New Music Monday – 16th September

The Crooked Fiddle Band
Image Courtesy of The Crooked Fiddle Band

Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton – “Love For Myself”

Indie singer-songwriters Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton have announced the return of their collaborative project with their new single “Love For Myself” and an album titled Take The Reigns which is due for release on the 18th October. “Love For Myself” is a sweet pop song with a catchy chorus and smile inducing melody.

“My songs from Take the Reigns stretch over a polar period in my life,” says Denton of the upcoming album. “The earlier were written in the midst of a new relationship. I was excited, over emotional and insecure. The others were written after the loss of my brother. The record for me is full of light and shade. I see Emma’s songs on this record as covering a similar spectrum.”

Lucas Laufen – “A Million Miles From Love”

Australian troubadour Lucas Laufen has released his gorgeous new single “A Million Miles From Love”. The track teams Laufen’s fingerpicked guitar, subtle vocal style and ambient accompaniment to build something that is beautifully melancholy.

“A Million Miles From Love” is taken from Lucas Laufen’s upcoming album I Know Where Silence Lives which is due on the 6th December.

Sarah Humphreys – “Quiet Heart”

Central Coast based singer-songwriter Sarah Humphreys released her powerful new single and video “Quiet Heart”. I’ve always loved Humphreys’ songwriting and amazing voice and it’s great to see her really using both talents to full effect here – I’m digging her alongside the full band sound. “Quiet Heart” will appear on Sarah Humphreys’ upcoming album Strange Beauty which is due in October.

The Crooked Fiddle Band – “Counter Errorism”

Oh it’s good to have The Crooked Fiddle Band back. No one does high energy, folk infused instrumental music quite like the Sydney based four piece, and their new single “Counter Errorism” does not disappoint. The track is an ecelctic, high energy mix of time signatures and tones, leaping from gypsy jazz fiddle to etherial vocals to deep bowed bass lines, all puntuated by The Crooked Fiddle Band’s crunchy, rhthmic sound.

“Counter Errorism” is taken from The Crooked Fiddle Band’s upcoming album Another Subtle Atom Bomb due this Thursday 19th September. They also have a bunch of live dates coming up – check them out here:

Friday 27th September – Bar Open, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 5th October – Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW
Friday 18th October – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 19th October – Steampunk and Victoriana Fair, Goulburn, NSW
Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd November – HOBOFOPO Festival, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 30th November – Baroque Room, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 1st December – The Landsdowne, Sydney, NSW

The Maes – “Sunrise”

No one is writing contemporary Australian folk songs quite like The Maes. “Sunrise” is another example of just how talented The Maes are, from their deeply visual storytelling songwriting through to their beautiful harmonies and arrangements. They just keep going from strength to strength.

The Milk Carton Kids – “The Only Ones” & “I Meant Every Word I Said”

I can’t believe this week we got not one, but two new tracks from Americana harmony duo The Milk Carton Kids. “The Only Ones” and “I Meant Every Word I Said” are the first tasters of The Milk Carton Kids’ upcoming album The Only Ones, due on the 18th October and as expected they’re just stunning.

“The Only Ones” is an upbeat love song with a driving beat and more than a few nods to classic country, while “I Meant Every Word I Said” slows things down to the type of melancholy ballad we’ve come to expect from the duo.


Timothy Blackman – “By The River”

Wellington based singer-songwriter Timothy Blackman released his sparsely beautiful new single “By The River”. The track is a beautiful piece of indie-folk reminiscent of Bright Eyes or early Sun Kil Moon, all plucked guitar and vocal layers.

“By The River” is taken from Timothy Blackman’s new album Brightest Days which is due for release today.

New Music Monday – 13th May

Paul Kelly Dan Sultan
Image Courtesy of Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan

Brad Butcher – “Nature’s Course”

I’m really liking “Nature’s Course”, the new song from Queensland country artist Brad Butcher. As well as evoking classic country sounds (loving the subtle mandolin picking throughout the song) there’s also an epic quality that has echos of The Go Betweens. The track is tacken from Butcher’s upcoming album Travelling Salesman, due on the 5th July.

“It’s frustration,” Brad Butcher said of the song. “Now I believe in some pretty out-there stuff but I think there’s more that we can be doing as a human race to be smarter about technology and about everything moving forward. The song is a global idea but I also tried to humanise it so there’s this couple who are the narrative of the song and that was one way for people to understand this relationship [between humanity and the environment].”

Brad Butcher is heading out on tour with Felicity Urquhart from next week – the full list of dates are here:

Thursday 16th May – Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 17th May – House Concert, Torquay, VIC
Saturday 18th May – House Concert, Healesville, VIC
Sunday 19th May – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 25th May – The Music Lounge, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 31st May – Hardy’s Bay Community Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Acoustic Picnic, Dee Why, NSW
Saturday 22nd June – Cowora RSL, Cowora, NSW
Sunday 23rd June – House Concert, Carrum Downs, VIC
Saturday 13th July – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 19th July – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Thursday 19th September – Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns, QLD
Friday 20th September – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, QLD
Thursday 3rd October – Hamilton Hotel, Hamilton, QLD
Friday 4th October – Highfields Tavern, Toowoomba, QLD

Calexico and Iron & Wine – “Midnight Sun”

The ongoing collaborations between Calexico and Iron & Wine are some of my favourite in the folk music world. The artists have a joint album, titled Years to Burn, due on the 14th June and “Midnight Sun” is the latest single from it. The track combines Iron & Wine’s haunting lyrical style with Calexico’s deep cut traditional and Americana influences to create something really specia.

Clio – “Silly Girls”

Melbourne singer-songwriter Clio returns with her lush new single “Silly Girls”, a comment on the trivialization of women in the music industry. I’m loving the layers in this track, with the harmonies building through the bridge and into the chorus.

“This is a song for anyone whose love of silliness and absurdity has ever been hijacked and used as a pretext to reduce, rein in and patronize; for all the ‘silly girls’ who have been made to feel trivial, given help they didn’t want and advice they didn’t need,” Clio explained. “I wrote it for myself and to encourage all those girls to embrace the joy and strength of their silliness and LAUGH at anybody who tries to change them.”

Clio is launching her new single with a handfull of upcoming shows – the full dates are below:

Tuesday 4th June – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 9th June – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 16th June – The Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Emma Russack – “Winter Blues”

The title track from singer-songwriter Emma Russack’s upcoming fifth album Winter Blues (due on the 5th July) has just been released and it’s stunning. The track’s stripped back accompaniment compliments Russack unique vocals and invokes the sombre themes of the song.

“Thematically, the songs deal with love, loss and confusion in the context of a fairly confusing, complex world,” Emma Russack said of the upcoming album. “The songs pose many questions but refuse to give answers, and that’s the way I like it. That is not to say that the songs aren’t hopeful; they are – but it is my hope that the listener can engage with the songs freely, answering (or not answering) the questions for themselves in relation to their own lives and experiences.”

Garrett Kato – “Where the Vampires Hide”

Australian-Canadian folk-pop singer-songwriter Garrett Kato has gifted us with another live track, this time the stunning “Where the Vampires Hide”. This track, along with his previous track “River Mouth” will appear on Garrett Kato’s upcoming EP Distant Land which is due on the 14th June.

“It is a track about those things in your life that you feel are sucking your soul a bit. Pulling away from who you are. The vices that we sometimes can’t get a hold of that hide them selves in this mythological place like where the vampires are,” Kato explained.

Hayden Calnin – “Of Collingwood (Reworks)”

Electro-folk producer and singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin has released new reworkings of three of his songs: “Coward”, “Caution Cares” and “For My Help”. Each of the tracks are a different take on the original songs and not only show off Calnin’s skills as a producer, but also just how good the bones of these songs are.

“Musical reworks are something that in one way or another I’ve always done,” Hayden Calnin explained. “With a lot of my existing songs, they’ve gone through about 3 or 4 different versions of it before I ever release them. I like to try all angles on any song and try to make it fit into my world as best I can. These 3 tracks, were beginning to get a little dated and I hadn’t thought about them in quite a while, so getting back in to the emotional state that I was in while writing them was quite challenging. That being said, it was a brilliant exercise and a chance to give them some new life and a new sound”

Lucy Roleff – “Sometimes Do”

Melbourne harpist and folk singer Lucy Roleff delivers her haunting new single “Sometimes Do”. The track is taken from her upcoming album Open in a Room which will be available this week. This song seems so otherworldly – its the type of track that makes me want to close my eyes and emerse myself in – but from a lyrical point of view it’s very grounded in the here and now. Beautiful stuff.

Mumford & Sons – “Devil In Your Eye”

So you may not know that there’s a “music inspired by Game of Thrones” album titled For The Throne and its not good. But if you’re willing to look past the questionable RnB tracks detailing the exploits of Jon Snow and co you do stumble across the occasional gem, including this inclusion from Mumford & Sons. As I mentioned last week, when Mumford & Sons return to their acoustic roots their music is a lot more palatable, and “Devil In Your Eye” is a lot more classic Mumford than it is recent Mumford

Paul Kelly & Dan Sultan – “Every Day My Mother’s Voice”

When you have an artist of the calibre of Paul Kelly teaming up with the equally amazing Dan Sultan it’s hard not to sit up and take notice. This collaborative track, written by Kelly, is taken from the documentary film The Final Quarter which documents the final three years of champion AFL footballer and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes.

Stella Donnelly – “Die”

Indie pop favourite Stella Donnelly gifted us with her latest single and video, “Die” – a sugary sweet track with definite dark undertones. The song is taken from Donnelly’s debut album Beware of the Dogs.

Having just completed a successful run of shows overseas Stella Donnelly is back on home soil and has bunch of shows coming up in the next few weeks including feature shows in Sydney’s VIVID festival and a support slot with Maggie Rogers – full dates are below:

Tuesday 21st May – The Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Thursday 23rd May – Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 25th May – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Monday 27th May – The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 28th May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 28th May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 29th May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 30th May – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD

The Head And The Heart – “People Need a Melody”

“People Need a Melody” is the third single from The Head And The Heart’s upcoming album Living Mirage which is set to be released this Friday 17th May. What The Head And The Heart do best is craft timeless sounding pop songs, taking the storytelling aspects of folk music and combining them with hooks and choruses that are ripped directly from the acoustic rock of the 1970s. I can see this song soundtracking a Cameron Crowe movie.

The Teskey Brothers – “Hold Me”

The buzz around Melbourne band The Teskey Brothers is undeniable and its easy to see why with their latest single “Hold Me”. With their sound mostly stripped back to its bare minimum – harmonising vocals, foot stomps and body percussion for the most part – “Hold Me” is magical. The track is taken from their upcoming album Run Home Slow, due on the 2nd August.

The Teskey Brothers are currently on a mostly sold out tour of the east coast – if you have tickets catch them at one of these upcoming shows:

Monday 13th May – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 14th May – The Night Cat, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 16th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Tobias Hengeveld – “Separation Street”

Melbourne singer-songwriter Tobias Hengeveld celebrates the release of his new album Naughts & Ones with his brand new single and video “Separation Street”. The video’s retro roller skate vibe sits really well with the old school sounds of the track – not as folky as some of Hengeveld’s other work but we’re digging it all the same.

If you like what you’re hearing Tobias Hengeveld has a couple of album launch shows in Victoria that you don’t want to miss:

Sunday 19th May – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 9th June – The Gaso Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

Pierce Brothers Announce New EP My Tired Mind

Pierce Brothers
Image Courtesy of Pierce Brothers

Melbourne based folk-pop duo Pierce Brothers have somehow managed to find some time out from their never-ending worldwide tour to write and record their brand new EP My Tired Mind.

Due for release this Friday 17th November, the EP was recorded over the last two years. The first single from is “Follow Me Into The Dark”.

“Follow Me Into The Dark is about literally lying awake going over and over your past decisions, and searching for ways to move on,” Pat Pierce explained.

Check out the video for “Follow Me Into The Dark” here:

Pierce Brothers are currently overseas but will be returning this week to kick off their support spot on Tash Sultana’s tour – the full list of dates are below:

Saturday 18th November – Adelaide Entertainment Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Friday 1st December – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 7th December – Freo Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 9th December – 3 Oceans Winery, Margaret River, WA
Thursday 14th December – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th December – Noosa AFL Grounds, Noose, QLD

Listen to The Campervan Dancers’ Single “Let Me Go (Eiffel Tower)”

Campervan Dancers
Image Courtesy of The Campervan Dancers

Sydney folk-pop duo The Campervan Dancers have spent the last little while running around Europe, bringing their bliss filled music to a brand new audience.

The husband and wife duo have finally released their second single, the beautiful “Let Me Go (Eiffel Tower)”, which we’re lucky enough to have a stream of.

Take a listen to “Let Me Go (Eiffel Tower)” from The Campervan Dancers below:

Mama Kin Spender Announce November Tour Dates

Mama Kin Spender
Image Courtesy of Mama Kin Spender

Mama Kin Spender, the collaboration between roots singer-songwriter Mama Kin and multi-instrumentalist/producer Spender, have announced plans to hit the road this November with a series of festival dates plus headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne.

The project debuted at this year’s Bello Winter Festival and they have an album, Golden Magnets, due in February next year.

The latest taste from Golden Magnets is the new single “Bird In Your Tree” which also comes with a brand new video.

“”Bird In Your Tree” is a kind of stream of consciousness catharsis, a song about yearning for a lover, burning alive inside, but having to keep it cool on the outside,” Spender says. “The stuff about coffee is really because I love it strong and black.”

“That bitter taste somehow helps quench the unfulfilled thirst for someone,” says Mama Kin. “While at the same time celebrating the creative power it unleashes. This song playfully explores the gritty side of desire – bitter, dirty, rusty.”

Check out the video for “Bird In Your Tree” below:

The Mama Kin Spender tour kicks off at the start of November including an appearance at Australian Music Week, Mullum Music Festival and the Queenscliff Music Festival. The full list of dates are here:

Thursday 2nd November – Australian Music Week, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 3rd November – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 5th November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November – Queenscliff Music festival, Queenscliff, VIC

Watch the New Video From The Head and the Heart, “City of Angels”

The Head and the Heart
Image Courtesy of The Head and The Heart

American folk-pop band The Head and The Heart have just released their new video for the track “City of Angels”. The track is taken from their 2016 album Signs of Light and the video was directed by Claire Marie Vogel

“When The Head And The Heart asked me to join them on the road to make a video for “City of Angels,” there were many moments, big and small, that made it a trip of a lifetime,” Vogel explains. “Record store shopping in a thunderstorm, backstage birthday parties, a summer ski lift through Catskills mountains, all night bonfires on a California beach, surprise songs in a Charlottesville bar, mini golf beside a river. It was a thrill to be a welcomed fly on the wall and treated as one of the gang. I knew ending the trip at the Monterey Pop Festival would be special, but when we found ourselves in a charmingly odd practice room – the band rehearsing with Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and Lou Adler, a founder of the festival throwing his two cents in on their arrangement – it felt utterly surreal.”

Check out the video for “City of Angels” below:

Details of the New Mama Kin And Spender Collaboration

Mama kin
Image Courtesy of Mama Kin Spender

This weekend’s Bello Winter Music festival saw the debut performance of Mama Kin Spender – the brand new collaboration between celebrated singer-songwriter Mama Kin and Melbourne multi-instrumentalist/producer Spender.

Their coming together has resulted in art that is greater than the sum of its parts. Mama Kin’s soulful roots music collides with Spender’s slick pop production.

Their first single is “Air Between Us” which is taken from their album Golden Magnets, due in March next year. Bask in the track’s joy below:

Mama Kin Spender will be appearing at BigSound, Australian Music Week and the Queenscliff Music Festival throughout the remainder of this year – details are below:

Tuesday 5th to Thursday 8th September – Bigsound, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd November – Australian Music Week, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 25th November – Queenscliff Music festival, Queenscliff, VIC

Timber and Steel Premiere: “Names” by Mackenzie Shivers

Mackenzie Shivers
Image Courtesy of Mackenzie Shivers

We’re super chuffed to bring you the first look at New York based folk-pop singer-songwriter Mackenzie Shivers new video “Names”. The video was shot in Australia in the Blue Mountains by filmmaker Lâle Teoman while Shivers was in the country last April.

Just how this came about we’ll let Mackenzie Shivers explain:

“A couple of years ago, I found out about Caitlin Harnett through [Timber and Steel]. I fell completely in love with The River Runs North and was thrilled to see she was playing a show at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall. I went to see the show (it was fabulous!) and met Caitlin and her friend Lâle Teoman, an actress and filmmaker from Sydney.

Caitlin, Lâle, and I all kept in touch after that via social media. So when I found out that I was going to be in Australia to see family last spring, I reached out to Lâle at her production company River Run Productions to see if she wanted to film a music video together. She said she was game, and we picked the song “Names” from my latest EP Living in My Head. We shot the entire thing in one day near her home in the Blue Mountains.

“Names” was written after a trip to Washington DC and finding the name of a family friend etched in stone at the Vietnam Memorial amongst 2-acres of other names. There was something very stirring about seeing all the beautiful cherry blossoms in the same vicinity as thousands upon thousands of names etched into the memorial. There was this incredible contrast of life and death that I found extremely moving. As the lyrics developed, “Names” turned into a love song – one of the few love songs I’ve written.

Lâle and I wanted to capture the dream-like state being in love and utilize the beauty of the Blue Mountains to their fullest. Lyrics “You by any other name would stay just as kind, you by any other name would be my love” are sung with both whimsy and certainty, birds and sunsets floating between frames. The Blue Mountains were the perfect backdrop.

I’m so proud of this video, and working with Lâle in Australia was in itself a dream come true. I hope you enjoy it – please let me know as soon as you can if you are interested in premiering it!”

Check out the video for “Names” here – let’s hope Mackenzie Shivers makes it back to Australia soon for some shows!

Pierce Brothers Announce New EP The Records Were Ours

Pierce Brothers
Image Courtesy of Pierce Brothers

Fan favourite folk-pop duo Pierce Brothers have announced plans to release their new EP The Records Were Ours on the 19th May. The EP is the first in a planned trilogy of releases featuring material recorded in the studio and live over the last couple of years.

To celebrate the release of The Records Were Ours the Pierce Brothers will be heading out on a national tour through May before flying over to Europe for the Summer festival season. Check out the full list of dates here:

Thursday 18th May – Metro Lair, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 20th May – Lorne Hotel, Lorne, VIC
Thursday 25th May – The Academy, Canberra, ACT
Friday 26th May – The Croxton, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 27th May – Big Pineapple Festival, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Ed Sheeran and Beoga: Pop’s Latest Flirtation with Trad Music

Ed Sheeran
Image Courtesy of Ed Sheeran

A couple of weeks ago Ed Sheeran cemented his status as the biggest male popstar on the planet with the release of his smash hit new album ÷ (pronounced Divide).

If you follow the trad music or Irish music press you’ll know that for at least two of the tracks on ÷ Sheeran collaborated with Northern Irish trad group Beoga.

The first of these tracks, “Galway Girl” (not the Steve Earle track of the same name), was actually inspired by Beoga’s fiddle player Niamh Dunne and features their tune “Minute 5” over the chorus. The lyrics of “Galway Girl” are peppered with trad references (this may be the first number one track to reference Irish song “Carrickfergus”) and Dunne gushed about Sheeran’s love of “Planxty, The Chiefains and … Irish music” in recent interviews.

The second track on ÷ with a piece of Beoga trad is “Nancy Mulligan”, inspired by the story of Sheeran’s Irish grandparents. The track has more trad feel than “Galway Girl” and even features a bit of an Irish-pub-like-singalong during the lead break.

“Galway Girl” was released as a single on St Patrick’s Day and hit the top 10 in a bunch of countries. In an interview with The Guardian Sheeran said that he had to fight to keep the “folk” songs on the album.

“They were really, really against “Galway Girl”, because apparently folk music isn’t cool,” Ed Sheeran explained. “But there’s 400 million people in the world that say they’re Irish, even if they’re not Irish. You meet them in America all the time: “I’m a quarter Irish and I’m from Donegal.” And those type of people are going to fucking love it. My argument was always: well, the Corrs sold 20 million records. The label would say, “Oh the Corrs, that was years ago,” but who’s tried it since the Corrs? There’s a huge gap in the market, and I promise you that in two years’ time there will be a big folk band that comes up that’s pop, and that will happen as a result of labels being like: “Oh shit, if he can put a fiddle and uilleann pipe on it, then we can try it as well”.”

As Sheeran points out trad music in pop music isn’t new. The Corrs practically owned the folk-pop genre in the late 90s and early 2000s. B*Witched 1998 hit “C’est la Vie” was has an Irish whistle solo played over DJ scratching. Even the oft-criticised-for-not-being-real-folk-music Mumford and Sons kick off their track “Roll Away Your Stone” with the Irish trad fiddle tune “Merrily Kissed the Quaker”.

Trad purists will no doubt look down there nose at Ed Sheeran’s folky offerings on ÷, the same way they have with other pop crossover songs over the years. Some of that will be justified – in reality “Galway Girl” is not a great song despite Beoga’s influence – but much of this will be a knee jerk reaction to a perceived popularisation of the tradition.

In truth having an artist of Ed Sheeran’s stature declare his love for Irish trad music can only have upside for the genre.

Think of Sheeran as a trad gateway drug. For many of his fans “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” will be their first exposure to this kind of music and even if only a small percentage follow the influences of the songs back to Planxty, The Dubliners, The Chieftains and beyond, that’s still a bunch of music fans that may never have discovered this music otherwise.

While trad may have a reputation in the wider community as twee or old fashioned those “in the know” know it’s a vibrant genre with a bunch of really exciting young artists coming up through the ranks. If you’ve ever caught a set from Trouble In The Kitchen, Tolka, Sásta or any of the other amazing local trad bands around the country you’ll know how much their music can capture your attention, can fill you up and most importantly can make you want to dance.

The best case scenario is the local and international trad scene will see a spike in activity and interest thanks to Sheeran’s flirtation with the genre and that can only be positive. Every fan who clicks a “like” button on social media, watches a Youtube video, comes to a gig or session featuring traditional music because they’re new favourite song is “Galway Girl” is a new part of our community.

So when you hear “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” blaring on a pop radio station or out of your kid’s Spotify account take a moment to recognise that this could be the first step on the trad music journey for a new fan. That’s got to make you happy.

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: