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.”

Falls Festival Review: Timber and Steel Highlights

The Valley Stage at Falls Festival Byron BayFestival: Falls Music and Arts Festival
Location: Byron Bay – North Byron Parklands
Date(s): Thursday 31st Dec 2015 – Saturday 2nd Jan 2016
Feature Artists: Courtney Barnett, Little May, The Button Collective, Gary Clark Jr.
Photos by Stuart Bucknell

The line up was a great collection of many talented musicians from a vast array of genres. In terms of Timber and Steel acts, there were four main highlight acts to catch at Falls.

Courtney BarnettIt’s been a big year for Courtney Barnett, 2015 has seen her juggernaut debut grow in to dominance of the charts and the hearts of Australians of almost all musical persuasions. Clad in desert boots, jeans and a hat that only lasted a song and a half, Barnett didn’t hesitate to launch with full energy in to her huge set on the Valley Stage for the first day of the new year. The audience sprawled across the lawns, from the raptured fans at the front, to the chilled punters on the grassy slopes at the back, all completely fixated on the multi award winning yet demure figure. Highlights from her set include that rare quiet moment as the entire Valley hushed for the opening notes of Depreston only to then have every voice heard singing along in unison, and her huge hit Pedestrian at best close her set in full rock-goddess energy while the crowd reached the peak of their high spirited, dancing frenzy.

Little May on the Forest Stage at Falls Festival Byron Little May is an act I’ve seen popping up time and time again on my social media feeds and have been keen to catch. The trio took to the Forest Stage on the last day of the festival, with their backing band at the ready and strong audience numbers eagerly anticipating their set. And the ladies did not disappoint. With honey golden vocals trickling through the all encompassing tones of the full band’s live act festival sound, Little May treated the crowd to a full course of sweet temptations. With highlights including a beautiful rendition of the ballad, Seven Hours, to the new track Cease, the trio gave a consistent, high quality musical spectrum for the crowd to relax too, from the folk tinged to the indie pop and alternative sounds. Their repertoire allowed them range from their silky, harmonised ballads to bold, anthemic tones of Dust, through the tale telling of Hide and finishing off the performance with a stellar performance of their Great Southern Land Like a Version cover. I can only hope that Paul Kelly himself caught even a glimpse of this up tempo take on his classic track with  their clever use of vocal layering as it’s the last time they will be playing it for a while.

Button collectiveOver in Lola’s Bar, on New Years Eve, we stumbled upon a likely scene of rag-tag musicians and a tent full of eager punters. It was 2pm but the Button Collective soon had the dance floor packed with joyful revelry. Appearing as a 6-piece line up each day of the Byron stint, the sheer energy and cheer emanating from the stage was infectious. With everything from the traditional folk, to country-tinged tracks that invoke foot stomping, the Collective had a winning combination on their set list. With Barn-dance like hoedowns springing up on the dance floor, and multiple Irish tunes mashed-up to treat the crowd, Lola’s Bar was the scene of frivolity for their entire set. The Button Collective brought sea shanties, bluegrass, folk and an array of short, punchy, fast paced tracks and still bowed to the whim of the crowd, playing more dance tracks whenever the crowd demanded. So spirited was the audience, that a conga-line formed and snaked its way around the dance floor until every punter was a part of the line, and then spontaneously erupted in to a mass hoedown. To say The Button Collective put on a good show would be an understatement… I’m sure the word ‘rollicking’ should be used.

garyclarkjr_20160101-3Finally, on the last night of the festival, I had the pleasure of witnessing the sheer ‘cool’ of Gary Clark Jr. His live sound reminds me of Ash Grunwald sans distortion, they both clearly dig a similar edgy blues style. Clark Jr. weaves effortlessly between styles, from a Lenny Kravitz swagger, to an occasional Hendrix vibe and all while navigating through blues soaked solos. The crowd grew steadily as his wavering wails swept the Valley. Dipping now and then in to old school rock, and then rolling through the blues to keep the audience on edge, it was like watching a master at work. Clark Jr. saturated the audience with electric riffs and transcended into another world onstage, so steeped in the moment and the music. He seamlessly melds his music on stage, from cool blues to upbeat jump around funk blues. Gary Clark Jr. is worth every moment you can fit on your festival planner.

While these four were some of the main focuses of us Timber and Steelers, there was a wealth of talent throughout the Falls line up to whet the appetite.

Read our Overview of the entire Falls Festival Byron Bay event.

Unmissable Falls Acts

Falls Festival Finds

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