited to be launching a number of singles and actually creating a place you can find me on the interwebs this year. I’m going to be busy. And then there’s this Scott Matthew tour! What a unique artist. Humbled to be part of the tour and looking forward to meeting him.

JE: Any collaborations in the horizon?

TL-R: That’s one of the things I’m most excited about this year. I’m collaborating with Countbounce, a phenomenal producer right now. He has a really fresh sound and has worked with some of my favourite Australian acts. Having fun throwing ideas up!

Also just had a taste of collaboration, singing duets with Philemon. She has a beautiful sound. I’m always singing with Monique Shelford. Watch out for her too. We have a lot of fun together on stage acting like dicks.

JE: Is your solo project more of a stripped version of Catch Release or are you wanting to head in a different direction with it?

TL-R: The solo songs I have written lately are different. Simpler, with more of a vocal focus perhaps but influenced by Catch Release for sure. The instrumentation involved is wide open right now though. That’s the coolest part. I am just looking to match the mood of the songs and add what seems like it’s got to be there. I’ll let you know Janine!

JE: Can we expect an Australian tour from Catch Release soon?

TL-R: Soon, I dunno but when I’m up in Sydney and Brisbane to support Scott Matthew I will be booking some more gigs. That could be the start of touring one way or the other.

JE: What is your take on chocolate milkshakes?

TL-R: Shit. Not shit. Really good. Can I pretend I’m Vegan and say some soy shakes are also amazing. I could live on an Island with only juice-Banana and Mango. For a bit.

Tom Lee-Richards’ Catch Release project will be supporting Scott Matthew’s upcoming Timber and Steel presented tour. The full list of dates are below:

Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 18th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Details of This Weekend’s Northern Beaches Music Festival

Northern Beaches
Image Courtesy of the Northern Beaches Music Festival

Don’t think for a moment that just because Easter has come and gone that the folk festival season is over – we’re still smack bang in the middle of some fantastic events right around the country.

If you’re in Sydney this weekend you’d do well to get yourself north of the bridge to the Berry Reserve in Narrabeen for the 2014 Northern Beaches Music Festival. Sydney itself doesn’t have a defining folk festival but it does have a bunch of smaller festivals that are within easy access scattered around its outskirts and the Northern Beaches Music Festival is definitely worth a day (or even weekend) trip.

This years bill includes a wealth of amazing local and national artists, including the likes of Laura & Susie, Luke Escombe, Dave Calandra, Charlie Gradon, Wheeze and Suck Band, Betty & Oswald, Direwolf, The April Maze, Alanna and Alicia, The Green Mohair Suits and many many more. The festival kicks off on Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May and tickets are an affordable $35 for adults per day ($25 on Friday and $75 for all three days).

For more information on the Northern Beaches Music Festival check out the official site here.

Sam Lee & Friends Announce New EP More For To Rise

Sam Lee
Image Courtesy of Sam Lee & Friends

If you were lucky enough to catch Sam Lee & Friends’ only Australian performance at WOMADelaide this year you’ll understand what a visionary Lee is in the realm of traditional music. His 2012 Mercury Prize nominated album Ground of its Own is one of my favourite traditional music records ever so I’m super excited to hear he’s returned to the studio with a brand new EP, his first under the Sam Lee & Friends moniker.

The EP is titled More For To Rise and is due for release on the 12th May. The four track EP is meant as a taster for Sam Lee & Friends’ second album which is scheduled for this October. Take a listen to the track “Phoenix Island” from More For To Rise below:

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel Announce First Melbourne Show of 2014

Sal Kimber
Image Courtesy of Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel

After a summer of festivals Melbourne alt-country favourites Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel have announced their first headline hometown show of the year this week.

On Thursday 1st May Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel will be taking over The Yarra Hotel in Abbotsford. The show will be your only chance to catch the full band in Melbourne until later this year as Sal Kimber is about to embark on a solo tour of the US and Canada. Joining them in the support slot with be Anchor & The Butterfly.

For more information on the show check out the official Facebook event here.

Luka Bloom Announces New Album Head and Heart

Luka Bloom
Image Courtesy of Luka Bloom

Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom has announced plans to release his brand new album Head and Heart on the 6th May this year. Half of the album was recorded with jazz ensemble The Phil Ware Trio with whom Bloom had never played with before.

“Completely out of my comfort zone, in a studio I’ve never used before, singing with musicians I had never met before and performing without rehearsal,” Luka Bloom explained. “I love everything about this record.”

Head and Heart is set to include a number of classic Irish tracks like “My Wild Irish Rose”, “Danny Boy”, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Gentle on My Mind” as well as a couple of originals. Check out Luka Bloom’s version of “My Wild Irish Rose” below:

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: