Little Features Announces Their June Lineup

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren

Fresh from their second birthday celebrations monthly Sydney night Little Features have just announced the lineup for their June show – and I think it’s one of their most exciting this year.

Firstly this month’s Little Features is the official Sydney launch show of Jackson McLaren’s new album Songs To Greet The Dawn (see details here) which has already been getting plenty of buzz about the place. Secondly it features two of Timber and Steel’s favourite Sydney singer-songwriters – Arbori and Timothy James Bowen. And finally the lineup is rounded out with two very exciting sounding artists, country-blues duo Original Sin and one-woman indie-R&B powerhouse Aquila.

Little Features takes place on Saturday 28th June at Hibernian House in Surry Hills in Sydney. The doors open at 6:30pm with tickets just $15. And don’t forget the whole thing is BYO.

For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 30th May


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Passenger has announced Australia as part of his Whispers world tour with dates in January and February 2015. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Noah Earp has released his new single “Bound for Glory”. Details here

– The incomparable Patrick James has released his new single “Message”. Details here

– Sydney seven-piece Little Bastard have released their brand new video “Be My Kind”. Details here

– The one and only Bob Dylan is returning to Australia this August and September for a series of intimate theatre shows. Details here

The Davidson Brothers will be launching their new album Wanderlust at a very special show in Melbourne next month. Details here

– English folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Seth Lakeman has released his new video “Last Rider”. Details here

– New York folk-pop singer-songwriter Mackenzie Shivers has released her new track “Nothing to Fear”. Details here

– World music six piece Chaika have a new album, a new video and are currently on a tour of the east coast. Details here

The Pierce Brothers are embarking on a tour following today’s new EP release. Details here

Jackson McLaren and the Triple Threat have released their new video “Here’s A Memory”. Details here

– Melbourne’s Isaac de Heer recently released his new album Summer which is streaming online. Details here

– Sydney indie-folk night Little Features will be celebrating its second birthday tomorrow with a show featuring The Former Love, Joshua Chamberlin, Baby Lips and the Silhouettes, Charlie Gradon and Bexley De Lion. Details here

– English singer-songwriter Roo Panes released the video to his stunning track “Tiger Striped Sky”. Details here

– This Sunday the Fleurieu Folk Festival’s annual Folkathon fundraising event hits Adelaide. Details here

Angus and Julia Stone released the first single from their highly anticipated new album, “Heart Beats Slow”. Details here

– Sydney’s Spookyland will be launching their new single “The Silly Fucking Thing” at FBi Social next month. Details here

– Adelaide duo The Yearlings have a new album on the way and national tour planned for July. Details here


“Claire Patti has a voice that has to be heard to be believed and she plays the harp (the stringed one), french horn and piano accordion. Claire sings harmonies with the guitar-playing band leader Marcus de Rijk (note the strong Scottish influence in that name — mmm, maybe not so much), while Geoff Jones plays pipes, whistles and bodhran. Angus Downing makes the whole thing fly with his wonderful fiddle playing. Taliska’s traditional Ceilidh will have your feet pounding the tiles” – Marcus de Rijk from Taliska chats to Billy Quinn. Interview here

Releases This Week

House of Jacks
House of JacksBlair Dunlop
Official Site

Pierce Brothers
The Night TreeThe Pierce Brothers

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Little Features feat. The Former Love, Joshua Chamberlin, Baby Lips and the Silhouettes, Charlie Gradon, Bexley De Lion

Josh Camberlin

Sydney indie-folk night Little Features celebrate their second birthday this weekend with a show packed full of amazing folky talent.

Saturday 31st May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Boy & Bear
Friday 30th May – Orange Ex Services Club, Orange, NSW
Saturday 31st May – Dubbo Ex Services Club, Dubbo, NSW

Friday 30th May – The Breslin Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 31st May – Farouk’s Olive, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 6th June – The Unorthodox Church of Groove, Newcastle, NSW

Claude Hay
Friday 30th May – The Stag and Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 1st June – The Towradgi Beach Hotel, Wollongong, NSW

Daniel Champagne
Friday 30th May – Mumbulla School Hall, Bega, NSW
Saturday 31st May – The Front, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 1st June – Beyond Q, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 4th June – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Folkathon feat. AP D’Antionio, Cal Williams Jr, Chris Finnen, Courtney Robb, Emlyn & Jodie O’Regan, Halfway to Forth, Ragged But Right, Saltwater Taffy, Serendipity and Spiral Dance
Sunday 1st June – Port Noarlunga Bowling Club, Adelaide, SA

Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat
Wednesday 4th June – The Melbourne Folk Club, Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

James Vincent McMorrow
Saturday 31st May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Jeff Lang
Friday 6th June – Nexus Arts Centre, Adelaide, SA

Josh Pyke with Jack Carty
Friday 6th June – Montrose Town Centre, Montrose, VIC

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 30th May – The Ranges Concert Lounge, Upway, VIC

Kaurna Cronin and Ben Whiting
Friday 6th June – Pirie & Co. Social Club, Adelaide, SA

Kim Churchill
Friday 30th May – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st May – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 1st June – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Wednesday 4th June – Indi Bar, Perth, WA
Thursday 5th June – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Friday 6th June – The Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA

Little Features feat. The Former Love, Joshua Chamberlin, Baby Lips and the Silhouettes, Charlie Gradon, Bexley De Lion
Saturday 31st May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Little Wise and Megan Bernard
Friday 30th May – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 31st May – Sheoak Shack, Fingal Head, NSW

Melbourne Folk Club feat/ Lucie Thorne, Jackson McLaren, Luka Lesson
Wednesday 4th June – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Paul Greene and the Other Colours
Sunday 1st June – Lizotte’s Central Coast, Kincumber, NSW
Thursday 5th June – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Peak Festival
Friday 6th to Monday 9th June – Perisher, NSW

Ruby Boots
Sunday 1st June – The Hundred Club, Collie, WA

Sam Brittain
Friday 30th May – The Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 1st June – Garden Party, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 5th June – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW

The Acfields
Saturday 31st May – Taps, Mooloolaba, QLD
Sunday 1st June – Frankie Brown, Byron Bay NSW

The April Maze
Saturday 31st May – Clifton Beach Tennis Club, Clifton Beach, QLD
Sunday 1st June – Quincan Cottage, Yungaburra, QLD
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Townsville, QLD

The Audreys
Thursday 5th June – The Abbey, Canberra, ACT
Friday 6th June – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW

The Beards
Friday 30th May – Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Saturday 31st May – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Sunday 1st June – Astor Theatre, Perth WA
Thursday 5th June – Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale, NSW
Friday 6th June – Wollongong Uni, Wollongong, NSW

The Mountains
Friday 30th May – The Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 31st May – The Federal Hotel, Bellingen, NSW

The Paper Kites
Friday 30th May – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st May – Transit Bar, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 1st June – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong, NSW

The Pierce Brothers
Saturday 31st May – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Wednesday 4th June – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 5th June – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD

Timothy James Bowen
Friday 30th May – TBC, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 31st May – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Top Half Folk Festival
Friday 6th to Monday 9th June – Mary River, NT

Saturday 31st May – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Friday 6th June – Barwon Club, Geelong, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Girl That I Love” – The Falls

This week a little duo from Sydney topped 10,000 Facebook likes and has been celebrating all week with a bunch of flashback’s on social media. We thought we’d join in by posting this live track from April 2012 when The Falls still had a “The” and played every week at the Hotel Hollywood in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Watch the New Jackson McLaren and The Triple Threat Video “Here’s A Memory”

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren and The Triple Threat

Jackson McLaren and The Triple Threat have just released the awesome new video for their single “Here’s A Memory”. The video is a collaboration between Jackson McLaren and Brooke Altmann and was shot using stop motion photography. Check it out below:

Jackson McLaren will be launching his new album Songs To Greet The Dawn with a bunch of solo shows around the country this June – the full list of dates as follows:

Wednesday 4th June – The Melbourne Folk Club, Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 15th June – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 22nd June – The Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 28th June – Little Features at Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 29th June – Menagerie, The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat Announce Album Launch Shows in Sydney and Melbourne

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat

With their new album Songs To Greet The Dawn having just been released Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat are about to officially launch the long player with shows in Sydney and Melbourne. The shows will take in spots at regular folk and singer-songwriter nights The Melbourne Folk Club, Little Features and Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Wednesday 4th June – The Melbourne Folk Club, Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 28th June – Little Features at Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 29th June – Menagerie, The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Melbourne Folk Club Announces June Program

Jack Carty
Image Courtesy of Jack Carty

The new weekly folk night The Melbourne Folk Club has gotten off to a flying start with a couple of sold out shows and plenty of buzz online. With such a strong start it’s no surprise they’ve just announced a June program that looks set to match, if not top, what’s already scheduled for May.

The Melbourne Folk Club in June is set to feature the likes of Jack Carty (above), Lucie Thorne, Steve Smyth, All Our Exes Live In Texas, Matt Walters, Jackson McLaren, Grizzly Jim Lawrie, Tim Guy and many more. The night takes place every Wednesday at Bella Union in Carlton with two sets – the first being a collaboration between two artists and the second being a solo set.

The remaining May program as well as the newly announce June program is below. For more information check out the official Facebook page here:

Wednesday 21st May – Sal Kimber, Brendan Welch, Grand Salvo
Wednesday 28th May – Davey Lane, Sara Retallick, Sweet Jean
Wednesday 4th June – Lucie Thorne, Jackson McLaren, Luka Lesson
Wednesday 11th June – Matt Walters, Anika Moa, Tim Guy
Wednesday 18th June – Jack Carty, All Our Exes Live In Texas, Grizzly Jim Lawrie
Wednesday 25th June – Raised By Eagles, Steve Smyth, Rowena Wise

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 2nd May


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom has announced details of his new album Head and Heart. Details here

– UK singer Sam Lee has announced plans for a new EP, More For To Rise, to be released next month. Details here

– The Northern Beaches Music Festival hits Sydney this weekend with a lineup that includes Laura & Susie, Luke Escombe, Dave Calandra, Charlie Gradon, Wheeze and Suck Band, Betty & Oswald, Direwolf, The April Maze, Alanna and Alicia, The Green Mohair Suits and many many more. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Al Parkinson will be releasing her new single soon as well as launching it at a show next week. Details here

– Canada’s Old Man Luedecke has extended his stay in Australia through May. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Jackson McLaren has revealed the details of his debut album. Details here

Fraser A. Gorman released his new video for “Book of Love” complete with a Courtney Barnett cameo and a chicken. Details here

– Fiddle player George Jackson has a new EP, Observations, that you can stream online. Details here

– Everyone’s favourite folk big band Bellowhead are back with a new album this June. Details here

Kim Churchill released his visually stunning new video “Window to the Sky”. Details here


“The EP is a journey. Some songs are hopeful, some are idealistic. Some bare honesty in there too and darkness. Asleep is a Friend of Mine is part of a lyric from the song “Chasing Ideas” referring to getting lost in your own thoughts, anxieties and searching for things you don’t need” – Tom Lee-Richards from Catch Release chats to Janine Estoesta. Interview here

“Kavisha Mazzella is an accomplished singer-songwriter from Melbourne with a substantial body of work behind her and a long career of touring solo and with bands of various composition (no pun intended). Were that the end of the story, it would be laudable enough, but it literally crests just the tip of the iceburg of this remarkable woman. Leader of community choirs in Australia and Italy, flexible and adaptive musician who lends her talents to a litany of projects including providing backing to a silent film from the 1920s — live!”Kavisha Mazzella chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“Australian blues man Owen Campbell has been busy promoting his latest album The Pilgrim and will be taking the show back to his old stomping ground of Canberra at The Abbey on Friday 2nd May 2014 to kick off his Remember to Breathe Tour”Owen Campbell chats to Bill Quinn. Details here



“The tracks Matthew showcases on Unlearned are deliberately eclectic. Iconic songwriters ranging from Whitney Houston to Neil Young are featured, and all rebroadcast in his signature rich, resounding tones” – Sheridan Morley reviews Scott Matthew’s album Unlearned. Review here

“Every single sound, every different timbre, contained within their unique soundscape is wholly essential, and no note played by any instrument featured on debut EP Asleep is a Friend of Mine is ever anything less than masterfully executed” – Sheridan Morley reviews Catch Release’s EP Asleep Is a Friend of Mine. Review here

Releases This Week

The Sleeper
The SleeperCaitlin Park

We of Thieves
Web of ThievesDrawn From Bees

Jackson McLaren
Songs To Greet The DawnJackson McLaren & The Triple Threat

LawlessThe Timbers

Tiny Ruins
Brightly Painted OneTiny Ruins

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Man of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?

o brother

Some of Sydney’s finest folk, bluegrass and Americana musicians, including The Morrisons, Ngaiire, Elana Stone, Brian Campeau, Lucky Luke, Marcus Holden and All Our Exes Live In Texas, will be paying tribute to the seminal film O Brother Where Art Thou? this week. Make sure you get in early because these shows will definitely sell out.

Wednesday 7th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 8th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Boy & Bear
Friday 2nd May – Discovery, Darwin, NT
Thursday 8th May – Black Swan Hotel, Bendigo, VIC
Friday 9th May – Regent Cinema, Ballarat, VIC

Cairns Blues Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May – Cairns, QLD

Daniel Champagne
Sunday 4th May – Brisbane Jazz Club, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 8th May – Fresh Café, Launceston, TAS
Friday 9th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Dustin Tebbutt
Thursday 8th May – Pirie Social Club, Adelaide, SA

Ella Hooper
Thursday 8th May – Art Gallery of WA, Art Bar, Perth, WA
Friday 9th May – Jive, Adelaide, SA

Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers w/ Andy Golledge
Thursday 8th May – Vic on the Park, Sydney, NSW

Hayden Calnin w/ Eliza Hull
Saturday 3rd May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 9th May – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney, NSW

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 2nd May – Basement Discs, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 3rd to Sunday 4th May – Karuah Bluegrass Music Festival, NSW

Karuah Bluegrass Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May – Karuah, NSW

Kaurna Cronin and Ben Whiting
Friday 2nd May – Bo’s House, Jan Juc, VIC
Sunday 4th May – Graceland, Melbourne, VIC

Kavisha Mazzella
Sunday 4th May – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kim Churchill
Wednesday 7th May – Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW

Little Wise and Megan Bernard
Friday 2nd May – Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston, TAS
Saturday 3rd May – The Homestead, Hobart, TAS

Man of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?
Wednesday 7th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 8th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 2nd May – Roth’s Wine Bar, Mudgee, NSW
Saturday 3rd May – Lizotte’s, Dee Why, NSW
Friday 9th May – Glebe Cafe Church, Sydney, NSW

Melbourne Folk Club w/ The Mae Trio, James Kenyon, Liz Stringer
Wednesday 7th May – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Northern Beaches Music Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May – Berry Reserve, Narrabeen, NSW

Old Man Luedecke
Friday 2nd May – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 3rd May – The Royal Yacht Club, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 4th May – The Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick, VIC
Tuesday 6th May – Burrinja Café, Upwey, VIC

Owen Campbell
Saturday 3rd May — Camelot Lounge, Marrickville, NSW
Sunday 4th May — Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 9th May — Mudgee Brewing Company, Mudgee, NSW

Paul Greene and the Other Colours
Friday 9th May – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW

Sam Brittain
Friday 9th May – Revolver, Melbourne, VIC

Tanya Batt
Friday 2nd May – The Beresford, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd May – Tattersals Hotel, Penrith, NSW

The Beards
Thursday 8th May – Studio 6, Sutherland, NSW
Friday 9th May – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith, NSW

The Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 2nd May – Fly By Night Musicians Club, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 3rd May – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA
Wednesday 7th May – Lizottes, Central Coast, NSW
Thursday 8th May – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 9th May – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW

The Timbers
Thursday 8th May – Pheonix Bar, Canberra, ACT
Friday 9th May – Albion Hotel, Albury, NSW

Vance Joy
Tuesday 6th May – The Hi Fi, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 8th May – The Bakery, Perth, WA

Wintermoon Festival
Friday 2nd to Monday 5th May – Camerons Pocket, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Rocky Road to Dublin” – Damien Dempsey

Today’s FFF goes out to Timber and Steel writer Macka Jay who missed out on seeing Damien Dempsey absolutely make this track his own at the National Folk Festival this year. Hope he enjoys it!

Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat To Release Debut Album

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Jackson McLaren and his band The Triple Threat have been hard at work in the studio over the summer – and now their hard work is coming to fruition with the release of their debut album Songs To Greet The Dawn due out this Friday the 2nd May.

The album has been a long time coming with his breakthrough EP Mirrors and Strings released way back in 2011.

“I think the earliest song is from 2008, and others are from only a couple of months ago,” McLaren explains. “I just wanted my first album to be a big, cohesive picture of what has been happening for the last few years.”

Songs To Greet The Dawn was produced by John Castle – the full track list and the video to the single “Some of My Friends” are below:

1. Gold Turned to Green
2. Here’s a Memory
3. Some of My Friends
4. To See You There
5. This Be the Place
6. In My Old Age
7. A Whole Day Nearer
8. Waltz for a Ghost
9. Farewell This House
10. Song to Greet the Dawn

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
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)
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
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
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.

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.

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
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)
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.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 13th December


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Jackson McLaren revealed his brand new clip “Some of my Friends”. Details here

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros released their joyous new video “Please!”. Details here

– UK five-piece Eliza and the Bear have released their new video “It Gets Cold”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Mark Moldre has just released his new video “I Don’t Know What’s Become Of Her”. Details here

Floating Compass, a six-piece orchestral pop group featuring members of Camera Obscura, Los Campesinos!, Freelance Whales, Efterklang, Stornoway and Princeton, have just released their new track “Travel”. Details here

The Pigs have released a video for their cover of the Kelis track “Milkshake”. Details here

Boy & Bear released their brand new video for the track “Harlequin Dream”. Details here

– Melbourne nu-folk band The Bon Scotts have released their long awaited new video “The Weekend Bends”. Details here

– With a new album on the way in February the John Butler Trio will be touring through March and April next year. Details here

Bluesfest revealed their fifth lineup announcement including Jeff Beck, KC and The Sunshine Band, Gov’t Mule, WAR, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Sly & Robbie and The TAXI Gang feat. Bitty Mclean, Jason Isbell, Chali 2na, Kate Miller-Heidke and Seth Lakeman. Details here

Kim Churchill has released his new single “Window to the Sky” and is celebrating with a January tour. Details here

– Canadian trio Timber Timbre have announced plans for a new album in 2014. Details here

James Vincent McMorrow has revealed another track, “Red Dust”, from his upcoming album. Details here


“We wanted to do something different to our first record. We’re not a band that’s always just been a folk band – we’re a band that’s been all sorts of bands since we were really young kids. People know us as a folk band or whatever, which is fine because we’ve definitely done that. It’s a big part of what we do. But we’re trying to show that that’s not necessarily the whole picture. That will just unravel over the years to come, people will just come to accept that” – Jordan Wilson from Georgia Fair chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Timber and Steel Presents

Little May
Little May with Al Parkinson, Crooked Saint
Sunday 15th December – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

April Maze w/ The Shivering Timbers
Tuesday 17th December – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Bob Evans
Wednesday 18th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Dustin Tebbutt
Friday 13th December – Baha Tacos, Rhy, VIC
Saturday 14th December – Baby Black Café, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Sunday 15th December – Birdhouse, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Festival of Small Halls w/ Jordie Lane and Rose Cousins
Friday 13th December – Capella Cultural Centre, Capella, QLD
Saturday 14th December – Springsure Town Hall, Springsure, QLD
Sunday 15th December – Pinnacle Playhouse, Pinnacle, QLD
Wednesday 18th December – Wallaville Hall, Wallaville, QLD
Friday 20th December – Degilbo Hall, Degilbo, QLD

Hayden Calnin
Friday 13th December – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

Kaurna Cronin
Friday 13th December – The Beach Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW

Lachlan Bryan
Thursday 19th December – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill, NSW

Little May
Sunday 15th December – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 19th December – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 20th December – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Friday 13th December – Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA

The Crooked Fiddle Band
Saturday 14th December – The Entrance Leagues Club, The Entrance, NSW

The Morrisons
Thursday 19th December – The Vic, Sydney, NSW

Friday 13th December – Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Friday Folk Flashback

“Vincent” – Don McLean

Today just feels like a Don McLean kind of day.

Watch The New Jackson McLaren and The Triple Threat Video “Some of My Friends”

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren

Melbourne singer-songwriter Jackson McLaren and his band The Triple Threat have just released their beautiful new video “Some of My Friends”. The video was directed by Timber and Steel favourite Jefferton James – check it out below:

If you liked the track head over to this link and pick it up as a free download.

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