New Music Monday – 29th July

Shelleys Murder Boys
Image Courtesy of Shelley’s Murder Boys

Ben Harper – “Uneven Days”

“Uneven Days” is Ben Harper at his most emotional and tender. Accompanied by piano and strings, Harper has smoothed all the edges off his visceral voice to deliver a truly beautiful song.

“The song “Uneven Days” attempts to explore the depths of how dependent we can become on other people for our own sense of wholeness and stability,” Harper explained. “The only thing more hazardous than oversimplifying relationships is overcomplicating them. Love and surrender are synonyms. Even if I remove love from the equation, mental health and day-to-day perspective maintenance is a razors edge. Maybe acknowledging the unavoidable uneven day, or uneven days, helps avoid uneven months or even years.”

Chance McCoy – “Whippoorwill”

Multi-instrumentalist Chance McCoy continues to play with genres with his upcoming solo album Wander Wide, due on the 20th September. The latest single “Whippoorwill” is probably his folkiest to date, drawing on an old timey style of songwriting, accentuated with jangly guitar and rhythmic fiddle. Probably my favourite from Wander Wide so far.

Lloyd Spiegel – “Track Her Down”

Australian acoustic roots singer-songwriter Lloyd Spiegel has found a really cool groove with hie new single “Track Her Down”. With brass stabs, funky electric guitar and Spiegel’s bluesy voice, “Track Her Down” brings Memphis to Australia.

“”Track Her Down” isn’t really about a person or a place,” Lloyd Spiegel explained. “It was probably an amalgamation of several women I met over the years who I wanted to get to know better but simply didn’t have the time and had to keep traveling. The greater story of the song is that the lifestyle I lead often doesn’t allow me to have anything but fleeting connections with people, and I don’t take those connections lightly; I carry them a lot more seriously than people may imagine.”

Lucie Thorne – “Golden Plains”

Singer-songwriter Lucie Thorne has delivered another beautiful track from her upcoming album Kitty & Frank, due on the 26th August. Similar to the previously released “Wheogo Hill”, Thorne is leaning heavily on ambient synths and driving drum beats to compliment her striking voice.

Kitty & Frank see’s Lucie Thorne cover the true stories of frontier woman Kitty Walsh and her lover, the bushranger Frank Gardiner.

“When I tell people I’ve written a concept album about bushrangers, many jump to the conclusion that it’s all fiddles and lagerphones!” Lucie Thorne said. “It couldn’t be further from it! I knew this whole wild Kitty & Frank story could live in any sound world, it’s such a timeless romantic tragedy. As I was working on the text, I
suddenly realised I was going to make a kinda art/pop album brimming with synths.”

Lucie Thorne will be touring the new album through September, October and November – full dates are here:

Friday 13th September – The Corridors Project, Cowra, NSW
Saturday 14th September – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 15th September – The Town Hall, Candelo, NSW
Friday 4th October – Music on the Hill, Red Hill, VIC
Saturday 5th October – Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 6th October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 17th October – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 18th October – McCrossin’s Mill, Uralla, NSW
Saturday 19th October – Community Arts Hall, Wauchope, NSW
Sunday 20th October – Grand Junction, Maitland, NSW
Thursday 14th November – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Friday 22nd November – Cooee Arthouse, Aldinga, SA
Saturday 23rd November – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th November – Memorial Hall, Ashbourne, SA

Shelley’s Murder Boys – “Airds”

After teasing us with a bunch of social media content from the studio over the last few months Sydney based old-time band Shelley’s Murder Boys have finally released their new single “Airds”. The surprisingly upbeat track is taken from the band’s upcoming album Above is a Roar and is about “problems with no solutions, and strength in the face of adversity” according to the band. The track is a modal exploration of the old timey style with Shelly’s unique voice and distinctive fiddle playing taking centre stage – beautiful stuff.

Sheryl Crow feat. Jason Isbell – “Everything Is Broken”

The latest track from Sheryl Crow’s collaboration album Threads, due on the 30th August, is possibly my favourite yet. On “Everything Is Broken” Crow teams with Americana favourite Jason Isbell for a country-blues-rock belter that harkens back to Elvis, Roy and Johnny without being kitsch or distasteful. The relentless rhythm guitar, splashy drums and blues harp all make this track, as of course does Isbell’s superb voice.

New Music Monday – 15th July

The Maes
Image Courtesy of The Maes

Bon Iver – “Jelmore” & “Faith”

The internet lost its mind this week with Bon Iver not only dropping two more songs, but also announcing their new album i,i, due on the 30th August. After releasing “Hey, Ma” and “U (Man Like)” last month, the new Bon Iver tracks are the glitchy “Jelmore” and the anthemic “Faith”. Justin Vernon’s sound continues to evolve away from the gentle folk of his earlier work with him fully embracing samples, loops and more on his new music. But front and centre is still Vernon’s amazing voice and pitch perfect songwriting and that’s what makes anything new from Bon Iver something to get excited about.


Boy & Bear – “Hold Your Nerve”

Since “Hold Your Nerve” was released in the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing it all over the radio. It’s great that a band like Boy & Bear is still able to pump out songs that get the radio listening public excited. And “Hold Your Nerve” deserves the success its been getting – the track is classic Boy & Bear, combining their love of 70s folk-rock with the anthemic indie-pop they’ve becoming known for.

The track is taken from Boy & Bear’s newly announced album Suck On Light which will hit our ears on the 27th September. They also have a bunch of shows announced in August with tickets selling fast:

Thursday 15th August – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 16th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 23rd August – The Astor, Perth, WA

Great Aunt – “FOMO”

Melbourne based folk and Americana duo Great Aunt tackle the modern anxiety of missing out on their latest track “FOMO”. with bluesy slide resonator guitar and thumping bass, the vocals in this track are actually more understated than you’d imagine. This is a very modern folk song that pays tribute to the roots of the music it draws from.

“FOMO” is taken from Great Aunt’s upcoming album So Not Right Now which is due for release in November. The duo are currently on tour – check out their upcoming dates here:

Tuesday 16th July – BUG Acoustic, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 17th July – Element Bar, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thursday 18th July – The Middle, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 20th July – Hardy’s Bay Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Sunday 21st July – Little Alberts, Bathurst, NSW
Thursday 25th July – Temperance Society, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 28th July – The Cambus Wallace, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October – Deni Ute Muster Festival, Deniliquin, NSW
Friday 15th to Sunday 16th November – Healesville Music Festival, Healesville, VIC

Josh Rennie-Hynes – “Chapter”

Australian singer-songwriter Josh Rennie-Hynes has just unveiled his latest solo single “Chapter”, his first since his work as one half of The Ahern Brothers. Josh Rennie-Hynes moved to Nashville to write and record his upcoming album Patterns, due on the 27th September, and you can hear that towns influence all over “Chapter”. This is straight up Americana songwriting, with Rennie-Hynes voice accompanied by a cracking band.

Matt Corby & Tash Sultana – “Talk It Out”

Australian roots music darlings Matt Corby and Tash Sultana have come together for an amazing collaboration in “Talk It Out”. The funky, soulful track is very smooth and plays on the unique voice of both artists.

“I wrote the song during the sessions for Rainbow Valley, but in a different way to the rest of the album,” Corby explains. “It didn’t feel like it was a fit for the record so I revisited it with Tash recently. Tash has a giant musical beast living inside of her, so I knew she could deal with whatever I threw at her. It was amazing to collaborate with someone like that, and have her throw her musical styling’s over the song.”

“We originally started having a jam in early 2017, then life came between making music together,” Tash Sultana adds. “This track came about because Matt didn’t include it on Rainbow Valley. He sent it to me to fill in the blanks, and it’s the first collaboration I’ve done with another artist that I’ve released. Matt is an amazing songwriter and instrumentalist. He’s also an absolutely awesome guy with a huge soul so it was a privilege to be a part of this project.”

Matt Corby plays Splendour in the Grass this weekend.

The Maes – “Treat You Better”

I know it’s pretty early to call, but “Treat You Better” from Melbourne duo The Maes is close to being my favourite song of 2019. Taken from their self-titled album, “Treat You Better” is some absolutely fine songwriting, with sweet harmonies entwining themselves around guitar, bass and mandolin. The song’s storytelling lyrics are deceptively simple (as all great lyrics are), but have a depth to them that grows on every listen. But where “Treat You Better” really shines in the chorus, which builds to a chant as the track crescendos and lodges itself firmly in your head for days to come. The Maes have released the official video for “Treat You Better” featuring live footage from festivals and shows from across the world and it’s a wonderful accompaniment to amazing song.

The Teskey Brothers – “So Caught Up”

And so we have yet another single and video from The Teskey Brothers’ upcoming album Run Home Slow, due on the 2nd August. This time it’s the soulful “So Caught Up”, described by the band as the centrepiece to the upcoming album. The track has a pop sensibility without losing The Teskey Brothers’ innate love of the blues, soul and gospel music that’s inspired them.

Review: His Merry Men with The Bon Scotts, The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Photo courtesy of His Merry Men

His Merry Men with The Bon Scotts
The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd March, 2013

Last Saturday night everyone was having a house party. There were backyard bonfires, beers and friendly encounters to be made. But in the midst all of this merriment, I headed over to The Empress Hotel for some late night tunes. Entertaining the patrons of the dark, pub-like venue were two headliners with, in totality, more instruments than band members.

This wasn’t just the final show of the tour. Local folk band, The Bon Scotts, were also farewelling their drummer, Jono. Their heart-felt goodbye featured everything from mandolin and banjo to hand-held harp – and that was just from one band member. Opening with “Lovesong for a Riot,” the band immediately caught my attention, showcasing their creative fusion of traditional folk, unique percussive elements and raspy, Scotland-inspired rock. An accordion and xylophone provided an eclectic music experience for the listener.

As the set continued, their compositions offered variety and energy. The bassist in particular had boundless kilojoules at his disposal, rocking out at the back like he’d just won the lottery. Three songs stood out for me: “The Way Home,” “Polluted Sea,” mainly for the lyric, “throw ourselves unconditionally into love,” and a hilarious but memorable song about dying at the hands of C.G.I. These dudes were sweaty and screaming, which combined with elegantly written lyrics is all I can ask for in a live show. They finished off with a glorious performance of “The Kids are Coming” and I was already liking their Facebook page.

It was almost a logistical nightmare as the 7-piece packed up their gear while a 9-piece simultaneously unpacked theirs. With heads held high, His Merry Men piled on to the stage, decked out in their finest pajamas for the last show of the Pillow Tour. There was a range of sleepwear on show, including everything from boxers and striped leggings to Mr. Men print flannels. Andy introduced the horn section on tenor saxophone before the electric guitar joined in with an explosive riff. The band confronts their audience with a confident blend of musical styles.

The ‘Robin Hood’ of this tale is Megan Crocombe, a force to be reckoned with in her tenacity and robust vocal acrobatics. She’s cheeky, uninhibited and wildly contagious as the male members joined her in “Summer Song,” chanting, “Got no job, got no future, but that’s okay cause we got the summer time.” My personal favourite, “Super Secret Spies,” is almost a tribute to James Bond but added an element of comedy to the show as the horn section struck various secret agent poses. A man sporting a polka dot onesie made eerie theremin-like noises on a launchpad while the singer yelped and howled like a lonely dog.

You can tell just by watching them interact that the members are good friends. They are completely comfortable on the stage and not just because they’re wearing pajamas. Moreover, each individual ‘merry man’ displays exceptional skill on his or her chosen instrument. Kudos goes to the guitarist in particular, who unleashed a tirade of fat and funky guitar riffs, which at different moments throughout the set borrowed from the styles of Jimi Hendrix, Tom Morello and John Mayer. This demonstrated not only his versatility as a musician but also his child-like passion for music that was palpable as he rocked out in socks and crab-print shorts like he was just practicing in his bedroom at three in the morning.

The band also performed “OP,” a sexy downtempo number with a drumbeat that reminded me of Cake’s “Shut the Fuck Up.” The Brisbane cohort also paid tribute to the resignation of Jono the drummer by inviting him on stage for a mellow tune and a bit of a cuddle. After a song involving some Spanish bull-fighting music and a barefoot trumpet solo, Megan thanked the crowd and the ceiling fan, ditching the mic stand for the final song.

There was so much happening on stage that I struggled to write it all down. One minute the horn section were dancing; then they were jumping; then they abandoned their instruments altogether as the piano had a jazz aneurysm. A few false endings and they finished with flashing lights and wailing. His Merry Men are such a visually engaging band and definitely brought their own house party tonight. I would love to catch these guys again on a bigger stage, with or without the pajamas.

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