Little Features Announce Christmas Show

Starry Field
Image Courtesy of The Starry Field

As a special early Christmas present Sydney indie-folk night Little Features have announced their final show of the year – and it’s one of their best lineups to date.

This month Little Features will play host to musician and producer Mark Myers, AKA The Starry Field (above), local singer-songwriter Alex Gibson, harmonic indie-folkers Yetis and acoustic singer Daniel Tomalaris. The night will also feature slam poetry from Jesse Brand and live art from Sarah Rowan Dahl.

Little Features will take place at Hibernian House in Sydney on Saturday 29th November. The night will kick off at 6:30pm with tickets just $15 on the door – and don’t forget it’s BYO food and drinks. For more information check out the official Facebook event here.




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
RhyeWoman
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)
VäsenMindset
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
NgaiireLamentations
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
PikeletCalluses
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.

ArcWhitaker
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.

AgapeCastlecomer
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
MobyInnocents
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)
AfenginnLux
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 – 10th May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Gregory Alan Isakov has revealed plans to release a new album in July and is streaming its first single “Saint Valentine”. Details here

– Our “home” festival, The Top Half Folk Festival at Glen Helen near Alice Springs has announced Hugh McDonald (Redgum) as the headliner for 2013. Details here

– The first of the folk-orientated artists from the Splendour line up to announce side shows is Of Monsters And Men. Details here

– And next up on the Splendour sideshow front is UK trio Daughter with shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Details here

– The monthly Country Roads night in Sydney has revealed its May lineup and it’s looking pretty special – Fanny Lumsden & the Thrillseekers, Lucky Luke & His Shooting Stars and Andy Golledge. Details here

Tigertown have announced plans for a national tour this June with The Starry Field in support. Details here

– Speaking of The Starry Field, Mark Myers is heading out on a stripped back solo tour this week. Details here

– More details have emerged about the upcoming self-titled album from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros including Australian release date, cover art and track listing. Details here

Mustered Courage have released their new video “Standing By Your Side” ahead of their album launch tonight. Details here

– The promised video for Arbori’s track “Polar Bear Swim” has debuted online – and it’s stunning. Details here

Blog

“Happy 3rd Birthday Timber and Steel!” – Blog here

Reviews

Track by Track

“I wrote “Reckless” when I was 18 or 19, it’s the oldest song on the record. Looking back I was in the midst of a transformation from my teenage self into my adult self and was struggling with some difficult emotions”Kathryn Rollins takes us through her EP Reckless. Track by Track here

“When I listen to the EP, it feels like this [Burn Away] is almost the turning point in the mood. It’s a very simple song but again we wanted to create a build up in sound and production, this time in a more gentle way”Patrick James takes us through his EP All About to Change. Track By Track here

Releases This Week

Heart of Nowhere
Heart Of NowhereNoah and the Whale
iTunes

Volume 3
Volume 3She & Him
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Sal Kimber
Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel with Dan Parsons
Sunday 12th May – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Gigs Next Week

Achoo! Bless You and The Mountains
Friday 10th May – The Junkyard Hotel, Maitland, NSW
Saturday 11th May – The Aztec, Forster, NSW
Sunday 12th May – The Bellevue Hotel, Tuncurry, NSW
Wednesday 15th May – STRO Armidale Uni, Armidale, NSW
Thursday 16th May – Dowse Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 17th May – Woody’s Surf Shack, Byron Bay, NSW

Beth Orton
Friday 10th May – St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 14th May – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

Bob Evans
Friday 10th May – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 11th May – Zierholz @ UC, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 12th May – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 16th May – Yarra Hotel Geelong, VIC
Friday 17th May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Country Roads feat. Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers, Lucky Luke & His Shooting Stars, Andy Golledge
Thursday 16th May – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Josh Pyke
Friday 10th May – Southside Tea Room, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 11th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

MoFo feat. Chris Gillespie and Nick Street
Friday 10th May – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Mustered Courage with The Nymphs
Friday 10th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 17th May – Coogee Diggers, Coogee, NSW

The Starry Field (solo)
Wednesday 15th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 16th May – Dowse Bar, Paddington, QLD
Friday 17th May – Jet Black Cat Records, West End, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Diamantina Drover” – Hugh McDonald

We were pretty stoked to see that Redgum legend Hugh McDonald will be headlining the Top Half Folk Festival this year so we thought we’d share a version of probably his most famous song.

Mark Myers Announces Short Solo Tour

The Starry Field
Image Courtesy of The Starry Field

Mark Myers has definitely been keeping himself busy after The Middle East went their separate ways in 2011. Not only has he become the go-to producer for a raft of Australian bands (including a number of Timber and Steel favourites) he’s also found time to release the album Back on the Milks under the moniker The Starry Field (review here) and will be supporting Tigertown on their upcoming national tour.

But before the Tigertown tour kicks off Mark Myers has booked a number of intimate gigs for a series of solo appearances. This will ba a unique chance to see Myers perform his songs in a stripped back setting. There are five shows in total (some are support slots) – check out the list of dates below:

Wednesday 15th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 16th May – Dowse Bar, Paddington, QLD
Friday 17th May – Jet Black Cat Records, West End, QLD
Saturday 18th May – Pure Pop Records, St Kilda, VIC
Sunday 19th May – The Newsagency, Sydney NSW

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 26th April

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Two of our favourite up and coming UK artists, The Staves and Keaton Henson, have collaborated on a version of Henson’s “In The Morning”. Details here

TinPan Orange released the clip for their track “Supergirl”. Details here

– London’s Treetop Flyers have just released their new video “Things Will Change”. Details here

– The wonderful Packwood has announced another Folkraiser mini-festival to help raise funds for his upcoming EPs. Details here

Castlecomer have delivered one of the happiest videos we’ve seen in a long time with “Rosie”. Details here

– Watch the trailer for When Brave Bird Saved, a short film featuring music from Laura Marling’s upcoming album Once I Was An Eagle. Details here

– And then watch the entire When Brave Bird Saved short film featuring Laura Marling here

Splendour in the Grass have announced their 2013 lineup including a bunch of folk and acoustic acts like Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Of Monsters & Men, Matt Corby, Boy & Bear, Sarah Blasko, Gurrumul, Daughter, Vance Joy, Art Of Sleeping and more. Details here

Timber and Steel are proud to be presenting “The Hypnotist” single launch tour from Owls of the Swamp kicking off this May. Details here

– Sydney’s Folk Club will make a welcome return next Wednesday with a show featuring The Falls, Jack Carty and Leroy Lee. Details here

Little Features hits Hibernian House in Sydney tomorrow night with a lineup that includes Matt De, Oscar Lush, Charlie Gradon, Little Bighorn and Sam Buckingham. Details here

– Melbourne duo Miles and Simone have just released the video for “I Recall”, the first single from their forthcoming EP Home in Your Heart. Details here

Interviews

“I will definitely be pursuing all of those things. Anything and everything to get my music heard by as many people as possible and anything and everything to keep me from having to wear a pencil skirt in a stuffy office ever again”Emma Swift chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Reviews

Recordings

“Part dirt and dust, part smog and steel, and unmistakingly Australian. The modesty and earthiness of Paul Kelly, the innocence of Darren Hanlon, the warmth of Angus and Julia Stone, and the ‘local voice’ of The Waifs and Missy Higgins. Mark Myers plants his feet firmly in the soil of his North Queensland home, but his alt-country roots spread further into moments of sparse electronic beats and sound scapes nestled within his acoustically driven story telling” – Haz reviews Back on the Milks from The Starry Field. Review here

Gigs

“It was difficult to come down from falling into the rabbit hole and immersing myself in five days of being lost in Wonderland. Accompanying me were two filmmakers, one photographer, a Byron local and two actors. Each set that finished and each tent that we walked out of incited a collective sigh and exhausting swoon”janineestoesta reviews Bluesfest. Review here

Releases This Week

Junip
JunipJunip
iTunes

Pistol Eyes
Pistol EyesKaurna Cronin
iTunes

All About to Change
All About to ChangePatrick James
iTunes

Concubine
ConcubineTelegraph Tower
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Presents

Jennifer Kingwell
Jennifer Kingwell, Arbori, Caity Fowler and Plum Green
Sunday 28th April – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Gigs Next Week

Achoo! Bless You and The Mountains
Thursday 2nd May – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Aluka
Friday 3rd May – Northcote Uniting Church, Melbourne, VIC

Bob Evans
Friday 26th April – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 27th April – Fowlers, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 2nd May – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Friday 3rd May – The Bakery, Perth, WA

Eli Wolfe
Wednesday 1st May – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

Folk Club feat. The Falls, Jack Carty, Leroy Lee
Wednesday 1st May – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW

Gum Ball
25th to 26th April – Gum Ball, NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 26th April – The Aztec, Forster, NSW
Saturday 27th April – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW
Sunday 28th April – The Fig, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 3rd May – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW

James Kenyon
Friday 26th April – 5 Church Street, Belingen, NSW
Sunday 28th April – The Front, Canberra, ACT

Jordie Lane
Friday 26th April – Gum Ball, Hunter Valley, NSW
Saturday 27th to Sunday 28th April – Apollo Bay Music Festival, Apollo Bay, VIC
Wednesday 1st May – Jet Black Cat Music in-store, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 2nd May – The End, Brisbane, QLD

Josh Pyke
Thursday 2nd May – Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 3rd May – Gertrudes Brown Couch, Melbourne, VIC

Katie Noonan with Brian Campeau
Saturday 27th April – Flinders Performance Centre, Buderim, QLD
Thursday 2nd May – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 3rd May – Lizottes, Dee Why, NSW

Little Features feat. Matt De, Oscar Lush, Charlie Gradon, Little Bighorn and Sam Buckingham
Saturday 28th April – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Stu Larsen and Natsuki Kurai
Friday 26th April – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 27th April – The Front, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 28th April – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

The Bad Shepherds
Sunday 28th April – The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Monday 29th April – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 3rd May – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW

The Hillbilly Killers
Friday 26th April – Rooty Hill RSL Club, Rooty Hill, NSW
Saturday 27th April – GumBall Festival, Belford, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Watch Over Me” – Bernard Fanning

A few people have asked why we haven’t covered any of the new album from Bernard Fanning and the truth is it’s because he’s made a decision to move back towards his rock roots. But we still love Fanning’s music and Tea and Sympathy is definitely one of the best Australian folk/acoustic/roots albums of the last decade.

Review: The Starry Field, Back on the Milks

null     Image courtesy of The Starry Field

I was quite glad to see that Mark Myers’ The Starry Field not only still existed, but had released an official recording. Whilst many may consider The Starry Field a splinter from the formerly active The Middle East (I say this, as no band ever really breaks up), I have in my own collection a DIY recording of The Starry Field from 2007, obtained from a festival that featured the close-knit family of Townsville bands that consisted of The Starry Field, Sleeping in Trains, and The Middle East (all of which Myers was a member).
 
Elements of each collective can be heard throughout Back on the Milks, and with Myers wearing his front man cap, the album covers six years worth of candid, emotional, and honest song writing. On each listen, to me, this album has grown and matured, with the distinct components of The Starry Field sound evolving into something very comfortable and familiar. Myers’ voice at first seemed quite foreign to a city dweller like myself, but as each song took me on a journey from Cape Town, Tennant Creek, and Townsville, to Bellingen, Sydney, Holbrook, and across the Tasman, it was obvious that his voice and slang-tinged conversational lyric style is perfectly suited to such stories.

“From north & south, from city & country…”
– The Starry Field @ MySpace

An accurate description of the feel of this album. Part dirt and dust, part smog and steel, and unmistakingly Australian. The modesty and earthiness of Paul Kelly, the innocence of Darren Hanlon, the warmth of Angus and Julia Stone, and the ‘local voice’ of The Waifs and Missy Higgins. Mark Myers plants his feet firmly in the soil of his North Queensland home, but his alt-country roots spread further into moments of sparse electronic beats and sound scapes nestled within his acoustically driven story telling.

This album makes me want to travel, to see the country and the world, being wary of the challenges of the human relationship, and learning from the warnings of those who’ve come before. A real, raw collection of songs that reveal Mark Myers the man, and reflect a little something within ourselves.

Back on the Milks is available on iTunes now

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 15th March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– The week kicked off with a bang with the announcement of a brand new Laura Marling album in May, titled Once I Was An Eagle, with the first single “Where Can I Go?” already streaming online. Details here

– Monthly Sydney folk night MoFo has announced its March lineup including The Underscore Orkestra, The Rusty Spring Syncopators and Godfrey Uke and his Orchestra. Details here

Mumford and Sons revealed their brand new video “Whispers in the Dark”. Details here

– Melbourne’s Sleepy Dreamers will be officially launching their brand new EP Winter Make Way at The Workers Club in April. Details here

– US folk duo The Milk Carton Kids released their latest video “Honey, Honey”. Details here

Crooked Still front-woman Aoife O’Donovan has confirmed plans to release her debut solo album Fossils this June. Details here

– UK trio The Staves released their brand new video “Facing West”. Details here

Jep and Dep celebrated the release of their new EP Through The Night with a brand new video for the track “Ain’t Coming Back”. Details here

– For the first time since 2011 the full lineup of alt-country legends Wagons will be playing at two special shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Details here

– The new project from ex-Middle East member Mark Myers, The Starry Field, has a debut album on the way and a national tour. Details here

The Steamgrass Boys are taking their Country Roads night in Sydney Monthly. The April lineup also includes Mustered Courage and 200k plus the MCing skills of Luke Escombe. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Tim Guy has announced a brand new album (Dreaming of a Night Mango), a new video (“Many People I Know”) and dates for an April tour. Details here

The Tiger and Me finally released their brand new video for “Made it to the Harbour”. Details here

– New and classic folk collide with Joanna Newsom covering Sandy Denny’s “The North Star Grassman and the Ravens”. Details here

Interviews

“Basement Birds, you know we were just trying to make a rootsy sounding kind of folk record, you know, making four part harmonies. With Jebediah’s last record we were, you know, we had so many years between records we were really trying to recreate ourselves a bit. Do a really adventurous, for us anyway, studio album that wasn’t about trying to capture our live sound. With this Bob Evans record, I was really just trying to start all over again” – Kevin Mitchell (AKA Bob Evans) chats to Janine Estoesta. Interview here

“At the Cobargo Folk Festival in February, Kim Churchill was the recipient of my vicarious joy at this news, and we spontaneously had a chat, leaning on someone’s trailer, outside a venue, out in the open — which was a bit of a mistake because as I now know: don’t try to do these things in a flukey, swirling breeze”Kim Churchill chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“At Canberra’s One Very Big Day this week to celebrate the city’s centenary, Fun Machine played to a heaving, sweaty mess of young and old beautiful people, as the last of the fireworks fell away (some into the crowd, allegedly!) as they put a fairly massive stamp on their cross-genre and cross-market universal appeal”Fun Machine chat to Bill Quinn. Interview here

Blog

“It’s the National Folk Festival. Arrayed in a slightly different configuration this year, with some changes, tweaks and sundry twists and turns. If you were sat at home thinking, aw, might give it a miss this year, my suggestion would be this: Don’t” – Bill Quinn reminds us it’s just two weeks until The National Folk Festival. Blog here

Reviews

Recordings

“There is a precision in the way these sounds are arranged which could only have been crafted. All the elements are carefully mixed to create a unique and fascinating texture, which surprises at every listen. It’s the kind of sound you’d expect from a dozen musicians in a world-class studio” – JDX reviews The Wolves by Brighter Later. Review here

Releases This Week

Bob Evans
Familiar StrangerBob Evans
iTunes

The Stand In
The Stand-InCaitlin Rose

Deep and Down These Walls
Deep and Down These WallsDave Di Marco
iTunes

Mala
MalaDevendra Banhart
iTunes

Through the Night
Through The NightJep and Dep
Bandcamp

Rosie
RosieThelma Plum
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Kaurna Cronin
Kaurna Cronin with Ben Whiting and Hamish Anderson
Sunday 17th March – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Gigs Next Week

Alice Springs Courtyard Sessions feat. Sally Balfour, Katie Harder & Dom Costello, Damien Armstrong and Scotty Balfour and the Diddly e’ Dees
Sunday 17th March – Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, Alice Springs, NT

Blue Mountains Music Festival
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th March – Katoomba, NSW

Bobby Alu
Friday 15th March – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA
Saturday 16th March – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 17th March – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough, WA

Breaking Hart Benton
Friday 15th March – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW (with Sarah Humphreys)
Saturday 16th March – Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Wednesday 20th March – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 22nd March – The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Brett Winterford
Friday 15th March – Mars Hill Cafe, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 21st March – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA

Cordial Factory with Bexley De Lion and Al Parkinson
Saturday 16th March – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Damien Dempsey
Friday 15th March – The Bakery, Northbridge, WA
Saturday 16th March – The HI FI, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 17th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Dave Di Marco
Friday 15th March – The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th March – The Retreat, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st March – Cafe Le Monde, Noosa, QLD
Friday 22nd March – The Brewery, Byron Bay, NSW

Don’t Mention The Wall
15th to 16th March – Beechworth, Vic
Friday 22nd March – Springwood, NSW (house concert)

Eli Wolfe
Friday 22nd March – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW

Frogfest feat. The Barons of Tang, Takadimi, GrandMasterMonk and Dave Bova Band: Divina Commedia
Friday 15th March – Red Rattler Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Glen Hansard and The Frames with Lisa Hannigan
Wednesday 20th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 22nd March – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Jep&Dep
Sunday 17th March – The Green Room, Sydney, NSW

Jordie Lane
Friday 15th March – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC w/ Ruthie Foster
Saturday 16th March – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC
Sunday 17th March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC, w/ Ruthie Foster
Thursday 21st March – The Factory, Sydney, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd March – Yackandandah Folk Festival, Yackandandah, VIC

Luka Bloom
Saturday 16th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, NSW
Monday 18th March – Tilley’s, Canberra, ACT
Tuesday 19th March – Tilley’s, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 20th March – Tilley’s, Canberra, ACT
Friday 22nd March – Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart, TAS

MoFo feat. The Underscore Orkestra and Chaika
Friday 22nd March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Friday 15th March – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th March – The Hill Winery, Geelong, VIC

Nicola Hayes and Hélène Brunet
Friday 15th March – The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick Music Festival, VIC

Passenger
Thursday 21st March – Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Patrick James
Friday 15th March – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 16th March – The Waiting Room, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 21st March – Beav’s Bar, Geelong, VIC

Paul Brady
Friday 15th March – Celtic Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 17th March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 21st March – Guthrie’s, Adelaide, SA
Friday 22nd March – The Fly By Night, Perth, WA

Sally Seltmann
Wednesday 20th March – The Famous Spiegeltent, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st March – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Seth Lakeman
Saturday 16th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, VIC
Saturday 17th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, VIC
Wednesday 20th March – Notes, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 21st March – Lizottes, Kincumber, NSW
Friday 22nd March – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW

The Tiger and Me
Friday 15th March – Elsternwick Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st March – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 22nd March – The Brisbane Markets, Brisbane, QLD

The Underscore Orkestra
Friday 15th March – The Upfront Club, Maleny, Qld

Two Crows
Thursday 21st March – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 22nd March – Australian Celtic Studies Centre, Newcastle, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Sonny” – Mary Black, Emmylou Harris and Dolores Keane

My Mum’s birthday happens to fall on St. Patrick’s Day (this Sunday) which has its pros and cons – the pro being there’s always a party with loads of music and dancing, the con being that mum is rarely the focus of those celebrations. For her birthday I thought I’d dedicate the track “Sonny” as a FFF to her – a song I know she loves. And the fact that this version features two of Irelands greatest singers, Mary Black and Dolores Keane, is a little nod to the other celebration that’s happening this weekend (despite the fact it was written by a Canadian). Happy Birthday Mum!

The Starry Field Announces Debut Album and National Tour

The Starry Field
Image Courtesy of The Starry Field

The Starry Field is the new project from ex-Middle East member and prolific producer Mark Myers that’s already garnering a fair bit of buzz following the release of his first single “All Of My Love” and series of shows in small venues around the country in January. And now it looks as though we’re getting more from The Starry Field with the announcement of a debut album.

That album is Back on the Milks and is due for release next week on the 21st March. To celebrate Back on the Milks The Starry Field has announced a string of dates through the end of March and the first half of April. Check out the full list of shows below:

Friday 29th March – The Clever Duck, Cairns, QLD
Sunday 31st March – The Old Magistrates Courthouse, Townsville, QLD
Wednesday 3rd April – The Beetle Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 5th April – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 11th April – The B. East, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 13th April – The Bird, Perth, WA

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 18th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– The latest song from the upcoming album Son of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys has hit the internet and it’s a version of “Shenandoah” featuring Tom Waits and Keith Richards. Details here

– UK indie-folk darlings Daughter has announced the details of their upcoming debut album If You Leave, complete with 10 single word track titles. Details here

The Crooked Fiddle Band are taking the crowdfunding route with their second album and are asking fans to contribute to a Pozible campaign. Details here

– UK singers Eliza Carthy, Lucy Farrell, Kate Young and Bella Hardy have joined their considerable talents for a brand new folk supergroup project Laylam, with a new album due on the 28th January. Details here

Donavon Frankenreiter is bringing his brand of surf-roots (and his moustache) back to Australia this February and March for a massive 30+ shows. Details here

– The new video from Hayden Calnin, “Summer”, is better written, acted, shot, directed and of course soundtracked than anything on Australian television at the moment – that’s my claim anyway. Details here

– The Counting Crows have confirmed a handful of sideshows when they’re in the country for Bluesfest. Details here

– Melbourne instrumental three-piece The String Contingent announced their new album Talk and started streaming it online all at once. Details here

– “Winter Make Way”, the new single from Melbourne’s Sleepy Dreamers is pretty stunning. Details here

Matt Walters has finally released his Vacant Heart EP, four months after the original release date. Details here

– Ex-Middle East memeber Mark Myers has unveiled his new solo project, The Starry Field, with a poppy debut single and a bunch of east coast tour dates. Details here

The Starry Field’s debut single “All Of My Love” also has a brand new video to go with it. Details here

The Perch Creek Family Jug Band have teamed up with the Quarry Mountain Dead Rats and the Bearded Gypsy Band for a east coast mini-festival tour this February. Details here

– “Line of Fire” is the brand new single from Junip from their upcoming self titled album. Details here

The Staves released their brand new video “Winter Trees”. Details here

– UK trio Bear’s Den have made their latest single, “Pompeii”, available as a free download. Details here

Passenger has revealed a brand new song “A Thousand Matches” via a live video that also features Stu Larsen and Isobel Anderson on backing vocals. Details here

Interviews

“We started off on New Year’s Eve at Peat’s Ridge, and that was amazing. We’ve also ended up with large amounts of nude Australians, twice in a fortnight” – Jorge Kachmari from The Underscore Orkestra chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“We’ve decided quite recently that we’re not going to record anything all three of us together. Because Laura wants to focus on her career and I want to focus on mine. And I’m happy to play with Amelia and Laura when we’re together, but it’s kind of like a side project being The Miss Chiefs”Laura Zarb, Amelia Gibson and Vendulka Wichta of The Miss Chiefs chat to Bill Quinn. Interview here

Reviews

Gigs

“As a country-wide heat wave began to take hold you’d be forgiven for thinking only a crazy man would leave the beach lined coastline of Sydney for a weekend in New South Wales’ central west. And you’re probably right except I was driving over the mountains to take part in the Gulgong Folk Festival, an event I had heard so many good reports on in 2012 and which boasted a 2013 lineup that seemed lifted straight from the pages of Timber and Steel – how could I not attend?”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews the Gulgong Folk Festival. Review here

Releases This Week

Vacant Heart
Vacant HeartMatt Walters
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Presents

Grizzly Jim Lawrie
Grizzly Jim Lawrie with Kat Arditto
Sunday 20th January – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Archie Roach
Friday 25th January – State Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th Januray – Bulli, NSW

Kim Churchill
Friday 18th January – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 19th January – Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 20th January – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA
Tuesday 22nd January – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Wednesday 23rd January – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 24th January – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Friday 25th January – The Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW

Leah Flanagan
Sunday 20th January – Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Lianne La Havas
Friday 18th January – The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 20th January – The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Monday 22nd January – Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 23rd January – Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Tamworth Country Music Festival
18th to 27th January – Tamworth, NSW

The Mouldy Lovers
Friday 18th January – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 19th Januray – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW

The Starry Field
Sunday 20th January – The Public Bar, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 23rd January – The Round, Dowse Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 24th January – The Barcode, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 25th January – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

The Underscore Orkestra
Tuesday 22nd January – Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood, VIC
Wednesday 23rd January – Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

The Waterboys
Wednesday 23rd January – State Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Don’t Forget Your Shovel” – Christy Moore

Was stoked to discover this song has an official film clip complete with a shirtless Christy Moore. This was one of those songs I used to love when I was a kid, mainly because the lyrics (and the way Moore sings it in his staccato Irish accent) are just so absurd, at least to a kid. But it really has a timeless message – that “if you’re going to do it don’t do it against the wall”. Mind your sandwiches.

Watch The Starry Field’s “All Of My Love” Video

Starry Field
Image Courtesy of The Starry Field

Just days after bringing you the new track from The Starry Field (the new project from ex-Middle East member Mark Myers) an accompanying video has appeared online. The video was directed by Michael Haydon – check it out below:

The full list of upcoming tour dates for The Starry Field are below:

Saturday 19th January – Baby Black Cafe, Bachas March, VIC (supporting Daniel Champagne)
Sunday 20th January – The Public Bar, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 23rd January – The Round, Dowse Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 24th January – The Barcode, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 25th January – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 29th January – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

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