New Music Monday – 2nd September

Hayley Marsten
Image Courtesy of Hayley Marsten

Allison Forbes – “Hell Freezes Over”

Australian country singer Allison Forbes has released her brand new single “Hell Freezes Over”, taken from her upcoming album Bonedigger, due this November. The track delves more into the country-rock side of Forbes’ sound than we’ve seen in the past and is full of grit and fire.

“The song is about finding a place where you’re comfortable to accept things that have happened and the preparation of not lying down to die because of it,” Allison Forbes explains.

Ash Grunwald feat. The Teskey Brothers – “Ain’t My Problem”

For his latest single “Ain’t My Problem” blues and roots singer Ash Grunwald has enlisted the myriad talents of current buzz band The Teskey Brothers. The result is a track full of foot stomping blues goodness, accentuated by the distinct vocals of Ash Grunwald and Josh Teskey.

“”Ain’t My Problem” is written about the concept that comes up often when we relive old relationships, we literally re-live emotionally everything that we went through. And there is no point, it’s holding you back and it ain’t your problem anymore!” Ash Grunwald explained. “It was a conglomeration of stories from friends and personal experiences about moving on. It was such a great honour to have Josh Teskey and The Teskey Brothers play on this track. Josh has one of the greatest voices to ever come out of Australia and I have such respect for the band, I love them both as people and as musicians.”

“Ain’t My Problem” is taken from Ash Grunwald’s latest album Mojo, released last week. He’s heading out on tour this October and November – the full list of dates are below:

Friday 4th October – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 5th October – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 11th October – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Friday 18th October – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 19th October – The Zoo | Brisbane, QLD
Friday 1st November – Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 2nd November – The Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Sunday 3rd November – Forth Pub, Forth, TAS
Friday 22nd November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC

Asha Jefferies – “Bad Kisser”

Brisbane based singer-songwriter Asha Jefferies has just released the delitelful new single “Bad Kisser”. The coming of age song couples a sweet, catching melody with some biting lyrics and poignant observations. I really like the production on this track as well, the way it jumps from just Jefferies and her guitar to full string arrangements alongside a band.

“I wrote [the song] about an extremely euphoric and tragic moment involving a festival; lust, longing, intoxication & one ultra-big insult,” Asha Jefferies explains. “It takes a bit of growing up to realise not every interaction you have with a stranger you like and meet will be romantic.”

Asha Jefferies is touring “Bad Kisser” from the middle of this month:

Saturday 21st September – Low 302, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th September – Brisbane Festival @ Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 4th October – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 26th October – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

Danika Smith – “Suit of Armour”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Danika Smith has just released her new single “Suit of Armour”. Combining classic folk finger-picking with modern lo-fi production, the track takes Smith’s sound in a really interesting and mesmerising direction.

“”Suit Of Armour” is a track that I wrote when love and fear collided, and left me feeling confused and avoidant,” Danika Smith explained. “It’s a song that observes the reservations I have, when there is something potentially beautiful in front of me, and I look for the cracks and flaws, as a protective method to avoid pain. It is melancholic that the beauty of love is shadowed by so much skepticism and mistrust, but there is an optimistic message too. I have the power to move through the weight of these experiences, remove the armour, and eventually be more open to connection, in time.”

Danika Smith will be launching “Suit of Armour” at the Geddes Lane Ballroom in Melbourne on the 14th September as well as being announced for the Strawberry Fields Festival at the end of November.

Hayley Marsten – “Red Wine, White Dress”

Country singer-songwriter Hayley Marsten has released the amazingly titled “Red Wine, White Dress”, which she co-wrote with Timber and Steel favourite Brad Butcher. The track is a perfect piece of modern country rock music without any of the cringyness that sometimes plagues the genre. Marsten’s amazing voice shines through, accentuated by her amazing band.

“Red Wine, White Dress” is taken from Hayley Marsten’s new album Spectacular Heartbreak which came out last week. She’s currently out on tour – check out the remaining dates here:

Thursday 5th September – Oodies Cafe, Bundaberg, QLD
Friday 6th September – Captain Cook, 1770, QLD
Saturday 14th September – The Press, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 15th September – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Thursday 19th September – Lazybones, Sydney, NSW
Friday 20th September – Toppy Hall, Wyalong, NSW
Saturday 21st September – Palladiam Palace Theatre, Morundah, NSW
Sunday 22nd September – Servo Bar, Woollongong, NSW
Saturday 12th October – VDM Fest, Biloela, QLD
Friday 18th October – Apple Cider Shed, Grove, TAS
Saturday 19th October – Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Friday 25th October – Springdale Hall, Springdale, NSW
Saturday 26th October – Gunbar Hall, Gunbar, NSW
Thursday 7th November – Wesley Ann, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 8th November – Bayview Country Art Club, Bittern, VIC
Friday 15th November – Loomberah Hall, Loomberah, NSW
Saturday 16th November – Glen Innes Hall, Glen Innes, NSW

Jenny Mitchell – “Let Me Be”

“Let Me Be” is the stunning new single and video from NZ based folk and country singer-songwriter Jenny Mitchell. Mitchell has crafted a sweeping, expansive song with a driving rhythm and beautiful lyrical quality.

The track is taken from Jenny Mitchell’s 2018 album Wildfires and tells the story of her parents. “It’s definitely a track on the album which crosses genre boundaries, and I’m really proud of it” she explains.

Jenny Mitchell will be joining Fanny Lumsden on a handful of Australian tour dates this December:

Friday 6th December – Jamieson Hall, Jamieson, VIC
Saturday 7th December – Newham Hall, Newham, VIC
Sunday 8th December – The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC

Little Quirks – “Life Wouldn’t Be”

Central Coast based indie-folk trio Little Quirks have released their catchy new single and video “Life Wouldn’t Be”. The track, taken from their upcoming EP Cover My Eyes, perfectly captures the Australian indie-folk sound of so many of their contemporaries, combining a pop sensibility with folky songwriting and harmonies.

Little Quirks are heading out on an east coast tour from this week – full dates are below:

Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th September – BIGSOUND, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 5th October – Dashville Skyline, Dashville, NSW
Friday 11th October – Oxford Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 12th October – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 2nd November – The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 3rd November – Lost Lands Festival, VIC

Michael Kiwanuka – “You Ain’t The Problem”

UK based singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka embraces the full sound of the seventies with his neo-soul track “You Ain’t The Problem”. Taken from his recently announced album Kiwanuka, due on the 25th October, “You Ain’t The Problem” is a funk-filled sonic feast combining Kiwanuka’s love of vintage sounds and his expert songwriting.

Milky Chance & Tash Sultana – “Daydreaming”

German indie-folk oddities Milky Chance have teamed with Australian roots legend Tash Sultana for their new single and video “Daydreaming”. The track is infused with a mish mash of genres, held together with Milky Chance’s quirky vocals and the wonderfulness that is Tash Sultana’s incredible voice.

“Daydreaming” is taken from Milky Chance’s upcoming album Mind The Moon, due on the 15th November.

Pat Tierney – “My Sweet Love”

Celebrated singer-songwriter and lap slide guitarist Pat Tierney has released the blissful new single “My Sweet Love”. The track is a a laid back, rootsy gem that you can get lost in – and with a really sweet video featuring Tierney’s son.

“I wrote the beginnings of the song when my partner and I found out we were having our first child.,” Pat Tierney explains. “We’d just gotten back from an overseas trip, we were a bit lost, out of money and unsure of what we were going to do and where we would live. I wrote the song as, kind of a letter to my partner just to tell her everything was going to work out. When It came time to record the song, it just flowed together really seamlessly in the studio. I wanted the feel and vibe to remind me of my partner and son. Happy, dreamy and full of sunshine. That was also a big part of the video clip, showing the feel and story behind the song and what we’ve built for ourselves over the past few years. It’s definitely one of my favourite songs on the album.”

Pat Tierney has a bunch of tour dates towards the end of the year – check them out here:

Thursday 24th October – The Homestead, Hobart, TAS
Friday 25th October – Willie Smiths, Huon Valley, TAS
Thursday 7th November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 10th November – Peregian Originals, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 15th November – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th November – Livefast Cafe, Halls Gap, VIC
Thursday 21st November – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 23rd November – No 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 30th November – Good Nights, Bunbury, WA
Sundauy 1st December – Redcliffe On The Murray, Pinjarra, WA

Thomas Oliver – “Bulgarian Mountains”

“Bulgarian Mountains” is the super catchy new song from Kiwi singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver, taken from his upcoming album The Brightest Light, due in March next year. The track is an upbeat, soulful roots song with lots of rhythm and lots of heart.

New Music Monday – 8th July

Joe Pug
Image Courtesy of Joe Pug

Brittany Howard – “History Repeats”

Brittany Howard has stepped away from her amazing band The Alabama Shakes and will be launching her debut solo album Jaime on the 20th September. “History Repeats” is the funky first single from the album which seems to be mashing Prince, Beck and Howard’s own bluesy influences together into something really interesting.

“History Repeats is as much a personal song as it is a song about us as a human species,” Howard explains. “Our times of success may propel us forward, but our repeating failures hold us back from evolving into harmony.”

Chance McCoy – “Wander Wide”

Old Crow Medicine Show’s Chance McCoy is channelling Neil Young in his latest solo single “Wander Wide”. The track has a laid back, indie folk feel with finger-picked electric guitar and pedal steel coupled with McCoy’s double tracked vocals.

“Wander Wide” is taken from Chance McCoy’s upcoming solo album of the same name, due on the 20th September.

Joe Pug – “Exit”

I’ve been really getting back into Joe Pug recently thanks to his amazing The Working Songwriter podcast. So I’m pretty excited that he’s announced his new album The Flood of Color due on the 19th July. “Exit” is the first single from that album and its just stunning. This is Joe Pug at the height of his songwriting powers, wrenching an emotional truth from just his acoustic guitar and voice, with just a touch of accompaniment. If this is just the first single, I can’t wait to hear the rest of The Flood of Color.

Little Wise – “Devil off My Back”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Sophie Klein, AKA Little Wise, returns with her latest single “Devil off My Back”. The folk-rock track is instantly catchy with its sing-along chorus and driving rhythm. This is the first taste of Little Wise’s upcoming album
Want it All which is due on the 20th August.

“The song is about trying to quiet that inner voice that says ‘you can’t do it’,” Klein explained. “It’s about trying to remove the distractions and escapism that allow us to ignore what’s really going on.”

Little Wise will be launching the new single next Thursday 18th July at The Merri Creek Tavern in Melbourne.

Lost Ragas – “Just Wastin’ Time”

Melbourne four-piece Lost Ragas have announced plans to release their latest album This Is Not A Dream on the 2nd September. “Just Wastin’ Time” is the first taster of that album, providing listeners with a slightly psychedelic sound alongside Lost Ragas’ unique brand of alt-country. A weird, twisty sound which definitely sets a lot expectations of the album to come.

Mumford & Sons and Gang Of Youths – “Blood (Live in Stockholm)”

When The Recordings of The Middle East came out in 2009 it brought Australian indie-folk to the world stage. It showed that a band from Far North Queensland could stand side by side with the world’s biggest nu-folk bands who were exploding at the time. The history of The Middle East has been well documented over the years so does not really need repeating here, however its been nice to see them getting a lot of attention recently with the 10 year anniversary of The Recordings of The Middle East.

Seeing The Middle East’s contemporaries Mumford & Sons team with Australian stadium rockers Gang Of Youths on a cover of the band’s epic track “Blood” is magical. The two bands have paid fitting tribute to the original track while still giving it their own stamp.

Having reformed recently for VIVID, The Middle East have also just announced a show at The Tivoli in Brisbane on the 13th September.

Sheryl Crow feat. Stevie Nicks, Maren Morris – “Prove You Wrong”

“Prove You Wrong” is a taster from Sheryl Crow’s upcoming collaboration lead album Threads, due on the 30th August. This track features the powerhouse vocals of Stevie Nicks along with up and coming singer-songwriter Maren Morris. Overall its pretty inoffensive, middle of the road country-rock which showcases the unique vocals of each singer.

“Stevie exudes art, she is at all times authentic. She’s the sister I don’t see enough, but she never leaves my heart,” Crow explained of the song. “I invited Maren to perform on “Prove You Wrong” with Stevie and I because she belongs in our ‘club’ of strong female rockers who tell it like it is.”

The Little Lord Street Band – “Frankie’s Back In Town”

WA based indie-folk five-piece The Little Lord Street Band have released the video for their catchy new single “Frankie’s Back In Town”. The jangle-rock track will definitely put a smile on your face and stir all sorts of pining for the summer months. This track is pure joy – it’s easy to see why The Little Lord Street Band have been killing it on the live circuit recently.

Speaking of the live circuit The Little Lord Street Band are currently touring “Frankie’s Back In Town” – the remaining dates are here:

Wednesday 10th July – Yardie Creek Homestead, Exmouth, WA
Friday 12th July – Whalebone Brewing Co, Exmouth, WA
Saturday 13th July – Froth Craft Brewery Fundraiser, Exmouth, WA
Sunday 14th July – Yardie Creek Homestead, Exmouth, WA
Tuesday 16th July – House Concert, Exmouth, WA
Wednesday 17th July – Monkey Bar, Monkey Mia, WA
Thursday 18th July – Finlay’s, Kalbarri, WA
Friday 19th July – 459 Bar, Perth, WA
Saturday 20th July – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 21st July – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA
Friday 26th July – Grumpy’s Music Bar, Perth, WA
Sunday 28th July – Otherside Brewing Co, Perth, WA

Watch the New Ruby Boots Video “It’s So Cruel”

Ruby Boots
Image Courtesy of Ruby Boots

WA songstress Ruby Boots returns with the rocking new single and video “It’s So Cruel”. The tack is the first taster from Ruby Boots’ second album Don’t Talk About It which has just been announced with a release date of 9th February.

“It’s about that moment — when you meet a person and it seems like destiny has smiled on you and sparks are flying,” Ruby Boots explained about the new single. “Except, they’ve somehow neglected to tell you about the ‘significant other’. Yeah, bummer. We all live and learn enough to see those red flags next time around.”

Check out the video for “It’s So Cruel” below:

Watch the New Fallon Cush Video “Long Shot”

Fallon Cush
Image Courtesy of Fallon Cush

Sydney based rock and alt-country band Fallon Cush have just released their new single and video “Long Shot”.

The song was written last November when singer-songwriter Steve Smith was going through the form guide trying to pick a winner for the Melbourne Cup.

“I subsequently discovered everybody loves a long shot providing it wins, otherwise it’s a donation the TAB but the experience inspired a catchy little tune so the day wasn’t a complete write-off,” Smith explains.

This is the first taster of an upcoming album due for release this September. Check out the video for “Long Shot” below:

Fallon Cush will be launching “Long Shot” with a very special show at The Union in Sydney on the 13th August – check out the Facebook invite for more details.

Listen to Two Tracks from the New Raised By Eagles Album

Raised By Eagles
Image Courtesy of Raised By Eagles

Acclaimed Melbourne country-rock four piece Raised By Eagles released their brand new album Diamonds in The Bloodstream this week. If you haven’t had a listen to it yet check out two of the tracks from the album, “Jackie” and “Honey”, here:

Raised By Eagles will be touring with Ruby Boots this May – check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 21st May – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 22nd May – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 29th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Celebrate Leah Flanagan’s Birthday this Weekend

Leah Flanagan
Image Courtesy of Leah Flanagan

This Sydney based singer-songwriter Leah Flanagan is celebrating her birthday in style by putting on a gig at The Marrickville Bowling Club. But as it’s Flanagan’s birthday (she’s apparently turning “old”) she’s letting others do the actual work of performing, and she’s handpicked two of the best.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Liz Stringer will be wooing the crowd up first before the evening is finished off with the country-rock stylings of The Re-Mains.

The gig is this Saturday 28th June with doors opening at 5pm. Entry is just $10 – check out the official Facebook event for more information.

Review: SteelBirds, Oh the Light

Oh The Light
Image Courtesy of Steelbirds

In the time I’ve had to consider it, I’ve been astonished by how little buzz I’ve heard around SteelBirds’ debut. Oh the Light has been, so far, a hidden musical treasure. No, I’m not talking about another aggressively anti-social cult classic. I’m talking about a comfort food you don’t know you’re missing. This is, undeniably, a delicious record, lovingly recorded, carefully arranged and beautifully played.

Don’t take our word for it. The album is streaming on SteelBirds’ Bandcamp. Go listen to it. Right now.You can read the rest of this review if you want. I may have more to say. But meanwhile, let the music answer the important questions. It’s ok. It can’t hurt you. Just Press Play.

If I had to explain why Oh the Light hasn’t got the recognition it deserves, I’d say it was down to its unusual blend of flavours. At times, it’s reminiscent of the country rock and rich harmonies of the Eagles or America. But carefully as he wields it, Luke O’Connor’s blue-eyed soul singing cuts starkly against that. It’s too loud and glitzy to be soft rock, mixed wide and full, like Jeff Lynne’s version of the wall of sound. The songs have strong momentum, and are sometimes catchy like the best pop music. But they’re also quite long, and, perhaps, too self-consciously verbose for that label.

Genre mixing is commonplace in modern alternative music. And listening to SteelBirds is no harder than listening to a dozen other bands with disparate influences. But the sound they make is, as far as I can tell, unique. And uniquely hard to write about. If I have to name a contemporary,, it would be Caitlin Rose, whose new album The Stand In received a lot of acclaim from the country music press earlier this year.

What SteelBirds really need is a song on the radio. “Above the Sky” was well-chosen as the first single, drawing me in easily with its striking dips and swells, strong imagery and excellent electric guitar work from Shannon Trottman. But “This is your Life” would be equally good – short, fast and loud, the closest they get to straight rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe even “Worthy Man”, with mariachi horns, powerful marching drum beat and O’connor taking the chance to show off just a little. “Take the Lead” as a balls out country ballad, complete with fiddle, would prove their authenticity. But closing track “Falling Fire”, with its perfect piano hook, and the twists and turns it takes to get to its huge chorus would be an even more compelling slow-burner. Damn. That’s half the album.

All of this does beg the question of where on the radio all these songs would fit. But that’s not your problem. You’re already in on the secret. My point Is that this music speaks for itself much better than I can speak for it. If you’re good at multi-tasking, you’re already making up your own mind. If you’ve not started listening yet, here’s one more chance.

I’m not saying, by the way, that this album is perfect. The lyrics are sometimes too wordy, and sometimes prone to excessive cliché. Ekamai seems like a joke I don’t get, which I wouldn’t mind if the chorus weren’t a giant logical fallacy. But that sort of thing will only worry you after the fact. Comfort food, after all, is all about excess, all about living in a moment.

Whatever their genre, SteelBirds are a remarkable band, and Oh the Light reflects the quality of their musicianship as much as the variety of their inspiration. I believe they deserve much more critical attention than they’ve received so far. But more importantly, I think they deserve to comfort you, in your car, at a barbecue, on your ipod. They won’t disappoint you. Just press play.

%d bloggers like this: