The Full Port Fairy Folk Festival Line Up

Port Fairy
Image Courtesy of the Port Fairy Folk Festival

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is undoubtedly one of the biggest events on the folk music calendar and once again 2017 is shaping up to be an amazing event.

The full lineup of the 2017 Port Fairy Folk Festival has been released and it features a bunch of amazing artists including Willie Watson, Melody Pool, Lior, Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, Afenginn, Boo Hewerdine, Charm of Finches, Eddi Reader, Folk Uke, Gretta Ray, Martha Tilston, Mel Parsons, Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen, The Changing Room, The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Dead Maggies, The Waifs, The Wilson Pickers, The Young Folk and many more.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place from the 10th through to the 13th March in Port Fairy, Victoria. For more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

The full Port Fairy Folk Festival lineup is below:

8 Foot Felix, Afenginn, Aoife Scott, Backsliders, Barry Versus Kelly, Bazzookas, Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, Big Rory & Ochie, Bikerina, Boo Hewerdine, Buckman Coe, Buried Country, Burke & Wills: The Expedition By Ashley Davies, Bush Gothic, Chaos Magnet, Charles Jenkins, Charm of Finches, Christine Collister & Michael Fix, Circular Circus – Heidi Hoops, Cookin’ On 3 Burners with Tex Perkins & Stella Angelico, Danny Spooner, Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier, Dog Trumpet, Don Walker, Dori Freeman, Dubmarine, Eddi Reader, Ewen Baker, Featherhead, Fem Belling, Folk Uke, Gawurra, Giant Seagulls, Graeme James, Gretta Ray, Hey Mammoth, Hollie Smith, Jemma & The Clifton Hillbillies, JVG Guitar Method, Karma County, Krazy Koala Puppet Show, Kutcha Edwards Trio, Les Poules a Colin, Lior, Lisnacrieve, Manu Delago, MarimbaTaters, Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, Martha Tilston, Mel Parsons, Melody Pool, Mercan Dede, Mexrrissey, Mick Thomas & The Roving Commission, Miss Amber & Stukulele, Mr Qwirk, Mr Wizowski, Mundy, Nancie Schipper, Neil Murray, Nhatty Man & Gara, Nick Nicholas, Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen, Phil Wiggins & Dom Turner, Red the Clown, Roo Panes, Sarah Carroll & the Left Wing, Seamus Begley Trio, Sport Suzie, Steve Boyd’s Rum Reverie, Suzannah Espie, Kerri Simpson, Barb Waters & Alison Ferrier, Tash Sultana, TEK TEK Ensemble, The Bean Project, The Changing Room, The Chipolatas present ‘Chipolatino’!, The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Dead Maggies, The Drowsy Maggies, The Jerry Cans, The Low Down Riders, The Mik Maks, The Mission Songs Project, The New Savages, The Pinks Play The Blues, The Scrims, The Skeleton Club, The Southern Ocean Sea Band, The Waifs, The Wilson Pickers, The Young Folk, Thomas Hugh, Tim Wheatley, TimTim, Van Morrison’s “Masterpieces” Presented by Vince Jones & The Astral Orchestra, Vika & Linda, Warsaw Village Band, Willie Watson, Yirrmal

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 9th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Lachlan Bryan and Aleyce Simmonds have announced a collaborative east coast tour. Details here

– US singer-songwriter Sean Rowe covered “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”. Details here

– Melbourne alt-country band The Wild Comforts released their new album Silver City Sorrow this week and are heading out on tour. Details here

– Sydney’s Darren Cross released his new video “And The New York Rain Came Down”. Details here

The Pigs announced details of their new album The Pigs’ Home Brew: 13 Aussie Classics as well as releasing the video for the track “Devil Inside”. Details here

– Brisbane alt-folk quartet Elbury released their brand new video “Caught Out Alone”. Details here

Nova and The Experience released their new video “We Made” from their brand new EP Where We Go. Details here

– Perth singer Husband released his new video “The Money”. Details here

– US Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham has announced a new album, Fear and Saturday Night. Details here

– Next week will see The Wild Wild Inner West Review hitting sydney featuring Michael Carpenter & The Cuban Heels, Amber Rae Slade, Fanny Lumsden and Chris Murphy. Details here

– Watch “Home”, the new single from young sister duo Charm of Finches. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Alanna Eileen is set to launch her new EP Absence next weekend. Details here

– Folk-blues artist Seasick Steve has announced details of his new album due this March. Details here

– Perth based singer-songwriter Joel Barker kicks off his national tour in Sydney tonight. Details here

Jim Lawrie (now without the Grizzly prefix) gave us a taste of his upcoming album EONS. Details here

Interviews

“We always make a new setlist for each concert, and for festivals we usually add quite a few up-tempo tunes to fire up under the dancers”Afenginn chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“Festival shows are always a bit special- the audiences are always a bit excited because there’s been a lot of word of mouth about us, and they’ve read about us in the program. There’s always the opportunity to bring guests up on stage too, which we haven’t had much chance to do in 2014. But ultimately I think we are always a bit excited to be at a festival and that boosts the energy of the set. We’re all festival babies and ge a buzz from the babel of culture at a big gathering- the music, food, seeing people we haven’t seen in ages- meeting new ones”Stray Hens chat to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“At Illawarra this year I will be concentrating on my audio-visual presentation The Anzacs: 100 Years On. It runs for 75-80 minutes and Nerys (Evans) and I do it together. I present, she presses the buttons. There is a great deal of audience participation and even reluctant singers find themselves joining in. Was that me singing??? I think I do Anzacs twice at Illawarra and have a couple of other “concert spots” as well. Looking forward to it as usual”Ted Egan chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“We are really looking forward to 2015. More touring is on the cards; new songs and a new album are on the way. Plenty of gigs and good times to be had for sure”Big Erle chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Blog

“I had probably my most memorable NYE a few years ago in the then Duck and Shovel, at a Beatles Singalong of all things, but this year, it was a case of same venue, completely different music on offer” – bring in the New Year again with the Woodford Folk Festival, Black Market Tune and Bill Quinn here

“I was like an excited 10yo boy. Heightening the experience just behind me was an almost two year old who was in paroxysm and frissons of delight and was joining in, improve-style, during the choral bits. Wonderful. An absolutely stunning achievement” – Bill Quinn enlightens us on the Woodford Folk Festival Fire Event. Check it out here

Releases This Week

Nova
Where We GoNova and the Experience
iTunes

The Wild Comforts
Silver City SorrowThe Wild Comforts
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Cygnet Folk Festival

Cygnet

Tassie’s little festival has become a must stop for many touring folk musicians and this year’s lineup is spectacular including Afenginn, Black Market Tune, Charm of Finches, Dan and Amy, Daniel Champagne, Dear Orphans, Fred Smith, John Smith, Lucy Wise, The BordererS, The Company, The East Pointers, The Mae Trio, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, The String Contingent and many many more.

Friday 9th to Sunday 11th January – Cygnet, TAS

Gigs Next Week

Archie Roach
Saturday 10th January – The Aurora, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 11th January – The Aurora, Sydney, NSW

Black Market Tune w/ Folklore
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Tuesday 13th January – Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 14th January – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Charm of Finches
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS

Cygnet Folk Festival
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th January – Cygnet, TAS

Debashish Bhattacharya
Thursday 15th January – City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th January – Bulli, NSW

Jessica Pratt
Saturday 10th January – The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Joel Barker
Friday 9th January – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 15th January – Bar 303, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th January – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT

John Smith
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS

Kim Churchill
Thursday 15th January – The Corner, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th January – The Abbey, Canberra, ACT

Lachlan Bryan w/ Jack Henderson, Sam York, Aleyce Simmonds
Wednesday 14th January – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 15th January – Lizottes, Kincumber, NSW

Olivia Chaney
Sunday 11th January – The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Paper Lions
Friday 9th January – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 10th January – Transit, Canberra, ACT

Passenger
Friday 16th January – Theatre Royal, Hobart, TAS

Slow Club
Thursday 15th January – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th January – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Tamar Valley Folk Festival
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th January – George Town, TAS

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Friday 16th to Sunday 25th January – Tamworth, NSW

The East Pointers w/ The Button Collective
Wednesday 14th January – Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

The Melbourne Folk Club feat. David Francey, James Kenyon, Lucy Wise
Wednesday 14th January – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

The Wild Comforts
Friday 9th January – Babushka Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 10th January – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Thursday 15th January – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Wild Wild Inner West feat. Michael Carpenter & The Cuban Heels, Amber Rae Slade, Fanny Lumsden, Chris Murphy
Thursday 15th January – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Thredbo Blues Festival
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th January – Thredbo, NSW

Tim Edey
Friday 9th and Saturday 10th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Tiny Ruins
Friday 16th January – The Aurora, Sydney, NSW

Upstairs & Underground feat. Betty & Oswald, Jacob Pearson, Caitlin Harnett, Goodtimes She Wrote
Saturday 10th January – Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Shape of My Heart” – Noah And The Whale

Noah and the Whale were always going to move away from their acoustic roots so much so that we haven’t covered their latest album Heart of Nowhere anywhere on Timber and Steel. But we still love the music these guys make and we’re sure you do too!

Illawarra Folk Festival Q&A: Afenginn

Afenginn
Image Courtesy of Afenginn

The Illawarra Folk Festival is one of the highlights of the summer folk festival calendar and this year they’re celebrating their 30th anniversary. We thought we’d chat to a number of the Illawarra Folk Festival artists in the lead up to the event and first up are Dannish anarchic five-piece Afenginn

Timber and Steel: What can audiences expect from your shows at the Illawarra Folk Festival?

Afenginn: A musical journey – from deep felt and meditative moments to dancey stuff in every thinkable meter

Timber and Steel: Do you approach a festival show differently from a regular gig?

Afenginn: We always make a new setlist for each concert, and for festivals we usually add quite a few up-tempo tunes to fire up under the dancers.

Timber and Steel: You’re touring a lot of festivals and shows around Australia. How do you find the Australian folk music touring and festival scene?

Afenginn: Very nice people, good bands and generally just a positive and loving atmosphere. We’re enjoying it a lot.

Timber and Steel: Are there any artists you’re excited to see at Illawarra?

Afenginn: Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything for sure, and apart from that just drift around and get surprised

Timber and Steel: This is the Illawarra Folk Festival’s 30th Anniversary. How do you think Afenginn would celebrate their 30th Anniversary?

Afenginn: For our 10 years anniversary we did a Decenniale show – a show that return every 10th year (like a biennale is every 2nd year), so for the 3rd Decenniale we’ll work out something spectacular. Copenhagen in May 2032 it is 🙂

Timber and Steel: What’s next for Afenginn after the Illawarra Folk Festival?

Afenginn: Straight back to Europe and tours in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway coming up

Afenginn have one appearance at the Illawarra Folk Festival:

10:45pm Saturday 17th January – Black Diamond Marquee

The full list of Afenginn’s Australian tour dates are below:

Tuesday 6th January – The Opera Bar, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 8th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 9th January – The Rhythm Hut, Central Coast, NSW
Saturday 10th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Sunday 11th January – Willie Smith’s Cider House, Hobart, TAS
Monday 12th January – TBD, Hobart, TAS
Tuesday 13th January – MONA, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 15th January – Sooki Lounge, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th January – The Curtin Band Room, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

30th Illawarra Folk Festival Announces First Round of Artists

Eric Bogle
Image Courtesy of Eric Bogle

This coming January is the pearl anniversary of the Illawarra Folk Festival and they’ve just announced a “pearler” of a first lineup announcement – their pun, not mine! The festival, held in Bulli just north of Wollongong in New South Wales, boasts 13 onsite venues and is easily one of our favourite events of the year.

The first round of artists for the 30th Illawarra Folk Festival include a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites including Afenginn, Eric Bogle (above), Ted Egan, Big Erle, The Bottlers, The BordererS, Chloë and Jason Roweth, Claude Hay, Cloudstreet, Fred Smith, The Go Set, Lime & Steel, The Lurkers, The Mae Trio, Margaret & Bob Fagan, Martin Pearson, The Morrisons, Sparrow-Folk, Stray Hens, Takadimi, Timothy James Bowen and many many more.

The Illawarra Folk Festival will be held at the Bulli showground from the 15th to the 18th January. For more information check out the official site here.

The full lineup announcement so far is below:

International:
Afenginn (DENMARK), Anna Ludlow Band (CANADA), Bettina Schelker (SWITZ), Black Market Tune (SCOT/AUSTRIA), David Francey (CANADA), Debasis Chakroborty & Kriti Ensemble (INDIA), The East Pointers (CANADA), George Mann (USA), Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything (CANADA), Kristina Olsen (USA), Melisande – Electrotrad (CANADA), Reg Meuross (UK), Scott Cook (CANADA), Tim Edey Trio (UK)

National:
Stephan Pigram, Eric Bogle, Ted Egan, Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra (premiere), Allez-gator, Appalachian Heaven String Band, Azadoota, Bernard Carney, Big Erle, The Bottlers, The BordererS, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Claude Hay, Cloudstreet, Curragh, Dave de Hugard, David Beniuk, Deep River, Choir, Don Jarmey, Enda Kenny & Lindsay Martin, Fred Smith, Guerilla Zingari, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse, The Go Set, Greg Champion, John Broomhall, Jordan C. Thomas, Junior, Lagoon Hill Zydeco, The Lazy Farmer’s Sons, Lime & Steel, The Lurkers, The Mae Trio, Margaret & Bob Fagan, Martin Pearson, Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Michael Fix, Mike Martin, The Morrisons, Neil Adam & Judy Turner, Nick Rheinberger, On The Stoop, Pat Drummond, Sally Harris, Sparrow-Folk, Springtide, The Squeezebox Trio, Stray Hens, Takadimi, Terry Serio’s Half Truths, Timothy James Bowen, The Transylvaniacs and Kengugro, Vardos, The Wish List

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 10th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Stream the self-titled debut album for Sydney brother duo Forgonia. Details here

James Vincent McMorrow wrapped up his Australian tour this week and released his new video “Red Dust”. Details here

– After you listen to the Redvers track “Impressions” make sure you reach out to the man himself for an exclusive stream of his new album. Details here

– Danish ethnopunk band Afenginn are in the country and have a bunch of shows around the place that you need to get to. Details here

– To showcase his upcoming album Jack Carty is heading out on a national house concert tour from this week. Details here

– London’s Emily and The Woods released their new single “Helios”. Details here

– Today marks the release of Sarah Blasko’s new live album I Awake Live at Sydney Opera House. Details here

– Brisbane five-piece Bandito Folk released their new video for the track “Don’t Wanna Be Like You”. Details here

– Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard has announced Australian dates in March with Lisa O’Neill in support. Details here

– It may be a shameless cash-in on the buzz surrounding Inside Llewyn Davis but the upcoming compilation Greenwich Village in the ‘60s has a pretty impressive track listing. Details here

Jordan Millar has released his new single “If Only…” which he’s offering as a free download. Details here

– Scottish singer Emily Smith has released the video for her new single “My Darling Boy”. Details here

– Following the sad news that The Staves have cancelled their Australian tour due to illness, Communion Melbourne have added Ainslie Wills and Tigertown (DJ set) to their January lineup. Details here

Interviews

“It’s great to get away from a Berlin winter and if work is slow, you might as well be able to visit your friends and family, be in good weather, and actually have some work to do” – Peter D’Elia from The Beez chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

Releases This Week

Sarah Blasko
I Awake Live at Sydney Opera HouseSarah Blasko
JB HiFi

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Chris Thile

Chris Thile

Arguably the best mandolinist in the world, Chris Thile returns to Australia in solo mode with his new album Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol. 1 in tow. Thile will reportedly be dipping into his back catalogue along with his new album which will make for some pretty special shows

Tuesday 14th January – The Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 15th January – The Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 16th January – Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, NSW
Friday 17th January – MONA FOMA, Hobart, TAS

Gigs Next Week

Afenginn
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Monday 13th January – MONA, Hobart, TAS
Tuesday 14th January – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Wednesday 15th January – Lizotte’s, Central Coast, NSW
Thursday 16th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 17th to Saturday 18th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Andy Irvine
Friday 10th January – The Merry Muse, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 11th – Katinya Environmental Centre, Moruya, NSW
Sunday 12th – Cobargo Folk Club, Cobargo, NSW
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Chris Thile
Tuesday 14th January – The Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 15th January – The Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 16th January – Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, NSW
Friday 17th January – MONA FOMA, Hobart, TAS

Cygnet Folk Festival
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th January – Cygnet, TAS

Dom Flemons
Saturday 11th January – Circus Ronaldo Tent, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 12th January – Circus Ronaldo Tent, Sydney, NSW

Emily Barker
Monday 13th January – Sky Terrace at The Star, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 14th January – Sky Terrace at The Star, Sydney, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th January – Bulli, NSW

Jack Carty
Wednesday 15th January – House Concert, Thornlands, QLD
Thursday 16th January – House Concert, Fig Tree Pocket, QLD
Friday 17th January – House Concert, Brisbane, QLD

John Grant and John Murry
Thursday 16th January – Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, NSW

Jordan Millar
Friday 17th January – Name This Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kaurna Cronin
Wednesday 15th January – The Moon Cafe, Perth, WA
Friday 17th January – White Star, Albany, WA

Kim Churchill
Thursday 16th January – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Friday 17th January – The Sound Lounge, Gold Coast, QLD

Mat McHugh
Friday 10th January – Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour NSW
Saturday 11th January – Great Northern, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 16th January – Live at Lizottes, Lambton, NSW
Friday 17th January – Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay, NSW

Ruby Boots
Friday 17th January – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Sarah Blasko
Tuesday 14th January – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 15th January – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 16th January – St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD

Tamar Valley Folk Festival
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th January – George Town, TAS

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Friday 17th to Sunday 26th January – Tamworth, NSW

The Beez
Saturday 11th January – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

The Timbers
Saturday 11th January – Crown and Anchor Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Thredbo Blues Festival
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th January – Thredbo, NSW

Tom Dockray
Saturday 11th January – The Vic Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Unpaved Sessions feat. Samantha Stephens, Trevor Shard, Sophie Rose, Leo Kahans, Kaidee Grzankowski
Monday 13th January – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Zoe Elliot
Friday 10th January – The Merry Muse, Canberra, ACT
Monday 13th January – Smiths Bookshop, Canberra, ACT
Friday 17th January – Limonata, Grafton, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Untitled” – Ben Stephenson (Trouble in the Kitchen)

A couple of years ago the National Museum of Australia put together a series of videos on Youtube, hosted by Jimeoin, on Irish Music in Australia. In this clip Ben Stephenson from Trouble in the Kitchen talks about his research into Irish music at the National Library of Australia and plays an untitled jig he learnt from a recording of box and harmonica player Sally Sloane. You can link to the full series of videos here.

Afenginn’s Australian Tour Dates

Afenginn
Image Courtesy of Afenginn

When Gordon Wallace from The Crooked Fiddle Band picked Lux from Danish folk band Afenginn as his top album of 2013 for Timber and Steel he explained that he’d been a fan of their “bastard ethnopunk” for some time. So it’s no surprise that when Afenginn announced an Australian tour The Crooked Fiddle Band snapped up their Sydney support.

This January will mark Afenginn’s first visit to Australia with a couple of festival spots at the Cygnet Folk Festival and the Illawarra Folk Festival as well as some headline dates on the east coast. The band “takes an anarchic approach to traditional musical structures … always seeking to cross borders and push limits” and their live shows are said not to be missed.

Check out the full list of dates for Afenginn’s Australian tour below:

Thursday 9th January – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Monday 13th January – MONA, Hobart, TAS
Tuesday 14th January – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Wednesday 15th January – Lizotte’s, Central Coast, NSW
Thursday 16th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 17th to Saturday 18th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2013

Listening to Records

In what is now an end of year tradition Timber and Steel are following up our own list of the top albums of 2013 with a piece that opens the floor to some of our favourite artists.

We reached out to musicians far and wide, from big international names to local up-and-comers, to get their thoughts on the best albums and EPs of the year and the result is once again incredible. If you ever wanted to know what the artists you listen to are listening to then look no further as we present to you Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2013:

Back on the MilksThomas Busby (Busby Marou)
The Starry FieldBack on the Milks
It’s almost impossible to slot this album into a genre because it covers almost all styles yet somehow it works perfectly. Mark Myers could be from another planet, because this seems to be a soundtrack from another world.

Picture of YouDarren Cross (Jep & Dep, Darren Cross Band)
Guy ClarkMy Favorite Picture of You
Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt have to be mentioned in the same sentence. The masters of the Texan Troubadour Genre- minimal powerful melodies and stories that change your mood-help you live. Townes is no longer around – Guy Clark is in his 70s, his songs getting stronger and more powerful. These guys wrote the rule book. Guy Clark’s latest album is amazing. In a world of autotune – Racscal Flatts / Taylor Swift mediocrity – a true country artist without any of the rhinestone cowboy bullshit is still alive and kicking and relevant and still breaking our hearts. I dare you to listen to “My Favorite Picture of You” or “Hell Bent On A Heartache” and not feel something. A true Inspiration.

Sam AmidonDevon Leger (Hearth Music)
Sam AmidonBright Sunny South
Because Sam Amidon is the most visionary folk artist of his generation. He understands musical traditions deep into his bones, and though he goes very far afield in his interpretations, he’s so grounded in the traditions that his experimentation serves as a vehicle to delve farther into the source material than ever before. He’s an uncompromising artist that reminds me again why I love folk music.

Melody PoolKristy Cox
Melody PoolThe Hurting Scene
The Hurting Scene has to be one of the most amazing debut releases of an Australian artist in a long time. It’s an album that more often than not touches on the topics of hurt and sadness – yet a notion of positivity shines through each of the songs. Melody’s vocals are shine on each track, however it’s her lyrics and the melody in each song that draw you in so you have to keep on listening! By far my favourite release of 2013! This girl is amazing!

Tiny RuinsOscar Lush
Tiny RuinsHaunts
For me, this six track EP has more depth and honesty than any other full length album of 2013. Tiny Ruins is the moniker of UK born, New Zealand based, singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook. Following up from her 2011 album Some Were Meant For Sea, the Haunts EP is a beautifully flowing fusion of modern folk, jazz and old-school country blues. Fullbrook’s rich and captivating vocals roll so smoothly over her laid back picking style as she draws you further and further into the veil of fog that hovers over this charming collection of songs. What I love most about Haunts is the way it pays tribute to so many traditional styles, from the Townes Van Zandt style of guitar on “Cold Comfort” to Fullbrook’s flawless cover of “Rolling Mill Blues”, yet I fail to compare the sound of Tiny Ruins to anything else because it’s also completely of its own world. I promise that this one really is worth all of your time.

Daft PunkKim Churchill
Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
Whilst I’ve been dancing around possible answers in my head I really have to go for one which I’ve barely stopped playing since I bought it. I know the whole world seems to have been won over, but Random Access Memories by Daft Punk has been my favourite album this year. It has such respect for music and its evolution over the past 50 years. It also has most of my favourite session players from as far back as the 60’s as well. Using drummers like JR Robinson and Omar Hakim and experimenting with things like Gorgio Moroder’s monologue over the top of those drums was incredible. Its the kind of music I dream of hearing and the ultimate experimentation in excess. Over a million dollars, 5 years the best studios and session players in the world and the occasional full orchestral and choir movements! Finally though, what mainly draws me to an album is the songs. Though I never thought I would look to Daft Punk for inspiration, the songwriting is really exquisite. Particularly the Paul Williams collaboration, “Touch’.

StreetsMike McCarthy
Isaac de HeerStreets
I am a huge fan of Isaac De Heer, his records are on high rotation here. On Streets Isaac continues on this well built path of unorthodox folk songwriting. Again, as on his previous two records, the production captures his quirky approach to writing and performing music. The melodies are strong, the lyrics are the kind you want to pore over and try to understand. Every broken piano sound and haunting backing vocal has it’s place in a very well thought out and enjoyable EP.

The PreaturesAshleigh Mannix
The PreaturesIs This How You Feel?
I cannot tell you how may times I have listened to this EP since it’s release. Its absolute killer first single “Is This How You Feel?” still has me shamelessly breaking out in dance wherever and whenever I hear it. I actually cannot stop myself! The entire EP is filled with a catalogue of influences – Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Neil Young are a few that I immediately note. Yet at the same time, The Preatures have their own captivating sound that I personally cannot get enough of. Listening to female lead, Isabella Manfredi’s voice makes me want to put on my LBD and leather jacket and paint the town red. While the lead vocals of Gideon Benson in “Dark Times” leaves me completely devastated that I’m not single … It’s funny where music can take you. Is This How You Feel? is the sound of a band doing what they do, and doing it fecking well!

Jim JamesIsaac de Heer
Jim JamesRegions of Light and Sound of God
A couple of years back I was struck by the Yim Yames EP Tribute To which is a collection of George Harrison songs – I loved how rushed the recording sounded, full of pure longing blasted into its delivery. I hadn’t heard anything about the Regions… album but bought it on a whim when I was wandering through Polyester Records, judging from the strength of that EP. What I found was a real grower with a gospel sorta vibe, mixed with huge drum sounds and wonderful imaginative lyrics and soundscapes. The whole album has a naivety and innocence about it that is captivating, flowing from song to song effortlessly, with a great instrumental track halfway through that lets it breathe. It’s well worth a few listens!

Stolen ViolinMark Myers (The Starry Field)
Stolen ViolinTemperate touch, Tropical Tears
I don’t listen to much music outside of the studio but I spent a lot of time with this album. It might not be everyone’s thing with it’s lofi guitars and hard to hear lyrics but I had tears in my eyes by the end of it.

Jimi HendrixJustin Thurgur (Bellowhead)
Jimi HendrixPeople, Hell and Angels
My album for 2013 is Jimi Hendrix’s People, Hell and Angels a previously unreleased studio album that was supposed to be the follow up to Electric Ladyland. This album is full of refreshingly strong, raw, bluesy songs with a healthy funk influence played by instrumentalists who are true virtuosos and unafraid of expressing themselves. The soul pours out of these recordings.

Keston Cobblers ClubRachael McShane – (Bellowhead)
Keston Cobblers’ ClubA Scene of Plenty
This sounds like a really fun band to be in! The rich instrumentation featuring tuba, squeeze-box, banjo, strings, percussion and vocals, coupled with catchy melodies and massed group vocals on the song “Beam” make you want to sing along, put on your dancing shoes and join the party. Keston Cobblers’ Club have a very refreshing DIY attitude to recording and packaging. They designed their CD case as a train set with cut-out-and-stick trains, tents and animals. Well worth checking out their videos on YouTube too.

Jimi HendrixBenji Kirkpatrick (Bellowhead)
Jimi HendrixPeople, Hell and Angels
I would have to say People, Hell and Angels by Jimi Hendrix is my favourite album of 2013. The reasons being I’m a massive Hendrix fan and although there’s nothing really very new on this release it’s a great collection of Hendrix tunes and displays his fluid mastery of the guitar very well. Also some nice cameos from the likes of Stephen Stills and Lonnie Youngblood. Essential stuff for us Hendrix geeks.

Midnight Follows MeJulian Cue (The Barons of Tang)
BJ MorriszonkleMidnight Follows Me
Ridiculous and beautiful, this album is essentially the mad ramblings of a one man band let loose in a studio. I love the every changing and complex compositions, demented keyboard sounds and the delicate balance between “tongue in cheek” and sincerity. Also it seems to me that BJ Morriszonkle is one of the finest male vocalists / crooners playing around at the moment. His voice makes this album. 5 out of 5 exploding cakes

Vance JoyWoody Pitney
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Since first hearing a demo of “Riptide” in 2012, i’ve been a big fan of VJ’s music and his debut EP didn’t disappoint! James Keogh has a killer voice and there isn’t a dull moment throughout the entire 5-track EP. All of the songs are beautifully written, yet simple enough to have you singing along after one listen. With catchy melodies, slinky ukelele strumming and powerful storytelling, it’s clear to see why people compare the great man to the likes of Paul Kelly and Bernard Fanning.

Vic ManuelScott Collins (The Mid North)
Vic ManuelBury Me Deep
Vic Manuel is someone you probably would not have heard of……yet. ‘Bury Me Deep’ is his first solo album and it is a cracker. A melding of folk, old-time and Americana, with lyrics that are as good as Leonard Cohen and Dylan. He can rip your heart out and have you horny as a hound in a matter of a few words. There are road trip songs, ballads, bluegrass toe tappers and dark tales from older days. The song ‘Oh Mother’ will have the hardest of you shedding tears. As a songwriter myself, i hold Vic in awe. I am amazed by him and a little bit (ummm…..whole lot) envious of his talent, he is quite simply Brilliant.

Vance JoyThelma Plum
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Because it makes me feel sad, but good sad.

Liz StringerCara Robinson (Hat Fitz and Cara)
Liz StringerSoon
I actually have been listening to the album Soon by Liz Stringer with its powerful tales of personal experiences written so poetically that grasps my attention every time it is played. With its beautiful delicate and honest intent it is a raw masterpiece. I love this.

Abbe MayEli Wolfe
Abbe MayKiss My Apocalypse
A diverse and experimental artist from WA, with quite few different releases. This album evokes an intense feel, from a strong and highly expressive woman – cathartic in love and release – in a lemon juice squeezed on a paper cut kinda way.

Chance McCoyJimmy Daley (The Morrisons)
Chance McCoy & The Appalachian String BandChance McCoy & The Appalachian String Band
I love old time music and this album by Chance McCoy & The Appalachian String Band is packed full of it. The newest member of Old Crow (replacing Willie Watson), and educator of Old Time Music at The Augusta Heritage Centre, West Virginia, Chance McCoy really knows his stuff. He is an amazing old time fiddle and banjo player with a really sweet sounding voice to top it of. The collection of tunes here feature some of my favourite old time numbers like “Lazy John”, “Greasy Coat”, “Little Birdie” and “Gospel Plow”, while also introducing me to some great tunes I had never heard before, like “Davy Come Back and Act Like You Ought To”. That’s the thing about old time music, it’s an endless well of incredible songs, I don’t think I’ll ever stop digging through them. With fantastic playing and singing, this album has a more slick sound that what you usually get with old time music and in that sense would be a great introduction for someone looking to get into this genre.

CapercaillieEddi Reader
CapercaillieAt The Heart of it All
This is a beautiful traditional album using the tradition and bringing it right up to date. Karen is one of my favourite Scottish vocalists and this album is class as is their live performances. A little bit of Scotland for your ears.

Josh PykeChris Collins (Tigertown)
Josh PykeThe Beginning and the End of Everything
One of the best song writers that we have in Australia, Josh has been a major influence on our music since the start. All four albums are filled with honest stories so it’s cool to be able to follow someone through different stages of their life. For a fourth album, this one seems to have a certain youthfulness and energy to it, which could come from having a toddler running around in this record. It’s a very Australian sounding record which is something we love and would love to harness ourselves one day. This album makes you excited about love, life and family.

Bobby AluBrianne Curran (Takadimi)
Bobby AluTake it Slow
Refreshing, groovy and chilled out all in one. Bobby Alu’s album of 2013 just makes you feel like having a great day!

Melody PoolKevin Mitchell (Bob Evans)
Melody PoolThe Hurting Scene
This is an insanely good debut album. The lyrics and songwriting are so good it’s hard to believe they come from a someone of such a tender age. The production is subtle and honest and Melody’s voice is weighty and substantial. She must be an old soul or something. I can’t get enough of this album.

Katie BriannaAndrew Wrigglesworth and Laura Coates (The Weeping Willows)
Katie BriannaDark Side of the Morning
Katie’s voice will instantly capture you but it’s her lyrics that will hold you; one part heartbreak, two parts introspection, a dash of sass and one hundred percent original. Her tone may evoke some of the greats (Iris DeMent, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Kasey Chambers…) but Katie holds her own and her album packs a punch. It’s definitely one of those rare finds you can appreciate from beginning to end without any temptation to reach for the “skip” button. Dark Side of the Morning is Americana at its best; at times dark and moody, other times hopeful, even audacious. Our favourite tracks are “What It Means”, “Dark Side of the Morning” and the vulnerable last track, “Risk it All”.

The VaccinesAndrew Davie (Bear’s Den)
The VaccinesMelody Calling
I bloody love this EP. We recently had the honour of touring with The Vaccines on the Mumford and Sons Full English Tour and we just had the best time. An amazing group of people and an incredible band. We listened to this EP religiously in the van between shows and I constantly had “Melody Calling” and “Everybody’s Gonna Let You Down” stuck in my head. Freddie’s guitar parts are so unconventional and interesting and the chord progressions and band dynamics flow in such a beautiful and unpredictable kind of way. It’s an incredibly inspiring piece of work and Justin’s songwriting has always been brilliant but just keeps getting better and better.

Kurt VileJordan Wilson and Benjamin Riley (Georgia Fair)
Kurt VileWakin’ on a Pretty Daze
It’s a beautiful sounding record. He’s a cool cat and has been a favourite of ours for a while. It’s a great record to get you through whatever you’ve been dealt, especially when combined with wine and cigarettes in your lounge room.

0Roscoe James Irwin
Ichiko Aoba0
A super beautiful (if not odd) collection of tracks from this Japanese alt/folk singer-songwriter. It’s strikingly bare, but really intimate as a result. You feel like you’re there with her, listening to her play her songs in your bedroom. The classically inspired nylon string guitar parts, mixed with Ichiko’s etherial vocal melodies create something really unique and honest, (even though I have no idea what she’s singing about). Track 8, “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu” is a standout.

Ghost BoyGregory Alan Isakov
Sanders BohlkeGhost Boy
Beautiful and dark electric landscapes behind songs that make you dream, and remember how important music is.

The DronesMark “Looch” Lewis (Handsome Young Strangers)
The DronesI See Seaweed
This band is so far ahead of the pack it scares me. I didn’t think the Drones could top their last album Havilah – but they have. Gareth Lilliard’s lyrics slowly weave into your brain as always whilst the delivery and more specifically the passion in the delivery still kills me everytime. The final track “Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send” (all 9 minutes of it) is stunning. The best album from 2013 from Australia’s best band. Simple really.

Anna CalviBity Booker
Anna CalviOne Breath
Anna did not start singing until she was in her mid twenties. Now she is singing her hearth out. Her songs explode like colour onto a canvas. She slowly draws the listener into her world. Her guitar is like a voice, sometimes a weep, sometimes a laugh. This album makes me feel close to the beautiful beast she has within.

Josh PykeJackson McLaren
Josh PykeThe Beginning And The End Of Everything
(Ok I might be a bit biased but it’s a great album!). Josh sets the bar high and this record is an absolute cracker. Grappling poetically with legacy and morality. The BIG themes! Beautiful harmonies and clever arrangements. It sounds like Josh is having fun and that’s what I like about it.

Katy PerryGemini Downs
Katy PerryPrism
Yes I know we’re in an indie band and our taste is music is meant to be all indie and alternative – and primarily it is – but everyone has their guilty pleasures, right? For what it’s worth – chuckling at the new “Roar” film clip, feeling creative when looking at the fairyland live sets that this chick pulls off and winding up the windows in the car in order to sing along as loudly as possible was enough to bring Katy Perry to the top of the pile. Plus she got dumped by a tonne of record labels before she cracked it which makes her success all the more impressive.

Cloud ControlJosh Pyke
Cloud ControlDream Cave
I love Cloud Control, and this record really saw them push themselves, whilst still remaining true to the almost primitive innocence that their music captures for me. Al’s voice has taken on a strangled desperation in some songs that makes the whole thing a lot tougher in a very engaging way. Love it.

Sam AmidonBayden Hine (Packwood)
Sam AmidonBright Sunny South
An artist who’s work I’d been meaning to listen to for a few years dropped into my lap when I was asked to support his Australian tour earlier this year. I couldn’t have been happier! His albums are effortlessly beautiful, and his live set all the more so. Sam Amidon reworks American trad tunes from way back when into his own brand of contemporary folk. On his previous two albums he paired up with one of my favourite composers Nico Muhly (Grizzy Bear, Jonsi, Sufjan Stevens), but on Bright Sunny South he mirrored his live set – recording with minimal instrumentation as well as a few guest accompanists (most notably Jazz trumpet legend Kenny Wheeler – so, so cool). The winning track for me is “As I Roved Out” – my favourite choice for singing along to in the car when stuck in traffic. Freaks people out every time!

Christy MooreDamien Dempsey
Christy MooreWhere I Come From
A legendary Irish folk singer. 45 tracks that he wrote or had a hand in. An incredible album full of human spirit and empathy and stories and wisdom and humour, Christy is everything I aspire to be as a singer, a great role model, check out “Viva La Quint Brigada”, “Johnny Connors”, “The Boy from Tamlaghtduff”, “Lisdoonvarna”, “Whacker Humphries” or “Strange Ways”. Sublime.

The NationalIsaac Graham
The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
My brother bought me Trouble Will Find Me for my birthday this year. On his way to buy it he fell off his push bike and fractured his wrist in two places and ended up in hospital for a few days. He was all fine but the whole incident totally overshadowed my birthday. Fortunately he’d bought me such a great present so I forgave him. I’ve always had a passing interest in The National but for me this album is the perfect combination great songwriting, considered progressions, beautiful arrangements and flawless production. Not a bad song on the whole thing.

John SmithGibson Bull
John SmithGreat Lakes
There is something very honest about John’s music. You get the feeling he really believes in the songs he sings. This is certainly the case with Great Lakes. A beautiful album.

Sam BuckinghamHeyMun
Sam BuckinghamI’m A Bird
An album that tickles the senses with its dreamy folk-sical setting whilst hitting the high notes of honesty is one of the valiant traits of Sam as a musician. If she’s in love Oh, Bahbo she’ll say it’s so. If she’s got to Leave This Town, she will, but not without a song. A spirited gem in the indie music scene here in Australia, her recent live performance of this album when on tour with Buffalo Tales was a beautiful delivery of tunes that draws smiles on faces.

Kacey MusgravesFanny Lumsden
Kacey MusgravesSame Trailer Different Park
It surprised me how much I love this album so “trying to be a cool indie kid” wont fly this year for me as it’s a major label country pop album that has done it. It’s my hell yeah to “small town up-bringings” and overall is just a really well crafted album that lyrically has the right percentage of sass, apple pie and trailer parks. (Also I have serious caravan plans so it teams with the theme).

Vampire WeekendRoland K Smith
Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
I’ve been pretty slack at keeping up with new music this year, but I’m okay with that, the good stuff I missed will find its way to me eventually. One record I did enjoy was Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. The too-cool-for-school Indie rockers seem to have made the jump out of ironic subject matter and into more emotionally effective territory. I think it works for them. The production’s great too – mixing hard blues with vocal pitch shifters in “Diane Young”, the harpsichord is put to good use in album highlight “Step”, and industrial percussion in “Obvious Bicycle”. I’ll get around to listening to more new music once Bob Dylan stops releasing his excellent Bootleg series.

Big ScaryLittle May
Big ScaryNot Art
This is an album that I can listen to on repeat for hours on end, and it reminds me of staying up until 4am drawing and drinking red wine. It is a collection of beautiful songs produced perfectly with everything in it’s rightful place.

Rhye WomanBec Sandridge
RhyeWoman
Great title, magical album cover, a beyond brilliant opening track and sob-worthy film clips. Being a sucker for tales of heartbreaking romances, understated vocal melodies and gentle synths, this Canadian duo definitely have my vote. They had me like a fool playing “Open” on repeat for weeks. (Note: I may very-well still be sobbing and smiling and listening to this track whilst typing this).

VasenGeorge Jackson (The Company)
VäsenMindset
Swedish super group Väsen have produced a new album this year featuring their trademark melodic invention and effortless virtuosity, it’s simultaneously modern while still tradition based, balancing on that fine line, like they always do, with ease. The Fiddle, Nyckelharpa and Guitar trio offers unending creativity of textures throughout the album, defying their seemingly minimal lineup, and of course, there’s plenty of Polska’s to get your feet tapping to. These guys are simply, brilliant. I’ve had Mindset on repeat in my car and on my computer and have even learnt four of the tunes already. If you haven’t heard Väsen, do yourself a favor, this is a good place to start. If you know and love them already, this new offering is another classic.

Frank SolivanMustered Courage
Frank Solivan and Dirty KitchenFrank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen
This album has everything we appreciate in modern bluegrass. Flawless three part harmonies and the kind of virtuosic pickin’ that makes you wanna sell your shit on eBay, or work a lot harder. The band has a unique and modern take of bluegrass, while still maintaining integrity to the tradition.

Buffalo TalesPerch Creek Family Jugband
Buffalo TalesRoadtrip Confessions
We first had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Wes (aka Mr Buffalo Tales) at Wintermoon Folk Festival in May this year. Great voice, great guy, great songs, great performer, and (you guessed it) great album! It’s a gold mine of catchy, rootsy folk gems that always end up stuck in our heads!

Volcano ChoirMatthew Oastler (Little Bighorn)
Volcano ChoirReprave
I thought my fascination/addiction to anything Justin Vernon did hadn’t carried over when I first listened to Repave by The Volcano Choir, however his genius, and the emotions that come with it are slow burning. It has now been the only thing I’ve listened to for 3 months, and I hear something new every time. It feels a lot more anthemic and hopeful than any of his previous works. Only a special few can make you feel like Vernon does, and this album is a classic example.

CirclesLachlan Bryan
Chris PickeringCircles
I got to know Chris on the road in the USA and each night he quietly blew me away with not only his songs, but the way he played and sang them. His music is subtle – delicate but nourishing – filled with the warmth and self-deprecation that are trademarks of his live performance. Whenever Circles comes on my iPod I am reminded that CP is a proper artist, and I can’t imagine paying a fellow songwriter a greater compliment. Bravo Sir!

Kurt VileEdward Deer
Kurt VileWakin’ on a Pretty Daze
Whenever I describe Kurt Vile’s music to someone, I manage to make it sound like something to be avoided. Really long, meandering songs with numerous guitar solos and a guy mumble-singing in almost a monotone. But the textures and atmosphere in his music are so rich and evocative. I kept coming back to this record this year, and it has to be one of my fave driving albums ever.

Volcano ChoirImogen Clark
Volcano ChoirReprave
I’ve never found another artist whose songwriting moves me quite as much as Justin Vernon of Volcano Choir and Bon Iver, which is why I couldn’t wait for this album’s release. I think the best songs often take a couple of listens before you say “yes, I get it, and I love it”, which is what happens to me every time I listen to a project Vernon has been a part of. In Repave, the vocals are so raw and the dynamics so great that it just builds you up and tears you down in a kind of frenzy of emotion. To me, the album sounds like how I imagine listening to someone’s soul would sound – completely pure, heart-wrenching, honest, complex and unpredictable. That’s why I think this record is magic.

Loren KateSarah Humphreys
Loren KateMoving On
Loren is a folk artist like no other, her songs punch me right in the heart til I’m crying my eyes out and her voice is like honey. A beautiful record.

Neko CaseAchoo! Bless You
Neko CaseThe Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
We’ve both been huge fans of Neko Case for a few years, in particular her ’06 album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, what an album. This record is just awesome as well. Her voice is beautiful as usual, and her lyrics are bad ass! “Man” is a particular fave. She writes absolute cracking pop songs, and the production of her records are always really rich and lush. I particularly love the edgier kind of grit and distortion that features a fair bit on this one, Neko gettin’ back to her punk roots via whimsical pop. So good!

Ainslie WillsAlison Avron
Ainslie WillsYou Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine
This record gives me all I need in music: tingles and toe taps. The subtle and sexy grooves combined with the beautiful and rich tone of Ainslie’s vocals get me every time. “Weighing The Promises” and “Liquid Paper” are the standout tracks for me. Miss Wills is representing everything that is right about the Australian music scene.

NgaiireSam Buckingham
NgaiireLamentations
I can’t quite say why I love this album. I think it’s a combination of her voice, interesting production and the fact that it’s not like anything I’ve listened to before. It feels experimental but perfectly thought out, bold but humble, surprising but familiar … truly creative and original.

DaughterHayden Calnin
DaughterIf You Leave
I played this album on repeat for the few weeks after hearing it for the first time. It’s depressing, but motivating, which is totally my kind of jam. Stand out track was, and still is “Smother”, with the lyric “I wish I’d stayed inside my mother, never to come out” it pretty much sums up the whole album. Daughter’s blend of shoegazey guitar lines, slow bass and simple, yet well composed drum lines, matched up with her gorgeous vocals and lyrics, is so mature, intricate and worth a listen.

Ainslie WillsAll Our Exes Live In Texas
Ainslie WillsYou Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine
The vocals and arrangements are incredible and Ainslie’s lyrics are so evocative. We particularly love “Liquid Paper” – such a universal sentiment. We listened to the entire album about a million times in the van on the way back to Sydney after we played a show with her in Melbourne. She also happens to be an amazingly good egg.

Mark KnopflerThe April Maze
Mark KnopflerPrivateering
This is actually a 2012 release but we only just discovered it … So it is new to us! A friend of ours who had toured with Mark Knopfler made us a mix CD for our Canadian tour and one of his songs was on there – we loved it, so we went online and bought the rest of the album. It is fantastic. It really takes you on a journey – lots of ups and downs and there are lots of goosebump moments. Our favourite tracks are “Haul Away” and “Kingdom of Gold” – these songs are super folky, just the way we like it. The production and instrumentation are spot on. This is a truly inspirational album for any songwriter. 100 stars.

JoJo SmithLucie Thorne
JoJo SmithStanding In The Lovelight
When it comes to soul not much beats being in the same room as JoJo Smith singing straight in to your heart. But this mighty collection – from one of our mightiest vocalists – comes pretty darn close. A national treasure!

Abbe MaySweet Jean
Abbe MayKiss My Apocalypse
Abbe May’s album is a blistering synth pop romp that takes you through all the ups and downs of imploding love. One of the many great things about this album is that she doesn’t “tell you about her feelings”. Instead, every song actually makes you feel something as a listener, which can be both uncomfortable and uplifting. It’s a funny, dark, smart, poignant and really well put together album.

The NationalEmily Barker
The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
I picked up this record just before heading out on a solo tour across the UK. It was a beautiful summer and I was driving myself around the country doing record shop in-stores and promoting our new record. Trouble Will Find Me quickly became my driving soundtrack. The songs are fantastic. Brilliant lyrics: a combination of abstract, ironic, heartfelt and just plain silly sometimes (ie. “I was teething on roses, I was in guns and noses”). I love the effortlessly, out-of-the-ordinary time signatures they use; the epic, but still intimate, production value; the melodies and arrangements; and Matt Berninger’s croonery, deep voice is always killer. A great record to drive to!

LordeRosie Catalano
LordePure Heroine
Given that we’re in an age where number one singles are as much about taking bootylicious selfies as writing good music, it took me a while to figure out how Lorde managed to dominate the Billboard charts, especially as my initial listen to her album Pure Heroine didn’t register highly on the excitement scale. I’ve happily eaten my words since then as Lorde and her producer Joel Little are a match made in heaven – the harmonies are beautiful, her lyrics take me to another world (albeit a teen world that I’m not sure I’d like to go back to), and I have a soft spot for Kiwis.

Mali MaliJack Carty
Mali MaliGather ’round the Goose Clock
I love this record because it feels anxious and intimate and fragile. The songs are strong, and tell their stories, but they go about it quietly so you really have to tune in to catch them. “Peace In My Chest” is the highlight for me, it feels like an affirmation.

Vance JoyPierce Brothers
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Since seeing him at The Hills Are Alive festival earlier this year, we picked up this EP. It’s a soulful and beautifully paced EP with awesome range from the indie pop rhythms of “Riptide” to the heartfelt and intimate lyrics of “Snaggletooth”. The crescendo in “From Afar” is our favourite. Well done sir. Well done indeed.

PikeletRose Wintergreen
PikeletCalluses
Entrancing from the very first listen (start with the track “Calluses”), this album still tickles my brain in unexpected and exciting ways. I’m not sure I understand it, but it’s unlike anything else I’ve heard, and I keep going back for more. YES!

Mark MoldreJessica Cassar (Jep & Dep)
Mark MoldreAn Ear To The Earth
If Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Jeff Tweedy were pushed out to sea in a rickety old boat they’d come up with something like this. Mark Moldre’s An Ear to the Earth is a boisterous yet soulful musical journey worth the fare. You’ll be stomping and crying and laughing, and if you’re lucky to catch Moldre live, you’ll be doing all three with a whiskey in hand.

PowerlinesBeth Stephen (The Little Stevies)
Mustered CouragePowerlines
I’m a sucker for great harmonies and catchy melodies, and Mustered Courages’ album Powerlines has both, so I’m a big fan. Powerlines was produced by Jimi Maroudas, who also produced our first album Love Your Band. And for me it ticks all the boxes of a great album. The songs remind me of those off Foggy Highway, by Paul Kelly and The Stormwater Boys; strong and well-constructed, front and centre. Followed secondly by great musicianship and vocal harmony to present the full kick-ass package. And although their musicianship is apparent, luckily for these talented lads their songs don’t need to be dressed up head to toe in an overkill of instrumental licks to try and hide a weak song, but instead have successfully shown off their musicianship when it counts and in a very tasteful way. When I listen to the album I hear it as a collection of great pop songs first, and secondly as a bluegrass album. And in my opinion I think that’s clever, and the sign of good bunch of songwriters. There’s also nothing more impressive than when a group can reproduce an already top-notch studio album to an even higher standard live, and that’s what Mustered Courage can do. It’s a tasteful album, one of great energy and diversity in mood and who sings the lead on each song, and I recommend a listen to anyone who calls themselves a music lover.

ArcWhitaker
Everything EverythingArc
The perfect sophomore release, Arc built on all that was good about Everything Everything’s punchy, dramatic and down-right enviable musical style presented by their debut album three years prior. It’s the kind of record we listen to and think “Man, how did they do this? How can we do this?” as we listen through every track on repeat. Incredible production – good luck topping that one boys (they will)!

Vance JoyMark Wilkinson
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Emotive vocals and great songs. “Riptide” has obviously been huge, but the rest of the EP really stands up as well.

AgapeCastlecomer
Bear’s DenAgape
Bear’s Den produce an organic brand of music that resonates in its beautiful and powerful simplicity. Disarmingly honest lyrics accompany soaring and often haunting melodies backed by 3-part harmonies, and there are obvious folk influences to their songwriting. These guys are a must-see live act, and seem to be going from strength to strength, recently following up in magnificent style with their new EP Without/Within. There is an unassuming and captivating charm in this EP that is hard to resist.

HaimImogen Bel
HAIMDays Are Gone
There seemed to be a lot of highly anticipated releases this year, and for whatever reason, I missed out on a lot of them! One band that caught my attention early on however, was HAIM. This is a really solid album – so many hooks jam packed into each song, both melodically and rhythmically. I love that these girls obviously love pop music, but they play around with structures and mix things up to keep it fresh and surprising. They are obviously very accomplished musicians but they never let it get in the way of creating fun, interesting pop music. Standout tracks: “The Wire”, “Don’t Save Me”, “Go Slow” (no filler on this album though!).

Steal The LightKyle Vause (The Timbers)
The Cat EmpireSteal The Light
This is my favorite Cat Empire album to date. I seriously can’t fault this album, every song is a winner. My top three tracks off this album are “Still Young”, “Open Up Your Face” and probably the first single “Brighter Than Gold”.

Lucy WiseNigel Wearne
Lucy Wise & The B’GolliesWhen We Wander Far From Home
It makes me very happy to nominate this album as my favourite for 2013. The first time I heard Lucy Wise, I was struck by the originality and honesty of her songwriting. There are so many layers at work in this ten song offering. She’s included songs about organic farming and broken families, sailing, family connections, sculpture gardens and even Google Earth! Three members of the B’Gollies double in their own right as The Sting Contingent and they, with Mischa Herman on accordion, bring sophistication and tastefully woven arrangements to Lucy’s beautiful songs. “Lay of the Land” and “Mother’s Song” are stand-out tracks. A slow-burner that keeps giving.

InnocentsKate Martin
MobyInnocents
This was difficult to narrow down so I’ll say that ONE of my favourite LPs of 2013 is Innocents by Moby. Seven of the twelve tracks are collabs, it’s nice cross-pollination. The highlight track for me is a very moving instrumental called “Going Wrong”.

Step BrothersAidan Cooney (Boy Outside)
PalmsStep Brothers
A vehicle back to care free summers that lasted for ever. Yes that feeling. Play loud! Jump around aimlessly. Throw shapes at friends. A real shot in the arm. This shit works.

Josh PykeDan Acfield (Dan and Hannah Acfield)
Josh PykeThe Beginning And The End Of Everything
I must admit that although I’ve been listening to lots of music that’s new to me this year, most of it was not actually released this year! However, I have been enjoying Josh Pyke’s recent release The Beginning and End of Everything. After watching Josh Pyke perform tunes from this album from side of stage earlier in the year, I went home and immediately purchased the album. It’s deliciously folk-pop with that special (but evolved) Josh flavour which is quite difficult to not enjoy.

Josh RitterJack McNeill and Charlie Heys
Josh RitterThe Beast in Its Tracks
Josh Ritter has always been a favourite listen, he seems to grow more subtly insightful with each new album. A thoughtfully connected collection with the ghost of the Golden Age of Radio walking quietly through it. Ritter has the knack of catching you off-guard, gifted with a quiet wit, a sharper tongue than most and a real eye for the detail.

Warp and WeftEmma Davis
Laura VeirsWarp and Weft
Laura Veirs makes me happy. In fact, I think I would go as far as saying, I love her. Her unique way of phrasing things, her incredible ability to put into words the way that nature effects us, the delicate but interesting production- I couldn’t get enough. Laura’s newest release, Warp and Weft once again seems to deliver that Veirs-y charm that I have grown fond of. It is definitely a more mature album than Saltbreakers and the slightly Fleet-Foxy previous album July Flame. Some of the tracks are a little rockier with the beefy sounds of her Gibson shining through, and the arrangements are loaded full of weird and wonderful instruments, but the songs don’t seem to get lost at any point. Every little thing has its place and works together to carry her strong melodies and endearing way with words. As with her past releases, the album works well as a entire composition, so a little listening time is needed to start appreciating the tracks separately, but I think it makes this record a real grower. Overall, it’s a beautiful and carefully produced album that seems to communicate the warmth of nature and our place in it, so darn well.

Melt Yourself DownJoe Gould (The Crooked Fiddle Band)
Melt Yourself DownMelt Yourself Down
This debut is most original album I heard all year, a mix of electronics and afrobeat that is dark and danceable. Saturated sax riffs and tribal drums collide and make me feel euphoric that there’s still sounds out there I haven’t heard. What a great feeling to evoke in a listener!

LuxGordon Wallace (The Crooked Fiddle Band)
AfenginnLux
My album pick of 2013 is Lux by Danish band Afenginn. I have been a fan of the band’s “bastard ethnopunk” for a while now and their back catalog is well worth checking out. Lux is their latest offering and has quite a chilled out/ambient vibe and the most amazing fold-the-cd-digipak-into-a-lantern I have ever seen! Last year we realized we would cross paths at a festival in Sweden, so met Kim the main composer and became friends. The outcome of that is that they will be in Sydney playing at the Basement on the 16th January and Crooked Fiddle are lucky enough to be playing support! A great success of cross-continental mutual musical appreciation!

Big ScaryMark Leahy The Twoks
Big ScaryNot Art
After listening to Not Art I cannot help but walk around with a bounce in my step. This album is so confident, so diverse, so intricate and yet really simple. Fantastic production and really great songwriting. The performances have such dark commitment and awesome personality about them that I cannot help but love it.

Lucy WiseEmily-Rose Sarkova (Chaika)
Lucy Wise & The B’GolliesWhen We Wander Far From Home
I would say Lucy Wise’s newest album, When We Wander Far From Home. Her incredibly personal way of writing songs seems to capture so perfectly the very small delicate goings on of everyday life as well as the touching poignantly on deep environmental and social issues. All in a collection of songs that are truly beautiful and you cannot help but want to sing along with her.

The HeistCJ Shaw (CJ Shaw and the Blow Ins)
I have two:
Big ScaryNot Art
Beautiful and purposeful. Every nook and cranny of this album has been sculpted with the up most of care.
Macklemore and Ryan LewisThe Heist
A powerhouse. Big sound, big ego, big belief, big purpose. It is big and wonderful, makes you think and groove. It enlights and inspires.

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