Timber and Steel Premiere: Dan Flynn & The State of Things’ New Video “Heavy Lies the Crown”

Dan Flynn
Image Courtesy of Dan Flynn & The State of Things

We’re really enjoying the music we’re hearing from Dan Flynn & The State of Things (the artist formally known as Major Chord). So we were so chuffed when they asked us to debut their new video “Heavy Lies the Crown”.

The track reminds me a lot of traditional English folk music, particularly with the male and female vocals throughout and the rythmic drone created with the guitars and strings.

Check out the video here:

“Heavy Lies the Crown” is taken from Dan Flynn & The State of Things’ upcoming album Preparing for Flight which is due for release on the 16th October – pre-orders are now available via Bandcamp with two tracks immediately downloadable. Dan Flynn & The State of Things will be launching the record at Shadow Electric in Melbourne on the 28th November, with more dates to follow soon.

Roland Kay-Smith Announces Album Launch Tour

Roland Kay-Smith
Image Courtesy of Roland Kay-Smith

After releasing his debut solo album Sailing By The Stars earlier this year Sydney singer-songwriter Roland Kay-Smith has announced plans for an East Coast tour from this week – some dates supporting Skyscraper Stan, some supporting M.E. Baird and some headlining. Roland Kay-Smith will be performing all of the shows solo and acoustic which should mean some lovely, intimate shows.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Wednesday 11th March – Railway Friendly Bar, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 12th March – The End, West End, QLD
Friday 13th March – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 20th March – Illawarra Brewery, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 9th April – The Grand Junction, Maitland, NSW
Friday 10th April – Django Bar, Marrickville, NSW
Sunday 12th April – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 15th April – The Retreat Hotel, Brunswick, VIC
Wednesday 22nd April – Customs House Library, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 23rd April – Junk Bar, Ashgrove, QLD

Rodrigo y Gabriela Announce Bluesfest Sideshows

Rodrigo y Gabriela
Image Courtesy of Rodrigo y Gabriela

Acoustic rockers Rodrigo y Gabriela have long been lauded as a must see live act, and given their proclivity towards visiting our shores there’s a good chance you can attest to that. In 2015 Rodrigo y Gabriela will be back in Australia for Bluesfest and they have this week announced a couple of sideshows while they’re in the country.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th April – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Tuesday 7th April – The Palais, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 9th April – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Captain Apples Gig Review – Open Studio

Captain Apples

Captain Apples
17th February 2013, Open Studio, Melbourne

Upon multiple listens of Captain Apples prior to this long-awaited gig, this collective of six very talented and passionate musicians did not disappoint. In fact, they transcend all expectation and have solidified any reservations for their inevitable success. The combined instruments with interchangeable players of a twelve string guitar, six string, banjo, piano, piano accordion, contrabass (double bass) and percussion, produces a very warm, yet full sound. What was most prominent was the perfect vocal harmony between frontmen Iain Isdale and Richard Wise, who in unison, created a cradlesong for adults and children alike.

With lyrics like “I wish to wash away your fears, I wrote a thousand lulabyes” and “dismounting the high horse, I drown in your kiss”, their music does nothing less of incite feelings of great love and everlasting waltzing. Said waltzing certainly took place by the end of a humid Melbourne evening in the dim red glow of Open Studio, Northcote.

Perhaps, the most standout song was “Lights Of Dover” – with beautiful poetry entwined with a structure that truly exemplifies Valse Nouveau. The gentle and simultaneously prominent three piece drum kit creating a strong body of sound to complement the strings in this song.

The general feel of Captain Apples’ songs remains in the range of andante and allegretto, befitting to the overall demeanor of the band’s distinct sound.

In another time, you could find Captain Apples in nineteenth century Parisian love letters.

Sounds like: Kings of Convenience, Iron & Wine, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes
If you like this you might like: Taxidermy Hall – “Gambler”
Bottom line: Superb.

Review: Miles and Simone, Home In Your Heart

Miles and Simone
Image Courtesy of Miles and Simone

Miles O’Neil and Simone Page Jones came together after a decade long friendship to bring us Home In Your Heart – for which we can all collectively feel thankful for the birth of this divine musical collaboration.

With inspiration for these eleven songs stemming from their own personal experiences through their eyes, one begins to beautify and romanticise what was a seemingly mundane happening. Glimpses of satire and pure love, holidays and heartbreak, we as listeners are privy to the vulnerability one endures. As is easily exemplified by this album, we have two palpably talented musicians who are incredibly experienced and classically trained. Simone’s operatic voice harmonizing in perfect synchronization with Miles’ baritone voice. Such unique vocals sitting atop a lone guitar playing at times a rather grave melody, however more often than not, a melody that sits somewhere between 1960’s folk and 1990’s alternative pop music.

I implore you to listen to this album on a long drive into the country, or on an afternoon in the sun with a glass of pinot grigio. Whether it be the slight trills you revel in or the deep smooth vocals, the raw composition and befitting structure, Home In Your Heart is sure to be a favourite on your playlist.

Keep an ear out for the secret song on this album and take “A Holiday” and spend time with two of Australia’s finest. By the end of this album, Miles and Simone will build a home in your heart.

Sounds like: Johnny Cash, Joanna Newsom, Kings Of Convenience, Mark Kozelek, Kate Bush
If you like this you might like: Etta James and Harvey Fuqua – “If I Can’t Have You”

Ben Harper Announces Acoustic Tour of Australia

Ben Harper
Image Courtesy of Ben Harper

Ben Harper is no stranger to Australian audiences. Over countless years he’s visited our shores with his bands Innocent Criminals, Relentless 7 and Fistful of Mercy and has wowed crowds at festivals and headline shows alike. But Ben Harper’s next Australian tour is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before.

For the first time Ben Harper will be headlining an acoustic tour of Australia. If you’re a fan of Harper’s softer moments (or like us, the second disc from the Live From Mars album) then you’ll have to make sure you get your hands on tickets to one of these very special shows. The full list of dates are below with tickets going on sale on the 11th July:

Friday 9th November – Convention Centre, Brisbane
Saturday 10th November – The Plenary, Melbourne
Monday 12th November – Opera House, Sydney

The Black Atlantic Announce New EP “Darkling, I Listen” (+ preorder)

Image courtesy of The Black Atlantic

You might remember reading some time ago an article Timber & Steel published steering you all towards a fantastic folk-pop act from the Netherlands called The Black Atlantic. The underpinning fact of the article was that The Black Atlantic were offering their debut album Reverence For Fallen Trees for free download- an outrageous act of generosity in anyone’s language. I know I got my hands on it quick smart (and the WordPress stats suggested many of you did too) simply because I thought the offer was way too good to last. Well, turns out I was wrong. The Black Atlantic are still offering their debut album for free via this link.

Furthermore, today’s Darkling, I Listen EP announcement also stated their intent to eventually make the upcoming EP available for free as well, but for now, they need help financing it. How do we help? Well, The Black Atlantic have cleverly created a range of products for us to pre-order in order to fund the recording, producing, mixing and manufacturing costs. There’s digital downloads, CDs, Vinyl, T-shirts- the lot. I’d strongly urge everyone to follow this link and download The Black Atlantic‘s debut album for free, and if you like what you hear, give a little bit back and head to this website to pre-order the new EP Darkling, I Listen. There’s free shipping to Australia, or anywhere in the world (if you were wondering), so don’t let oceans get in your way! When my pay-cheque comes in I’m definitely ordering the 10-inch vinyl and a t-shirt. That’ll fix that conscience of mine.

Gomez to Release New Album “Whatever’s On Your Mind”

Image Courtesy of Gomez

UK indie-acoustic darlings Gomez have announced they will be releasing their new album Whatever’s On Your Mind on the 21st June (going up against the new Bon Iver album). To get us in the mood for the release the five-piece have released a “teaser” video for the new album with a sneak peek at the first single “Options”:

Whatever’s On Your Mind is available for preorder via the official Gomez site.

Spotlight On: Mardi Pannan

Image Courtesy of Mardi Pannan

One of the things I love about my day job is that I get to seek out and book acts of all genres. In focussing on the local area and using all manner of online resources, like Triple J Unearthed, I have found a vast array of acts that I can not only book, but also feature here on Timber and Steel. One such singer/ songwriter I discovered late last year is the delightful Mardi Pannan. Now, I’ve been keeping her all to myself and listening to her self titled EP, but now is the time to share her with you all in readiness for the launch of her new single “Tattooed” this Thursday.

Writing since she was 18, Mardi achieves a certain delicacy in her music, that balance of innocence, experience, pain and joy all in delightful packages of rich sound. It’s no wonder she’s been a Music Oz finalist twice and has won the Lighthouse songwriting award at the Port Fairy Folk Festival. With other festivals including Woodford, Falls and Tamworth Country Music Festival under her belt, it’s testament to the calibre of her music and style. Having seen her live, she is an unassuming performer who plays for the audience, clearly wanting to please them with the best set possible. Her career has taken a slower pace than most musicians try to push for, however, she has collected fans across her home town of Sydney and is now set to expand her fan base throughout Australia.

With her latest single “Tattooed” set for launch at El Rocco Room in Sydney’s Kings Cross tomorrow night (Thursday 12 May), we can only assume that her air play will begin to rise and many of you will be in the ‘I knew about her first’ category. Her soft and folky voice is an absolute pleasure and her EP is one of those recordings you just want to wrap yourself up in and have a cup of tea. With diverse themes to each track on her EP, you’ll find something for every mood, including a couple of nice summery numbers to while away the cold winter days.

Tickets are still available for her single launch tomorrow night, doors open at 8pm with support by Hello Vera and Caitlin Harnett, all for the princly sum of $10. Who said Sydney’s music scene is dead?

Country of origin: Australia (Sydney)
File Under: Alt-Folk, Pop-Folk, Acoustic
Sounds like: Julia Stone and Lisa Mitchell
Myspace: myspace.com/mardipannan

Review: Myles Mayo Self Titled Debut Album

Image courtesy of Myles Mayo

When I looked up Myles Mayo a couple of weeks ago, what I found gave me a bit of a fright. How could such an accomplished folk-pop artist be operating and flourishing in Adelaide without me knowing?! Well, there’s a good reason. I did hear that he had supported Mama Kin at her last Adelaide show, but assumed he was an interstate act for the sole reason that I hadn’t heard of him. I later found out that this was one of his first solo gigs (with band) In Adelaide, so perhaps I could be forgiven for not knowing of him before this. Myles Mayo is the former front man of Special Patrol, who were certainly one of the best bands to come out of Adelaide in the last 5 years, and Mayo‘s solo work absolutely retains all of what I loved about the band’s music whilst bringing a whole new bag of tricks to the party.

My overall first impression of Mayo‘s debut album was; ‘this is bound for high Triple J rotation’. With a sound somewhere between Grizzly Bear and Jonathan Boulet, the album is literally track after track of catchy, playful pop melodies that are expertly produced.

The record begins very strongly with “My Little Tokyo”- a song which probably encompasses what Mayo‘s music is about pretty conclusively. Acoustic and slide guitars, fun hand-percussion, and cute, summery rhythmic/melodic sounds that could come from anything from steel-drums to keys to glockenspiel. In my opinion, it is this song and then next one, “How You Done Me Wrong”, that have the greatest potential for success. They’re just catchy pieces of good songwriting. I think what I enjoy most about these two tracks is the absurd coupling of cheerful composition and dark lyricism.

You’d probably think that, because I’ve said that the first 2 tracks probably have the greatest potential for success, that the album is going to go downhill from here- but no, it doesn’t. Track 3, “I Slept The Winter Underground”, is probably my favourite song on the album. Its chord progression, vocal melody and instrumentation reinforces that you’re listening to a writer of inspired music- not just catchy tunes. The next track, “Leave The Party” is probably a good opportunity to talk about Mayo‘s vocals. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve noticed for local artists is transferring great quality live performance into great quality recordings. The elements, it seems, that most artists have difficulty in capturing are percussion and vocals (for some reason)- and the acts that get this right in the studio are inevitably the ones that get noticed by radio. Myles Mayo‘s vocals are always spot on, and whilst there’s nothing particularly spectacular about them, the’re certainly special enough to become attached to. The vocal harmonies are relentless, but simple and only ever complimentary and there’s a distinct air of confidence in his voice- you can tell you’re listening to a seasoned performer.

Track 5, “Daddy’s Lamb To The Slaughter”, is a masterclass in quirk. From the frolicsome lyrics to the bouncy bass line to the cheeky inclusion of a very recognisable famous cello-line in the bridge; this song is perfectly odd- like something you’d expect from Akron/Family. It is followed by the more conventional “Crazy Like Me” which is a song that I think is really made by its production- particularly the distortion on the secondary vocal track and the resonating and continuous piano chords.

The album moves back into quirk as quickly as it departed from it with track 7, “Ice-Cream Truck”. Although being a lovely, original composition, the track draws influence from a range of unexpected places. In the mix is the traditional ice-cream truck tune, verses that follow a similar melody and timing to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, the lyrics “swing low sweet chariot”, and a high-pitched accompaniment that sounds as if it could be coming from a theremin.  The next song “Young Love Aches” goes to a place that, having listened to the first 7 songs, I dearly hoped it would. I could hear a potential for big, layered, harmonious group vocals in the first half of the album, but it never really gets there until this track, and results in a very danceable Polyphonic Spree-like happy-place of a song.

When listening to the album from start to finish, Track 9, “What, Cat Got Your Tongue?”, is probably my favourite one after Track 3. The mix fingerpicking guitar, strings, punchy tambourine and the return of that mysterious high-pitched theremin-like sound (which I’m sure is just a keyboard function) makes for another really interesting song. Track 10, “Please RSVP”, is probably a little bit too similar to both “My Little Tokyo” &  “Leave The Party” for me, and the album could have probably done without it. .The last 2 tracks on the album are absolute treasures- I just hope people find them. I know I often only have 30 minutes at any one time to listen to an album and seem to never get around to the last one or two tracks. “School Girl”- a slow little ditty about emotional immaturity, and the regretful confession “Like I loved You Then” perfectly wind the album down with absolute class.

I have a feeling that every blog is Australia will be posting their review of this album soon- it’s just a matter of time before the country cottons on to Myles Mayo. He’s launching this album on April 15 at Jive, so South Australians should take this opportunity to see Myles Mayo “before he was a star” and get your hands on this album, which I think is definitely up there with full length releases from Vorn Doolette, The Honey Pies and Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! as the best to come out of  SA in recent years. You can purchase the album from Mayo‘s label Other Tongues or iTunes via this link. Trust me- it’s worth it.

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: