New Music Monday – 23rd September

Georgia State Line
Image Courtesy of Georgia State Line

Devendra Banhart – “Taking a Page”

“Taking a Page” is taken from Devendra Banhart’s brand new album Ma and is once again a piece of quirky pop music from the freak folk singer-songwriter. The song skips and jumps over a funky baseline with stabbing synths and subtle guitar pieces. It’s weird and twisty, with some strange strange lyrics, but I think you’ll really like it.

Freya Josephine Hollick – “Nobody’s No Better Than No One”

Freya Josephine Hollick has just dropped “Nobody’s No Better Than No One”, the first taste from her upcoming 2020 album The Real World. The track features Hollick confidently swaggering her way through a bluesy, country-rock piece of art that feels like it could have been ripped from the 70s or 80s. Freya Josephine Hollick’s is absolutely on point and her ability to leave space for the driving melody is inspired. Great stuff.

Georgia Knight – “Samba Baby”

“Samba Baby” is the new single from Melbourne singer-songwriter Georgia Knight. The languid track feels like a hot summer day, with a soothing melody that slips over a lazy samba beat, punctuated by the occasional fuzzy guitar. Knight vocal style is reminiscent of singers like Roy Orbison or KD Lang, the perfect accompaniment to the sultry tone of the track.

Georgia State Line – “From Down Here”

Melbourne Americana band Georgia State Line released their brand new single “From Down Here” at the end of last week. The single manages to fuse the heartbreak and melancholy of country music with an upbeat, catchy melody. And then there’s Georgia Delves’ amazing voice – what a talent!

“This track is my antidote to life’s more challenging moments,” Delves explained. “We all, at one point or another, find ourselves on paths that we don’t necessarily want to be walking. It takes a lot of strength to accept the process as it is, and trust the greater plan. A lemons-to-lemonade situation, really.”

Hannah Acfield – “Searching (for more)”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Hannah Acfield released her soulful new single and video “”Searching (for more)”. The single highlights Acfield’s incredible voice which powers through the track and is filled with so much emotion. I love the choppy electric guitar here and the way the song builds with it’s dirty drums, bass and organ.

Hannah Acfield is heading out on tour this October – dates are below:

Saturday 5th October – The Dusty Attic, Lismore, NSW
Sunday 6th October – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 9th October – Folkswagon, Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 25th October – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Musketeer – “Wolves”

Europe-based Australian troubadour Musketeer sent over his new single “Wolves” which he promises is the folkiest from his upcoming EP The North Sea, due next year. The single is inspired by the idea of wolves repopulating Scandinavia and has a really epic, nordic feel with heavy drums and droning vocals. Musketeer has really leant into the bigger sound of his four piece band for this track and the result is huge.

Pieta Brown – “Bring Me”

Last week Pieta Brown released her S. Carey (Bon Iver) produced new album Freeway. The latest single from the album is the Dylan-esque ballad “Bring Me”. I love the way that Brown bends her vocal style across the simple acoustic strumming of “Bring Me”, adding a depth and resonance to the song. Beautiful stuff.

Wallis Bird – “Life Is Long”

“Life Is Long” is the new single from Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird’s new album Woman, due for release this Friday 27th September. The track mixes the quirk of a Bjork song with the pop sensibility of someone like Sia, all the while staying true to the authenticity of Wallis Bird’s unique voice.

New Music Monday – 12th August

Alfi
Image Courtesy of Alfí

Alfí – “The Drink Song”

“The Drink Song” has featured on a couple of the folk music podcasts I listen to and now I can’t get it out of my head. Alfí, like the much lauded Lankum, are part of a new breed of Irish trad and folk bands who are embrassing the rougher, rawer side of Irish music. “The Drink Song” is taken from Alfí’s EP Wolves in the Woods which is wonderful and well worth you picking up.

Amy Vee – “Paper and Wood”

“Paper and Wood” is the latest single from award-winning singer-songwriter Amy Vee, taken from her new album Same Skin. The track is sumtuous piece of acoustic pop music, highlighting Amy Vee’s unique vocal style.

To celebrate the release of Same Skin Amy Vee is heading out on tour this October and November:

Wednesday 9th October – Memo Music Hall, St. Kilda, VIC
Sunday 13th October – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 18th October – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th October – Royal Exchange Theatre, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 1st November – Dusty Attic Music Lounge, Lismore, NSW
Saturday 2nd November – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Devendra Banhart – “Memorial”

Freak-folk singer Devendra Banhart released “Memorial”, the latest single from his upcoming album Ma, due on the 13th September. “Memorial” is a melancholy waltz, showcasing a songwriter who is trying to grapple with the finality of death and the process of mourning.

“”Memorial” is about loss and the strangeness of feeling so numb, and yet so completely heart-broken-open,” Banhart wrote on the song. “It’s about three people I loved very much, and some of it happened just like it says in the song. Someone really did propose at one of the memorials – we all thought they would have loved how surreal, romantic, and inappropriate that was. It’s about those last moments, how painful and perfect they were, all the tears, all the tears. I don’t know what else to say, except that I wrote the song for you to tell you about it, see if maybe you know what I mean, tell you everything, see if maybe it brings us closer, makes it easier to tell each other how much we love and appreciate one another.”

Dori Freeman – “That’s How I Feel”

Alt-country singer Dori Freeman dropped a surprise new track from her upcoming album Every Single Star, due on the 27th September. “That’s How I Feel” is a syncopated gem, showcasing Freeman’s stunning voice and just how tight her band is on the upcoming album.

Phia – “Full Circle”

Indie-pop singer Phia has teamed with the Melbourne Indie Voices for her latest single “Full Circle”. This is Phia at her full powers, channelling her knack for a catchy pop arrangement into a quirky track with interesting and exciting instrumental and vocal choices. The addition of the Melbourne Indie Voices adds something special without being overpowering. Lovely stuff.

Pieta Brown – “Ask For More”

American singer-songwriter Pieta Brown has released the tender new single and video “Ask For More”. The singer is a favourite with Australian audiences and its easy to why – there’s a fragility to her songwriting which draws the listener in and the music is simply beautiful.

“Ask For More” is taken from the upcoming album Freeway, co-produced by S. Carey (Bon Iver) and due for release on the 20th September.

Sam Shinazzi – “I Wrote A Book For You”

Sydney based singer-songwriter Sam Shinazzi released his brand new single “I Wrote A Book For You”, a straight forward love song accentuated by some amazing slide guitar from Michael Carpenter. The track also featured in the recent film Book Week.

“Writer/director Heath Davis asked me to write a song for the closing credits to his film Book Week – a brand new song about a film I was yet to see,” Shinazzi explained. “He gave me the movie title and some genre direction, which ended up being SAM-like anyway. The song came easily enough to me, and thankfully all those involved with the film loved it too. I then asked Michael Carpenter to put his touch on it, which he did brilliantly at Love HZ Studios. The song fits directly with the other new songs and works in progress for the next album, both musically and thematically. This is a special song for me with a tonne of meaning; I hope others get some feelings out of it too.”

New Music Monday – 22nd July

Harely Mavis
Image Courtesy of Harley Mavis

Big Sky Mountain – “Cover My Tracks”

The latest single from seven-piece, Sydney-based alt-country and Americana band Big Sky Mountain is the rollicking “Cover My Tracks”. I love how this track just drives forward with the rhythmic chug drums, bass and ukulele while still showcasing the band’s beautiful harmonies and diverse instrumentation – the subtle trumpet parts throughout the song are spot on.

Big Sky Mountain have a bunch of gigs coming up – the full list is here:

Friday 26th July – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW
Friday 9th August – Club Willoughby, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 14th September – Crack ‘N’ Jack Spring Music Festival, Port Stephens, NSW
Saturday 19th Octover – Fusion Multicultural Street Festival, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Devendra Banhart – “Abre Las Manos”

Freak folk pioneer Devendra Banhart has just given us a taste of his upcoming album Ma (due on the 13th September) with the latin inspired track “Abre Las Manos”. Sung entirely in Spanish, “Abre Las Manos” was inspired by Banhart’s motherland, Venezuela with the title translating to “Open Your Hands”. In typical Devendra Banhart style the song takes traditional musical forms and plays with them, adding a trippy, ethereal feel to the song.

“My brother is in Venezuela, my cousins, my aunts and uncles,” Devendra Banhart explained. “They are just holding their breath, in gridlock standstill. Maybe there is more Spanish writing on Ma because of the helplessness I’m feeling, it’s on my mind more than ever. I was thinking about the sorrow of having to put a child up for adoption, loving that child but not being with them, for whatever reason. That child is out in the world and you have to love them from afar. And that is exactly how I have felt observing the situation in Venezuela. There’s this helplessness, this place that has been a mother to you, that you’re a mother to as well, and it’s suffering so much. There is nothing you can do but send out love and remain in that sorrowful state.”

Harley Mavis – “Thief”

Sydney based alt-folk artist Harley Mavis (who previously performed under the name Hannah Robinson) is channeling her inner Stevie Nicks for her latest single “Thief”. The folk rock song combines Harley Mavis’ big voice with a cracking band that really drives the pace forward.

“”Thief” is a reflection of being in a really emotionally manipulative relationship and constantly feeling like that person has a hold on you regardless of having broken up,” Harley Mavis explained. “It’s a song that really encapsulates my mental health at that time in my life.”

Hein Cooper – “Invincible”

From it’s atmospheric opening right through to its huge crescendo, “Invincible” from singer-songwriter Hein Cooper is a beautiful piece of work. The single, which also has a power, cinematic video, once agains demonstrates just what a talent Cooper is.

If you want to catch Hein Cooper live there’s a bunch of dates in August supported by Leonie Kingdom:

Saturday 3rd August – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Thursday 8th August – Cambridge Warehouse, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 9th August – Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th August – The Basement, Canberra, ACT
Friday 16th August – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 17th August – Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff, NSW
Friday 23rd August – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 24th August – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Sunday 25th August – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough, WA
Thursday 29th August – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Friday 30th August – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Joe Man Murphy – “The Old Pine Tree”

Irish born, Australian based singer-songwriter (and one quarter of Adelaide band The Timbers) Joe Man Murphy has released his brand new single “The Old Pine Tree”. The track has an expansive sound typical of Australian folk music with some Mark Knopfler-esque electric guitar that helps to elevate Murphy’s songwriting. The video for “The Old Pine Tree” combines Joe Man Murphy’s music with his other passion of visual art.

Joe Pug – “The Flood in Color”

Joe Pug’s highly anticipated new album The Flood in Color landed last week and it’s truly magical. Pug also released the lead single which sees the songwriter at his best – guitar, harmonica and a simple backing band to highlight his stunning lyrics. Pug’s songwriting economy is really a true talent – here’s a song that is under 3 minutes long and lyrically sparse but is still able to convey so much emotion.

Karine Polwart – “Chance”

Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart releases her tribute to Scottish pop, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook, on the 2nd August and everything we’ve heard so far from it has been really interesting. Here Polwart reinterprets Big Country’s classic track “Chance”, stripping it back to its core with really beautiful instrumentation including flutes and glockenspiel.

The Brother Brothers feat. Sarah Jarosz, Jeff Picker – “Colorado”

I love this. Folk duo The Brother Brothers have teamed with singer and guitarist Sarah Jarosz and bassist Jeff Picker for the gorgeous new single “Colorado”. Sitting somewhere between the songwriting of Paul Simon and the vocal delivery of Dylan in his quieter moments, the song has everything you want from modern folk music.

Wallis Bird – “Salve!”

“Salve!” is the latest taster of the upcoming album Woman from Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird. The soul and funk of “Salve!” is a whole lot of fun, and will immediately have you up and dancing – such a fun track. Woman is due for release on the 27th September.

Witches Leap – “Mountain Road / Rocky Road to Megalong”

Blue Mountains based trio Witches Leap provide one of first instrumental tracks for New Music Monday with their reels “Mountain Road / Rocky Road to Megalong”. The combination of flute, pipes and guitar evokes a magical landscape that could be Ireland or could also be the wilderness of the Mountains – and the video compliments this perfectly.

Megafaun Announce New Album

Megafaun
Image Courtesy of Megafaun

Freak-folk trio Megafaun have just announced they will be releasing a brand new album on the 20th September this year. The self titled album was recorded in the the studio belonging to good mate and collaborator Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and is apparently a lot poppier than their previous outings (according to this article in Rolling Stone).

A “trailer” for Megafaun is embedded below:

That is the spiffy cover art above. The first track from Megafaun, “These Words”, is an experimental affair and is available for streaming/downloading from the embed at the bottom of the page – it sounds very Sufjan Stevens to us. The full track listing for Megafaun is as follows:

1. Real Slow
2. These Words
3. Get Right
4. Hope You Know
5. Isadora
6. Second Friend
7. Resurrection
8. Kill The Horns
9. Scorned
10. Serene Return
11. You Are The Light
12. State/Meant
13. postscript
14. Everything

Devendra Banhart Announces Splendour Sideshows

Devendra Banhart

Devendra Banhart, the king of freak-folk, has announced two very special sideshows when he visits our shores for Splendour in the Grass. The shows, in Sydney and Melbourne, go on sale on the 14th June and will feature the wonderful Husky (who is also at the Noah and the Whale sideshows) in support. Full dates are below:

Wednesday 27th July – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Friday 29th July – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne

Free Download: New Vetiver Song “Can’t You Tell” (+ New Album Details)

Image courtesy of Sub Pop

I can’t believe we hadn’t posted about this upcoming release yet, or about Vetiver at all! We should probably do an artist profile at some stage, but to give you an idea for now, Vetiver belong to that freak-folk crowd from the New Weird America movement– think Akron/Family, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Castanets, Grizzly Bear, etc.

The Errant Charm will be their 5th studio album and will be released on the 14th of June by one of the biggest indie labels out there- Sub Pop. We’re going to have to send you to the Pitchfork article (via this link) for the free “Can’t You Tell” download because WordPress doesn’t support embedding these kind of Flash widgets. Sigh. Track listing for the album is below.

1. It’s Beyond Me
2. Worse for Wear
3. Can’t You Tell
4. Hard to Break
5. Fog Emotion
6. Right Away
7. Wonder Why
8. Ride Ride Ride
9. Faint Praise
10. Soft Glass

WOMADelaide Review: Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom
Image Courtesy of WOMADelaide

Joanna Newsom
Sunday – Stage 1

My experience with Joanna Newsom prior to WOMADelaide, I would have to admit, is severely limited. As a writer focusing on nu-folk Newsom should be high on my list of must-listen to artists but somehow she has stuck to the fringes of my music collection and, as a result, only crops up occasionally on my iPod. So it’s probably not surprising that I went into Joanna Newsom’s one and only WOMADelaide show expecting to be challenged and having to work hard to appreciate her music.

So I was pleasantly surprised when Newsom’s music was not only accessible but incredibly likable as well. Sporting a 5 piece backing band, including multi-instrumentalist and arranger Ryan Francescioni and percussionist Neal Morgan, Newsom deftly swapped between piano and her trademarked harp performing soaring, musically complex pieces to a grateful audience.

By the third song of Newsom’s set the sun had gone down and Adelaide’s locust plague had decided to make Stage 1 their home. At first Newsom seemed to cope exclaiming “Y’all, there are bugs up here” and “we need a distraction – does anyone have a huge bowl of honey?” but when they started to fly at her face and crawl into he hair she yelped and performance was temporarily paused.

“I’m not scared of them. They’re just flying into my open mouth and eyeballs,” explained Newsom as a stage-hand appeared to swat the locusts for her as she soldiered on. Rather than interrupt the show the bug invasion actually endeared Joanna Newsom to the crowd and had them cheering everytime a locust was prevented from getting within an inch of her (big props to the stage hand there!).

Joanna Newsom’s voice was described in the WOMADelaide program as being “intriguing” but I think it fits her music perfectly. There’s a percussive nature to the way she sings (particularly with the generous use of alliteration in her lyrics) which compliments the plucked notes of the harp. My highlight of her set would definitely have been “The Book of Right On” which, contrary to the vast arrangements of her other tracks, was concise, poppy and definitely appealing.

Prior to WOMADelaide I probably wouldn’t have gone to a Joanna Newsom solo show. But now? Now I’ll be in the front row.

Joanna Newsom Adds More Dates to Tour

Joanna Newsom

Having already been announced for the Golden Plains Festival and the Perth International Arts Festival, harpist Joanna Newsom has added a couple of solo shows and an appearance at WOMADelaide to her visit. Freak-folk fans should check out the dates below, especially those in Adelaide as this is the first time Newsom’s been to the South Australian city.

Friday 4th March – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Wednesday 9th March – City Recital Hall, Sydney
Saturday 12 to Monday 14th March – Golden Plains Festival, Meredith
Tuesday 15th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne
Wednesday 2nd March – Perth International Arts Festival, Perth
Friday 11th till Monday 14th March, WOMADelaide

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