Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2014

Turntable

You’ve probably read what we think are the top albums of 2014 and now it’s time to turn to Timber and Steel’s favourite artists and see what they pick as their number one.

We reached out to musicians across the folk spectrum, from local singer-songwriters to internationally acclaimed folk stars and the response, as always, has been amazing. So we’ll shut up and we’ll let the artists do the talking with Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2014:

NightwalkWoody Pitney
Matt WaltersNightwalk
I was a small part of Matt’s crowd-funding campaign to get this album off the ground and it was definitely money well spent! Matt has a really defined, folky sound, which evokes different emotions throughout the album. His understated vocals with his powerful lyrics make a great recipe for an excellent album. My personal highlights are Track 2, “Melbourne Goodbye’ and Track 8, ‘Build A Place’. I highly recommend you give it a listen!

SongsRoland K Smith
John FullbrightSongs
On his second album the best new songwriter in the world pairs lyricism with musicality and musicianship. Seriously, no one is making records as good as this young man from Oklahoma. “High Road”, the album’s penultimate track, still sends shivers down my spine after the hundredth listen. Fingers crossed we see him in Australia soon.

ZabaSteven Barnard (Arbori)
Glass AnimalsZaba
It was a toss up between this record and Jamie Cullum’s Momentum. Both are full are brilliant arranging and some great hip hop and R&B influences. Glass Animals however have created soundscapes, grooves, crochendo, and a singer who’s channelling a rapper, in what I can only describe as indie swag. I have not stopped listening to this record all year

Upside Down MountainTodd Sibbin (Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood)
Conor OberstUpside Down Mountain
Its been three years since Bright Eyes’ 2011 heavily electronic influenced The Peoples Key and many were expecting a blow back to the early Oberst/Bright Eyes days with the announcement of a solo record. While it certainly is more laid back, the collaboration with producer Jonathan Wilson brings an entirely new aesthetic to anything we’ve heard from an Oberst incarnation (not to mention, in terms of subject matter, Oberst got married three years ago so most of the lyrical content is about the “experiences” of married life, instead of the “experiences” of single life). Defiantly modern sounding (largely due to a decent amount of electronic PAD work), Wilson and Oberst have managed to retain the stripped back and intimate nature of the songs despite the fact that the tracks are still fairly overdubbed (with a decent amount of electric guitar too!). It’s an extremely ambient record which, after speaking to others, can help take some of the “bluntness” out of Oberst’s delivery, certainly making it one of Oberst’s more “friendlier” releases. I love it.

New MoonLiz Frencham
Sarah HumphreysNew Moon
It may seem biased because I played on this album but the things I love about it are nothing to do with my playing. Sarah’s songwriting is exquisite and her voice sublime. It also has the energy and dynamics of a live album.

The Spoon CollectorsLiam Gale (Liam Gale & the Ponytails)
The Spoon CollectorsA Dime for Charon
Part mellow-drama-rock-opera, part nineteen-seventies-swamp-explosion, but mostly a psychedelic journey through The Spoon Collector’s fabricated landscape beyond space and time. I was present for a lot of the recording of this album, out in central NSW with Sunfield Records, and let me tell you: The Spoon Collectors know how to party. The album features guest vocals by the boys from the Dusty Yellow Sunbeams and characterised artwork by the producer’s brother.

Angel OlsenLauren Moore (Pepperjack)
Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire For No Witness
There’s something consistently cool and brooding about this February release. It’s the fuzzy guitar tones; it’s her angry-drunk to sleepy-drunk vocals. It’s the gripping nature of the tom-heavy drumming in “Forgiven/Forgotten”. You can put this in your ears, down a glass of red and kick in a car window if you want to. I love it when folk meets rock in the most seamless way. And that’s what this album is – an ideal balance of gloom and glow – as well-rounded as a human personality; bleak at times, but honest and changing. As she sings in “High & Wild”, “I’m neither innocent nor wise when you look me in the eyes.” Perfect for long walks in the dark and putting out cigarettes in the carpet.

Salad DaysJay Penaflor
Mac DemarcoSalad Days
I decided to listen to this album before dozing off to sleep. Didn’t sleep of course. My ears were completely drawn to the ‘jizz jazz’ of Mac Demarco and ended up listening to the very end of the album. Upon listening to this album, I found myself head-bopping to nearly all his songs. He has a way of messing with your head with his romantic-like melodies and bizzare yet addictive twangy guitar riffs. For some reason I feel like this album should be listened in a cafe in Paris or something. My hat’s off to Mac Demarco. Listening to him inspired me to write ‘Fridge Buzz (Choirs Of Suburbia)’ on my Incentive EP, though I doubt it’s got nothing on any of his tunes.

BeckOisin Leech (The Lost Brothers)
BeckMorning Phase
On this album Beck appears in the desert wearing silver robes and speaking in tongues of crystal and cold fire. The songs are immaculate. The precision and emotion in this album makes it so special. This album was my close companion as we toured the world. I love it dearly.

The CoralMark McCausland (The Lost Brothers)
The CoralThe Curse of Love
This album was recorded eight years ago and kept hidden in a treasure chest until the flavours had stewed. It’s a unique album of frightening beauty and its songs hold many secrets. I’d been waiting to hear these songs for centuries without realising it. The album immediately unlocked a labyrinth of mysteries to me from the first note to the last. It’s boss.

The No-Hit WonderFrank Turner
Cory BrananThe No-Hit Wonder
Everything Cory does is pretty much flawless – it’s a real wonder to me that he’s not better known than he is. Most every songwriter I know loves his stuff and feels slightly daunted by it, he’s so much better than the rest of us! This new album is no exception. It’s worth the price for the opening lines of “The Only You” alone. A classic record in the making.

Jack WhiteClaude Hay
Jack WhiteLazaretto
This one’s easy for me, Jack White’s Lazaretto. It’s full of wicked riffs, catchy melodies, analog raw production, brilliant songs, all the ingredients for a perfect album. I’ve flogged it to death.

Otis GibbsBill Jackson
Otis GibbsSouvenirs of a Misspent Youth
As well as being a native of Indiana, Otis Gibbs is also noted as “a storyteller’s storyteller” who symbolizes the true essence of the independent spirit thriving in the East Nashville neighbourhood he now calls home. Fiercely independent, Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth produced by Thomm Jutz is Gibb’s seventh album since 2002. Folk is Otis’s style but country is his flavour and many are predicting that this will be his breakout album. Not that it matters as Otis writes to inspire. If you like Guy, Townes, Steve etc then get on board. Every song on this album is a highlight, so as they say “lean in and listen” and you won’t be able to stop. My favourite track: “Ghosts of Our Father’s”. Otis Gibbs has also recorded nearly 100 podcasts under the title Thanks for Giving a Damn that consists of conversational interviews with those who write, sing and play for a living – free on iTunes.

Lily OSam Lee
Sam AmidonLily-O
An album of absolutely sensitive genius, maturity in craft and skill in story telling that is heads beyond most other albums about

Hey RosettaWinterbourne
Hey RosettaSecond Sight
Such a good album! Tim Baker’s vocals are addictive and they’re backed up by clever and moving lyrics. Each song is thick with real instruments, which move together in a way that still feels fresh after the tenth listen. It just makes you feel good.

Damien RiceRyan Oliver (Olivers Army)
Damien RiceMy Favourite Faded Fantasy
It’s classic Damien Rice melancholy but with a new focussed indie-pop sensibility. The songs are well crafted, passionate, raw and honest and you feel like you’re sitting right in his Icelandic borrowed home-studio. The production is beautiful. I love the lengthy songs that take you on a wild journey and the lush orchestral arrangements that almost drown out everything else, in a very good way.

Caitlin ParkHeyMun
Caitlin ParkThe Sleeper
Caitlin Park is a real gem and her latest album is a reflection of great ambition and perspective. A body of work exploring intricate layers of acoustic blended with touches of electronic (“Wake Up In A Whirr”) and thought provoking verses (“Hunt For The Young”) all in all results in a real treat for the senses indeed. Paired with sound engineer extraordinaire Sam Brumby, The Sleeper is a fusion of great ideas executed beautifully. Reminding us of how lucky we are to have inspiring talents like this in Australia.

AtlasCaitlin Harnett
Real EstateAtlas
Bittersweet lyrics, dreamy vocals and guitars and just the right amount of ache to make you fall in love with this record over and over again.

Mikhael PaskalevLittle May
Mikhail PaskelevWhat’s Life Without Losers
This album has been the prominent soundtrack to my year. It is perfection and has really inspired me to think outside the box creatively. Such a genuine guy who deserves all the success that will continue to come his way.

Nikki LaneBex Chilcott (Ruby Boots)
Nikki LaneAll Or Nothin’
It takes about five minutes of watching a Nikki Lane show to become a totally dedicated fan girl and although album was a slow burner for me, its infectious nature took hold this year. She’s got to be one of the nicest badasses both in person and in song. The songs are just good, strong songs that are both honest and lyrically pretty clever, classy hooks and a really good dose of steel and slide which always pulls at my heartstrings. Totally won my heart over this year!

Angus and Julia StoneChris Panousakis (Timberwolf)
Angus & Julia StoneAngus & Julia Stone
For me it would be Angus & Julia Stone’s self titled album no doubt. It’s such a punchy, refreshing version of their songwriting, and there’s an intangible sense of unity between the two that you can really feel listening to it as well as seeing them play live. It almost feels a lot more vulnerable or honest, either way it’s pretty special.

Apex TwinThe Ellis Collective
Aphex TwinSyro
After 13 years, Richard James’ Syro is a tuneful, buoyant and humble return, playfully heralded by a green blimp hanging over London and announced from the depths of the deep web. Without any sonic uppercuts, the likes of Windowlicker or Come To Daddy, Syro dwells in analog manipulations more common to his Analord series (released as AFX) and serves as the frontrunner of what more may come now that the 13 years without Aphex Twin has passed. How bloody exciting!

Daniel ChampagneBearded Gypsy Band
Daniel ChampagneThe Gypsy Moon – Volume II
Dan is one of the most hard working Australian musicians I know of. He is a prolific songwriter and musician of great calibre. The songs on this album are full of depth, they talk of life on the road, of friends and lovers lost and the constant moving on that comes with the touring life. Beautiful melodies accompanied by some of the finest guitar playing you’ll hear makes this album so great.

Against MeBilly The Kid
Against Me!Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Why? It’s the most real, rocking, sincere, vulnerable, brave and catchy thing to get stuck in my ear holes in awhile, with a lyrical perspective that is engrossing, inclusive and yet daringly different. Also, I love these people.

WastelandsMatthew Black (The Bottlers)
Protector 101Wastelands
Tuning into the crackling airwaves of cinematic score saturated post-apocalyptica never felt so awesomely ominous. Maine synthwave artist Protector 101 has paid homage to future shock, nuclear holocaust ravaged movies with an envisioned 17 track soundtrack entitled, Wastelands. Protector 101 takes the listener on a rugged journey through ravaged love, gang warfare and bleak radiated Australian desertscapes circa 2099 with a musically based visual dexterity I could only liken to John Carpenter or Vangelis.

EnmaarCatgut
TinariwenEmmaar
We’ve listened to countless favourite albums on long car trips, lots of familiar country and old-time and bluegrass. But Malian Tuareg band Tinariwen really struck us: rolling rhythmic grooves, bluesy electric guitars and beautiful low male vocals. There’s a hypnotic drive to this desert music that draws you in, we love it!

FanfarloMike McCarthy
FanfarloLet’s Go Extinct
Fanfarlo’s third LP Let’s Go Extinct quickly danced its way to the top of my record collection this year. Fanfarlo have been my go to fun music choice for a few years now and although there are a few more psychedelic moments on the album Let’s Go Extinct delivers with solid songwriting, vocal delivery and production.

Valerie JuneSam Buckingham
Valerie JunePushin’ Against A Stone
It’s bluegrass, it’s folk, it’s rockin’ it’s heartbreaking, it’s uplifting and her voice carries each track in a vulnerable, sexy, “I take no shit, but I just wanna be loved” kind of way. I kind of want to marry her

Caitlin HarnettShane Nicholson
Caitlin HarnettThe River Runs North
My favourite album of 2014 is The River Runs North by Caitlin Harnett. A collection of great songs, played with heart and a minimum of fuss. As an album, it’s incredible – as a DEBUT album, it’s astonishing.

Jack WhiteEddie Boyd (Eddie Boyd and the Phatapillars)
Jack WhiteLazaretto
Jack White! What a man! His latest offering, Lazaretto is a dirty, raucous blues/rock/country mash-up which has been playing on repeat in my kitchen for months. Crunchy guitar riffs, wailing fiddles, ghoulish backing vocals, and a piano which has surely been bashed to pieces by now!
Easily my favourite album of 2014.

Lera LynnJohn Flanagan
Lera LynnThe Avenues
I came home from Nashville in October with a stack of incredible records but this is the one that I’ve listened to non-stop since getting back. I’d call it Americana-Folk-Pop, similar to Lisa Mitchell but more Americana and less pop. The melodies are catchy, but there are offbeat moments (which is what I love about it) and the production is slick and atmospheric tying it all together. Her voice is smooth and irresistible and yes, I might have a slight crush on her.

Tim WheelerTony Wright (VerseChorusVerse)
Tim WheelerLost Domain
The Ash frontman released his debut solo record this year and surprised everyone in that it didn’t sound remotely like the mother-band and it wasn’t (as a lot of solo debuts tend to be) an acoustic record! These songs deal with the loss of Tim’s dad, George, how it affected him and his family and how it’s still affecting them. It’s a work of tremendous emotion and beauty. I lost my mother at a young age and hearing some of the lyrics in this wonderful album tugged at my heart strings in every manner possible. From the instrumental, bluesy movers to the frankly stunning single, “Vigil”, this deeply personal album has an extremely universal appeal. A truly beautiful and happy/sad achievement on a topic we all, sooner or later, can relate to.

Emily BarkerEmily Barker (Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae)
Lucinda WilliamsDown Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
I love this new record of Lucinda’s. I’ve been a fan for many years now and this is stand out. The songwriting is exceptional and very much complimented by a great production. Her voice is weathered, broken and beautiful as ever. Very classy and visceral.

The War On DrugsAidan Roberts (The Maple Trail)
The War On DrugsLost In The Dream
Unlike so many rock bands who meddle with reinventing a retro sound, The War on Drugs possess several assets that make them soar above the rest – particularly with this dark, spectacularly beautiful record. The songs live in a world almost entirely ruled by common-time 80’s new-wave rock rhythms, the landscape populated by widescreen analog synth textures and twisting, chorusy guitars. And above it all, the beauty of Adam Granduciel’s weary and insistent tenor tugs you through these resigned and ponderous story songs like a troubled, trusted brother. Amazing.

Hot DreamsLacey Cole (Lacey Cole & the Lazy Colts)
Timber TimbreHot Dreams
Nostalgically cinematic, hauntingly beautiful and profoundly strange Timber Timbre’s 2014 album Hot Dreams sounds like 50s L.A noir meets Elvis-era Vegas complete with the picturesque road-trip around Arizona it took to get there. Equal parts sexy and creepy Hot Dreams is breathtakingly weird. Each song emerges from the shadows reveling itself as either the night of your life or your worst nightmare, you choose, then hold on tight and enjoy easily the best musical expression of the Grand Canyon ever recorded.

The TimbersGemini Downs
The TimbersLawless
Gotta go with local lads The Timbers. Not only do we love watching them bring crowds to life at awesome Adelaide venues like The Grace, now we have an awesome CD that beautifully captures their live, real, raw spirit. One of the most hard working bands we know and I dare you to try to keep your feet still when that trumpet kicks in.

The War On DrugsMatt Walters
The War On DrugsLost In The Dream
For months I kept hearing about this album and it took me a while to finally get to it. I remember my friends gushing about The War on Drugs. That kind of turned me off. You need to find things in your own time. Anyway, I was sitting in a cafe near my house and this beautiful dreamy music was playing. I thought it was a Dylan live recording that I hadn’t heard or something. So I Shazam’d it! I rarely use Shazam – but I knew I couldn’t miss this. I had to know. And it was the song, “Lost in the Dream”. That beautiful dreamy harmonica – the strange cryptic words – the ambience captured in the recording just pulled me in. It had me immediately. So I went home and bought the record and played nothing else for about 6 months. I’ve only really just stopped. I love this album. The production is just so pristine, flawless and unique. Adam Granduciel is like a master painter with his guitar sounds on this record – so ethereal and haunting. His playing is so detailed, yet raw and visceral at the same time. “Suffering” is so beautiful. Simple and profound. Oh, and If the guitar solo in that song doesn’t destroy you, nothing will. Masterpiece.

Ryan AdamsImogen Clark
Ryan AdamsRyan Adams
This record is heart-wrenching, soulful, moving and pure magic, but also somehow packs this almighty punch and really rocks out. Ryan Adams manages to be a total electric-fuelled punk rocker and a sensitive, poignant, acoustic singer/songwriter all at once. He’s the champion of wearing his heart on his sleeve and he leaves no stone unturned. Thank you, DRA.

Sweet JeanThe Weeping Willows
Sweet JeanGreetings From Goodbye
It is perhaps a little biased of us to choose Sweet Jean’s Greetings From Goodbye mini-LP as our top album of 2014 as it contains most of our favourite songs from the (many) times we’ve seen them play live over the years. Sime Nugent and Alice Keath are everything we would love to be as a duo; timeless singer-songwriters, multi-instrumentalists and heavenly harmonisers, with two of the best voices in the country. Much of this EP was actually recorded “live” in Sime and Alice’s laundry, which further demonstrates their effortless proficiency. Stand-out tracks are Dock Boggs’s “Country Blues” (in the style of Peggy Seeger), the traditional “Weeping Willow” and “Spring Bird” written by Keath and Nugent. Sweet Jean definitely have a gothic-folk sound that is all their own but check them out if you’re into the old-school folk stylings of She and Him or Americana duos Mandolin Orange, The Civil Wars or Australia’s own Jep and Dep.

SiaAnna Buckingham (Nova & the Experience)
Sia1000 Forms of Fear
She’s never had one distinctive style to her career. Some would call her an indie goddess and others a pop princess. 1000 Forms of Fear is an anguished pop album, in its smartest and human form. The first album she has released in four years, her powerful and perfect melodies remain uniformly magnificent throughout these twelve songs, with deeper and darker lyrics that highlight a more intimate side of Sia. Beautiful in all its vulnerability, she delivers great pain with even greater triumph. Every track is magnificently crafted and combines a faultless balance of violently raw emotion with total uplift. You are invited to look into this woman’s anguish through melodies and vocal cartwheels that can make you think she is unbreakable . Hauntingly beautiful in all its cleverness. My favourite by far.

Ben AbrahamTimothy James Bowen
Ben AbrahamSirens
My top album actually only came across my ears just the other day. It’s Sirens by Ben Abraham. He’s a friend of a friend of mine who I met at a house concert we were playing together in Melbourne around this time last year. He said that he had something in the works but I had no idea it would be this tasty. It’s like if you put Gotye, Josh Pyke and Passenger in a room and told them not to come out till they had something musical going on between them. Sort of. But all in his own greatness. Go and check it out.

Sun Kil MoonPeasant Moon
Sun Kil MoonBenji
Our individual short lists were like night and day…from Robert Ellis (Harvey) to Asgeir (Josie). Benji was the point of convergence. We’ve never been to Ohio, but this land of lethal backyard fires, mercy killing, teen sex and albinos can sure inspire some amazing music. This is a brutal and beautiful collection of stories about life, death and gratitude. And it can be confronting – there’s nowhere to hide as Mark Kozelek shuns the use of metaphor and other distractions. This, combined with the mostly simple arrangements, produce deceptively insightful songs about the tragedy and joy of what it is to be human. Dark slacker folk at its finest – think Smog meets Pavement meets Neil Young.

Lily OPete Flood (Bellowhead)
Sam AmidonLily-O
A really great ensemble album rooted in the inspired pairing of Amidon’s spiky banjo picking and Bill Frisell’s more expansive guitar playing. The overall tone is focused and quietly daring – traditional material given space to unfold and evolve in unusual and sometimes disquieting ways – a real breath of fresh air.

Everything UnsaidSam Sweeny (Bellowhead)
Screaming MaldiniEverything Unsaid
This is the second and final album from one of my favourite bands of all time. Perfect, innovative intelli-pop from a band who never got the recognition they deserved.

The Moral of the ElephantJon Boden (Bellowhead)
Eliza and Martin CarthyThe Moral of the Elephant
Two English folk greats on top form, shaking it up a bit with some unexpected material and totally nailing the traditional stuff, as ever.

Ben AbrahamAl Parkinson
Ben AbrahamSirens
I had been waiting for this album for years. YEARS. Ben Abraham is one of my favourite Australian songwriters and performers. You know when you go and see someone play and you HAVE to buy their cd, it’s not a choice, you have to scavenge around your Mary Poppins bag for dollars and even ask your friends if you can borrow some money to buy their album? This is how you would feel if you saw him play and the album is more than we as listeners had hoped for. It was absolutely worth the wait. The production on the album suits Ben’s songs perfectly; subtle where it should be, interesting and very clever. The album was only released in November but I just cannot stop listening to it. ‘Speak’ was the single he released from the album and it’s one of those “EVERYONE BE QUIET AND PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS” songs. Although I’ve listened to it probably 300,000 times, every time is like the first time I heard it. Other favourites are ‘You and Me’, ‘I Belong To You’ and ‘Songbird’ oh and ‘Collide’… Okay so they’re all beautiful. I’m so glad that I finally have these songs in my ears and I’m really excited to see where this stupidly talented persons career heads.

Southerly ChangeSivan Agam (The April Maze)
Southerly ChangeSoutherly Change
I love putting this album on first thing in the morning to get my day going with good vibes. It reminds me to live in the moment. Even if it’s cold outside this album makes me feel like I’m on summer holidays. There are some great singalong tunes in there too, so it’s the perfect album for long road trips.

Searching for TallSophie Klein (Little Wise)
Lauren GlezerSearching for Tall
This Melbourne songwriter likes to describe herself as a true “feeler”. That’s is exactly how I would describe my connection to this little record; emotional. The production, replete with gorgeous string arrangements on certain tracks, gracefully shines a deserving spotlight on Glezer’s tender and sultry vocals. Similarly, her long time rhythm players are sensitive and nuanced. But it is her personal, ever-so-human stories and her unforgettably breathy vocal delivery that really tug on my heartstrings.

Open SwimmerRose Wintergreen
Open SwimmerCanyon
Floaty, nostalgic, haunting melodies anchored with grit, sprinkled with sunshiney pop hooks and glorious references to Melbourne life.

SoutheasternThe Audreys
Jason IsbellSoutheastern
Perhaps his first great solo work, Isbell’s Southeastern is a masterclass in songwriting that doesn’t just touch on its themes of regret and redemption but mines them in ways we’ve never before heard. We were lucky enough to see Jason perform a highlight from the record, opening track “Cover Me Up”, at this year’s Americana Music Awards in Nashville. He got the award for Best Album and we got the pleasure of hearing him play.

Ray LamontagneAshleigh Mannix
Ray LamontagneSupernova
What a surprise this album was! It had me absolutely hooked from the first spin. These psychedelic sounds are completely different to anything I’ve heard from Ray Lamontagne before. This, coupled with its catchy hooks and wonderful lyrics made it a no-brainer for my choice of album of the year. It’s an anywhere album! I love it!

Rob MuinosDan Arnott (Dan and Amy)
Robert MuinosYou’re Not Alone
There have been a few releases this year by wonderful artists who I’m lucky enough to be great mates with, and I think my favourite of these is the debut EP by Robert Muinos called You’re Not Alone. Robbo does what amazing songwriters do; his songs of very personal moments somehow become universalised, making it feel as though you’ve been through whatever he’s singing about yourself, even if you’ve never experienced anything like it. His voice and his melodies are beautiful and I can’t wait for more. (Notable mention to Jackson McLaren’s album)

Daylight ExpressJames Kenyon
Tobias HengeveldThe Daylight Express
Hengeveld’s lyrics are brilliant. He’s operating at a level above. They’d be compelling enough without music, but his melodies and musicianship and that of his band elevate it to great album status for me. Lyrics that good just keep on giving. Every listen brings me to another great line or phrase. “All the old TVs on the side of the road…” that line in “Fools Rush In” kills me. Or “Our Katherine owned a temper like her name-sake. The firecracker always spinning off its nail” from “The Daylight Express”. Brilliant song, and heart breaking.

LulucRuth Hazleton – (Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton)
LulucPasserby
Gently and quietly profound, Luluc are perfecting the art of simplicity – a trait that is very unique and brave in this age of musical trickery. Unpretentious, disarming, beautifully written, recorded and produced with a “sound” completely their own, Passerby features beautiful vocal harmonies, sophisticated melodies and honest lyrics. Recommended for long drives, Sunday afternoons or whenever your feet and/or heart need to touch the ground again.

BelovedGeorgia Fair
New GodsBeloved
Because “Caravan park” taunts me, “I Love You Too” is like cringing in the mirror, “Beneath the World” is just simply beautiful, “Too High” makes me cry and “Skyman” makes me dance.

BeckDustin Tebbutt
BeckMorning Phase
For me this record perfectly balances precisely sculpted songs and production with organic sounds, and raw stories. I get the sense that this album is a series of “captured moments” in the studio as opposed to so many modern records where every track is edited to an inch of its life. It’s also both hi fi and lo fi at the same time, with the acoustic guitars and drums almost remaining unprocessed while the colours created by the lush reverbs and Beck’s characteristic lazy vocal performances take you on journeys through vast spaces.

Dwight Sings BuckNick Keeling (Mustered Courage)
Dwight YoakamDwight Sings Buck
This ain’t your mother’s country music … it’s more like your grandmother’s! The sweet and pretty country music coming out of Nashville in the 1950’s got a punch in the face by the electrified honky-tonk coming out of Bakersfield California. Pioneers like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard plugged in their telecasters, set the drummer to shuffle, and layed down what would be a huge influence on the music of The Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and obviously Dwight Yoakam. Here Dwight nails the style and sound of Bakersfield country but with the fidelity of modern recording techniques. Pull up a barstool and let the steel guitar take you up Highway 99 to that oil patch they call Bakersfield.

StromaeKim Churchill
StromaeRacine Carrée
My album of the year is Racine Carrée by the Belgian artist Stromae. It has an essentially electronic dance feel, which is impeccably well complimented by absolutely brilliant song writing. I have had endless pleasure in sitting around on Google translate (as Stromae sings in French) discovering what each of my favourite songs is about. He sets the scene of each song magnificently and opens up discussions that are quite challenging for the listener. Given the dance feel – I find it amazing that people all over the world are jumping up and down in arenas to these words of wisdom. Stromae has incredible film clips – the artistic direction is both engaging and unique. He also incorporates elements of his clips into his live performances of each song and way he dances is literally ground breaking. There is a reason the new single “Papaoutai” has had over 200 millions views. Stromae is a master craftsman on every level and quickly becomes a complete obsession.

RuinsSarah Humphreys
Kris MorrisRuins
Ruins is a breath of honesty in a sea of over-earnest, over-thought out music that’s flooding my ears at the moment. I need truth in what I listen to and this is as raw as it gets and totally from the heart, a broken one. Bravely and beautifully produced by Kasey Chambers, he’s like the Australian Steve Earle.

Damien RiceJoel Barker
Damien RiceMy Favourite Faded Fantasy
I was driving to Denmark in the south of Western Australia, listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered program, when one of the program hosts started talking about Damien Rice’s long hiatus being over with the release of his new album My Favourite Faded Fantasy. It’s been so long since Damien has released anything that I kind of forgot what his music is to me. But on first impressions, this record didn’t make much of an impact with me. Not because it’s not staggeringly beautiful, but merely because of how I was listening to it. In the car. Through portable speakers. Driving at 110km per hour. I didn’t do it justice. I found the time the following week to sit down at listen to the record in full, and I’m completely blown away by it.
I’ve come to the conclusion the Damien Rice has three different writing personalities that are vastly different from one another, yet somehow come together to make what is uniquely his. There’s the distinctive guitar melodies, nothing complicated, but kind of like a place to house his other personalities. The second is his lyrical genius. Somehow always melancholic, even in moments of joy, his words resonate with honesty and integrity, self doubt, love and hate. His words become place holders for his third personality, which are the arrangements. Other than perhaps Bon Iver’s self-titled album, I’m not sure I’ve heard an album that balances the sincerity of words with these almost orchestra arrangements that soar with optimisim and drown with sorrow equally. All these personalities come together to give us a collection of songs which probably mean just as much to us as they do to him. I can live with a Damien Rice album every 8 years or so if this is the result. So see you in 2022, Damien. Until then, enjoy the solitude.

Upside Down MountainJack Carty
Conor OberstUpside Down Mountain
This album is beautiful on so many levels. The songs are thoughtfully produced, delicately arranged and seem less overtly melodramatic than most of his previous work, but somehow they still manage hold the same sort of poetic weight and satirically pointed attention to detail that has drawn me to Conor Oberst as a songwriter for years.

True StrengthJulia Johnson (Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens)
True StrengthTrue Strength
Lost in an empty old building in East Berlin while trying to find a bar Ned Colette was playing in, I arrived just in time to discover support act True Strength, an Australian/Danish duo. If you love your folk with a touch of experimentation, or your Joanna Newsom mixed with a bit of Scandinavia, you might love True Strength. The almost a-tonal tinges to their light, delicate melodies only make them more beautiful and robust. Their self titled EP is a work I have found myself returning to often, and their performance that night is a memory I find delicious to linger on.

Tarpaper SkyBrad Butcher
Rodney CrowellTarpaper Sky
The name Rodney Crowell was only made known to me at the beginning of the year by a friend who told me I had to listen to Sex & Gasoline, an earlier release of Rodney’s, which I instantly connected with. I had become aware of a new album being released later this year couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It became the sound track of my first Tasmanian Tour in July this year and is still on high rotation. The way he looks at a song is not only unique but refreshing, this you might not expect from someone who’s been doing it for over 4 decades, but thats the very reason he is still at the top of his game and why this is my pick of 2014.

KimbraCurtis Smith (Yetis)
KimbraThe Golden Echo
Kimbra has got it. Her vocal ability seems limitless and her sense of groove is spot on. Not necessarily “beautiful” or “folky” but I can’t stop listening to it. One of those artists who doesn’t appear to be restricted by any means, and through this is making me think about my voice and to explore it’s capabilities. Also, my brother, sister and I (half of Yetis) are half kiwi, and are way too proud of it. We believe everything that comes out of NZ is brilliant, such as Kimbra.

Royal BloodJoe Murphy (The Timbers)
Royal BloodRoyal Blood
Simply the album is a rocking banger from start to finish!! Influenced heavily by the White Stripes with a touch of Muse at times. Its been on rotation for weeks and responsible for a lot of head banging!!

Gon BoogalooMark Moldre
CW StonekingGon’ Boogaloo
This album was well and truly worth the wait. CW Stoneking managed to reinvent his sound whilst retaining his authenticity. I actually wonder whether he may own a flux capacitor and a DeLorean because there’s no doubt in my mind that he has just stepped out of a 1930’s speakeasy. The fact that he picked up a Fender Jazzmaster for this album and put down the banjo allowed him to swing a little harder and dig himself into deeper grooves. It’s a wonderful blend of blues, jazz and ragtime – yet there is also something here that is intangible and undefinable – and completely his own. Nobody wants to see me dance – I promise you that, but this album makes me want to get up on the floor.

Let It LieStu Larsen
The Bros. LandrethLet It Lie
I randomly met these guys a few months ago when they were on their way home to Winnipeg, Manitoba. They were a last minute support act for my show in Chicago and really blew me away, in fact, I should have been the one supporting them, they were phenomenal. There is something incredibly captivating about these four guys when they play and sing together, both on the stage and on their album. Let It Lie is out in Canada and set for release in the States and Europe in a month or so from what I understand. I haven’t stopped listening to this album since they snuck me a copy in Chicago, hopefully Australian crowds will have the chance to fall in love with them soon!

TemplesTanya Batt
TemplesSun Structures
This year I discovered Temples and thank golly gosh for that. Think the Beatles mix the best of Tame Impala on more psychedelics with the world’s best summer vibes. It suits every mood I’m in and compliments it perfectly. I was pretty much hooked from the first bar of the first song “Sun Shelters” on the album and have listened to the album in its entirety most days since. It gives me the warm fuzzy’s because I love the vibe so much.

Stray BirdsThe Mae Trio
The Stray BirdsBest Medicine
It’s extremely hard to communicate the strength and intensity of these three musicians on record, but the album is tracked live and what is captured is still enough to make it our favourite release this year. Lush, gutsy harmonies and warm acoustic instruments are part of the joy of this album, but the most exciting bit is the songwriting – there are some jaw-dropping songs on there. This is just such no-nonsense, straight up, great music to make you laugh and cry and sing along reeeally loudly!

Jack CartyRosie Catalano
Jack CartyEsk
Jack has the most delightful voice, pens lyrics that take you on little faraway journeys, and has recorded an album that includes a song I suffer withdrawals from (“Honey, Do You Know The Way Back Home?”).

HuskyJesse Lubitz (Tinpan Orange)
HuskyRuckers Hill
This is a mighty record. The soaring harmonies and tight arrangements wrap perfectly around the beautifully crafted songs. This is one of the best albums to come out of Australia in the past few years. Faultless.

Jacob WyldeHayden Calnin
Jacob WyldeIt’s All About To Go
I’ve been following folk artist Jacob Wylde’s music for some time, impatiently waiting for an EP release from him for far too long. He’s 18, from Perth and been very busy with school I imagine. Then one day, It’s All About To Go came along and (pardon my foul mouth) but… HOLY F*CK! He’s the musician the world’s been needing and I’m spreading the word and supporting this guy till the bitter end of my days. Please listen to Jacob Wylde. He’s a rare find.

Kate Miller HeidkeImogen Bel
Kate Miller-HeidkeO Vertigo!
I love the way Kate surprises you with each new album. She never rests on her laurels and she is impossible to pin down. This is what has kept her fan-base so loyal. On this album, she has found the perfect balance of her theatrical leanings with off-kilter pop hooks and her mixture of literal and absurd lyrics. I’m a huge fan of the production on this one and the subtle eighties pop influences that never sound obviously retro. I began following (stalking) her career since her first EP and she has been a huge inspiration to me. Thanks, Kate!

VariousLes Thomas
VariousAustralian Artists for Asylum Seekers
I was blown away by the Australian Artists for Asylum Seekers Christmas album, which was put together by Lindsay Philips and features 25 excellent local songwriters. Christmas albums have never done it for me before, but the quality of every song and the fact that all proceeds go towards supporting the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre make it a beautiful example of an artistic collaboration in the best traditions of giving.

Phantom RadioMichael Paolino (Husband)
Mark Lanegan BandPhantom Radio
I got into Mark Lanegan’s music this year and I don’t know how I got through the last 30 years without it. This album has a pretty diverse sound, going from incredibly soulful, organic southern/gothic rock to some synth experimentation with iPhone drum apps! Best track “Harvest Home”. All in all a great listen.

Possessed By Paul JamesIsaac Graham
Possessed by Paul JamesThere Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely
I stumbled across Possessed by Paul James (stage name of musician Konrad Wert) at a show in San Francisco a few years ago. I was amazed at his effortless and energetic performance and impressed by his ability to seamlessly switch gears between heartfelt folk ballads and fiddle-driven, foot stompers. Although he fell off my radar for a little while I recently tracked down his latest album There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely (2013) and was immediately captivated. Although it was released late last year I’m still claiming it as my favourite for 2014. Through his shrewd lyrics and restless performance, Wert seems to capture both the inevitable joy and loneliness of everyday life. The end product is a series of songs that are as heartbreaking as they are heart-warming. Standout tracks are “Hurricane”, “Where Does All the Time Go” and title track “There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely”. Let’s hope he tours here sometime soon.

BeckMatt Dewar (Direwolf)
BeckMorning Phase
I don’t mean to split hairs, but I was vigorously torn between Faker, FKA Twigs and Beck. However I landed on Morning Phase because of its beautiful complicated simplicity. Despite the gusty blend of 60’s inspired psychedelic folk/rock, I’m constantly in awe of a man who can bring so much weight with such blunt phrases like “these are the words you use, to say goodbye”. It’s truly a lament of husky wails, lingering sadness and about 20 years of making records.

About FaceJaye Kranz (Brighter Later)
#1 DadsAbout Face
CAVEAT: I decided to choose my fav local release. It just seems like such an impressive time for Oz music, right? #1 Dads About Face flew in on first listen and still hasn’t left me. As per Big Scary, Tom Iansek is once again behind the production desk, wielding his sonic sensibilities in ways at once strangely familiar, decidedly new, and always astonishingly beautiful. I love how much he does with sometimes the simplest production choices and changes, doing only as much as the song needs. Love the collaborations, “Return To” being my standout. Also: a sax solo. (Equal first: Lowlakes – Iceberg Nerves)

Mia DysonLiz Stringer
Mia DysonIdyllwild
Idyllwild is such a playful and coherent bunch of songs. One of my favourites is “Based On Your Eyes”, a beautiful, honest and soulful love song that’s vulnerable and tender and heaving with feeling. It gets better with every listen which, for me, is a mark of a quality album. There’s a brashness to Idyllwild that I love. Mia seems to have reached another level of writing and playing. Just when you think it can’t get any better.

In The SilenceThom Lion
ÁsgeirIn The Silence
I’ve always admired artists who could mix organic instruments into their sound with electronic circuitry. So many try and fail, yet Iceland’s Ásgeir does it with supreme conviction. His release In The Silence had me intrigued and genuinely moved from the first listen. The Bon Iver influence can be heard throughout (especially in the layered vocal production and acoustic guitars) but Ásgeir carves his own sound through bleeps, bloops and R&B beats. The fact that these songs have been translated from their original Icelandic form to English makes the words all the more wholesome and endearing. His voice exudes a soft, pleading emotion, with ethereal qualities. “Kings and Queens” is a folky song, yet would not be out of place on a chillout sessions compilation. Punctuated by pulsing synths, lyrically it conjures beautiful imagery and a sense of wonder. “Torrent” is an absolute belter, with its anthemic piano line, the band joins in with the spirit of Arcade Fire. Do yourself a favour and check out his vulnerable yet grandiose take of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” on youtube, for an insight into his stunning live show.

ElbowOlivia Hally (Oh Pep!)
ElbowThe Taking Off And Landing Of Everything
Elbow’s arrangements hit you hard, even more so with this latest release. Guy Garvey’s lyrics make you smile, but not because they’re particularly happy. This is a great album, my favourite this year.

KimbraJames McKendry (Takadimi)
KimbraThe Golden Echo
This is not a lo-fi listen, it is as much about sound design and exploration of textures as it is about songs. On each track you can hear that great care was taken to a sculpt a piece of art, and not just write some catchy tunes that everybody would like. It still has Kimbra’s trademark quirky sense of melody but it is far more experimental and eclectic in it’s influences than Vows. There are strong influences of neo-soul, experimental electronic music and psychedelia present. Washy, armchair sinking moments of ambient bliss like those heard on Carolina are contrasted with some edgier and more confronting works like the tongue in cheek ode to nostalgia that is “90’s music”. All in all I’m blown away by this album. Go get it.

Emma SwiftJames Morrison (The Morrisons)
Emma SwiftEmma Swift
Emma really delivered with this album. The songs are full of conviction, and her voice is equal parts of beauty and sorrow. It’s a real late night record. The whole thing is understated and moody, the session band are subtle and tasteful, Anne McCue did a great job with the production, and there’s more than one moment that will bring on a blissful sigh (special mention to the chorus in “James”). Just go and listen to it, watch her live, fall in love with her, and if you meet anyone who belittles the state of Australian country music, throw this their way.

Daniel RossenShannon Carpenter (Sleepy Dreamers)
Daniel RossenSilent Hour/Golden Mile
I love Grizzly Bear so I was probably always going to love this. I’ve always been a big fan of his voice and guitar playing. Was really hard to choose a fav so I should give an honourable mention to The War on Drugs. Their album was ridiculously good as well.

The War On DrugsOllie Brown
The War On DrugsLost In The Dream
It’s the subtle change of the snare drum after the first chorus of Lost in the Dream. It’s the distant piano that melts away in your ears. It’s the shimmering tremolo guitars, driving 80s rock beats and Dylan-esc vocal delivery that makes this record timeless, refreshing and my favourite album of 2014.

S CareyRoscoe James Irwin
S. CareyRange of Light
S. Carey is mostly known for being the drummer and main backing vocalist in the Bon Iver live band, but his own solo records are amazing and place him highly as a genuine artist in his own right. He manages to blend live instruments and orchestration with manipulated ambient sound into something very haunting and really incredible. Once you’ve heard the opening track “Glass/Film”, you’ll be hard pressed not to listen to the whole record. “Crown the Pines”, with it’s free melody and layered double-stop fiddles, and “Alpenglow”, with it’s deep and powerful string arrangement, are both highlights.

The StavesRosie McDonald (RAPT, Folklore)
The StavesIf I Was
I’m really pre-empting as the full album isn’t out until early Feb but I’ve heard snippets of the songs on If I Was from the online trailer for the album and i love it already and have even pre ordered it. I don’t know if you are like me but I tend to judge if I like a song in the first few seconds and this sister act have the goods to deliver. I saw the family band – Emily, Jess, Camilla – at the Cambridge folk festival last year having not heard them before and loved their close harmonies and lovely poetic songs (like Wailing Jenny’s, Fleet Foxes, Crosby Still Nash & Young) but the band could crank when needed also. There is something very special about family voices together that finds a cohesive fullness and beauty. Ukulele, still the new black, was a feature as well as very nice guitar playing. I bought their album Dead, Born and Grown and have absolutely loved listening to it. Their Live at Cecil Sharpe House album is also sublime with a beautiful reading of that American folk ballad “Silver Dagger” made famous by Joan Baez. Like his year’s release pre release of The Blood I Bled From, If I Was was produced by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon in the wintry wilds of Wisconsin and will be on high rotation as soon as I have it in my hands.

Tiny RuinsJane Hendry (Broads, The Nymphs)
Tiny RuinsBrightly Painted One
I had been waiting for this album, as I am a massive fan. Kel (also from Broads) is also a big fan. I was lucky enough to see Holly do a solo album preview show in Melbourne a few months ago put on by the Melbourne Folk Club and she played the entire album in order from start to finish. It was such a beautiful, intimate show. And she’s totally lovely as well.

HozierMark Wilkinson
HozierHozier
A really impressive collection of songs. The production gives the album a rawness and a darkness which I really like.

The War On DrugsAidan Cooney (Boy Outside)
The War On DrugsLost In The Dream
A complete album and the sound of art being perfected over years. Culminating in this painstakingly crafted masterpiece. Beauty from start to finish.

Swimmin TimeTracy McNeil
Shovels & RopeSwimmin’ Time
Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent conjure up the dead, awake the living and are in my opinion one of the best and purest forms of male-female–husband-wife country duo’s of all time. On this latest release they tread through deeper waters, transforming darkness into light, dirt into finely cut diamonds, all within just a few bars. I’m at times exhausted having gone on the journey with them but always better for it. Swimmin’ Time is magic! Hands down my favorite release of 2014. “There’s hope where you can’t see it, there’s a light after the storm”. I’m glad Shovels & Rope are around to remind us of that.

GirlAde Vincent (The Tiger and Me)
Pharrell WilliamsGirl
Great voice, great writing, full of fantastic hooks and well executed ideas. And I always love his production. My favourite pop album in years.

Angel OlsenJulia Jacklin
Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire For No Witness
This album sounds like 2014 for me. My housemates can attest that I have probably listened to it too much but it really hit me hard. She crafts really interesting songs which kind of meander but never lose focus. Her voice is this incredibly powerful thing that just cuts right through, she is one of the most unique and evocative vocalists I have ever heard. Some of the best moments on the record are when it’s just a strummed electric guitar and her singing in a whisper. It’s just beautiful heartbreaking lo-fi goodness.

The StavesSibylla Stephen (The Little Stevies)
The StavesThe Blood I Bled From
I am devastatingly slow when it comes to discovering to “new music”, even though I love it. These days, my two year old takes up most of my time (when I’m not concentrating on my own music), so I tend to catch onto things late, but I don’t enjoy them any less. The band I have discovered this year are The Staves. Their music moves me into a steady pace where I feel at peace. I’m pregnant again, and their album replaced my nightly 6pm-ish glass of wine (which is was very much missing!). I also want to shout-out to the best live band I’ve seen all year The Eastern, and the songs of Sweet Jean that featured heavily in the toddler music class my son and I have been attending at the Footscray Arts Centre, Rock On.

Ane BrunJames Lindsay (Breabach)
Ane BrunRarities
We really grew to be big fans of Ane when we were at WOMADelaide and Womad NZ together back in March this year. This album perfectly displays her serene voice, subtle lyrics and brilliant band.

VagabondLyn Taylor (Dear Orphans)
Stu LarsenVagabond
I waited too long for this album. Mike Rosenberg’s production of this album is sublime.

Gretta ZillerNick Payne (Dear Orphans)
Gretta ZillerHell’s Half Acre
I’m a sucker for a good turn of melody and Gretta’s EP has a plenitude of notes that turn in unexpected directions. I also like songs that can take me to a different time and place. The title track “Hell’s Half Acre” transported me straight away to Wyoming, and “the low country where those lands were so so bad … for me”.

HITSMark ‘Looch’ Lewis (Handsome Young Strangers)
HITSHikikomori
This may be a controversial choice nominating a flat out rock and roll band in this forum. But sometimes exceptions need to be made. HITS have delivered a staggering album which stands right up there with the best Australian rock n roll flag wavers before them. Think Radio Birdman, The Saints, The Hard Ons at their best – this album sits right up there with them. Quite possibly the best rock n roll band in the world ATM.

InterstellerLaura Bishop (Chaika, Laura & Susie)
Hans ZimmerInterstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
It starts with a soft theme reminiscent of the opening of Prokofiev’s Cinderella, minuscule in sound like a forgotten echo of humanity’s first footsteps into space flight; progresses to the magnitude of a full church organ with columns of air blasting through metal pipes, matching the enormity of rocket engines launching; later sits back to watch as an observer from afar with a simple yet beautiful piano theme; and even at points uses a theme that is similar to one I wrote myself over a decade ago for a short film about the Apollo 11 mission. Wormholes much? Who knows! Either way, it’s a jolly good ride.

New MoonFanny Lumsden
Sarah HumphreysNew Moon
Generally I am not into “love songs” or sincerity however this album makes me want to hug, love and high five everyone that is dear to me. The song writing is just top notch with equal parts heart, fight and spunk. I also really singing the songs into a wooden spoon and dancing around the kitchen. Also other tops were: Caitlin Harnett’s The River Runs North, Nikki Lane’s All or Nothin’ (yep girl power) and Del Barber’s Prarieography.

Tiny RuinsEmma Davis
Tiny RuinsBrightly Painted One
I was tremendously excited for this release. Holly’s first record, Some Were Meant for Sea, is one of my favourites – a beautiful piece of storytelling, cleverly told and delicately produced. This record has a little more of everything. More instruments, a little more electric, more variation and dynamics, but no less heart. It’s the perfect example of what happens when a musician grows a constant band around her. The arrangements become a little more thought out, the songs lift and fall a little more. Buy this record, wrap it up in paper, and leave it in the letterbox of someone brilliant.

Lily OJoe Gould (The Crooked Fiddle Band)
Sam AmidonLily-O
I bumped into good friend and man of impeccable taste, Mr Leroy Lee, at the Townie. It was 1:30am and luckily I wrote down the recommendation of this album. “You’ll love the beats” said Leroy. Beats? On a Sam Amidon album? He’s never been scared of percussion, but that’s not a comment to expect for the rustic strumming and plucking I’d enjoyed on Sam A’s previous outings. It was drizzly on my walk home, and I took an extra long way just to hear more as the early morning mistiness surrounded me. It perfectly suited the crystal clear production and voice filled with humanity. The version of “Groundhog Variations” is perfect, so try starting there. And if you see Leroy Lee around, get him to recommend your next favourite album.

Sun Kil MoonDarren Hanlon
Sun Kil MoonBenji
Sun Kil Moon had been one of those bands that, due to their bulky catalog and my own laziness, I’d never delved into. I couldn’t find an obvious doorway. I’d even played a show with them in Manchester a few years back, but it was a bad fit. The crowd watched me blank-faced and I felt self-conscious about displaying any kind of sunniness so just put my head down and plowed through. Mark Kozelek didn’t see me play but he was cordial in the bandroom and let me pilfer one of the bananas off his rider.
Just a few months back a good friend, in whose music taste I trust, implored me to listen to Benji, it was much more than a recommendation. So I took it very seriously and was, surprising to me, drawn into it right away by the croaky conversational tone and the stripped bare emotional tales he was telling.
A lot of the subject matter leans towards family, and is often confronting and candid. Lots of death and regret and tenderness. “I Can’t Live without My Mothers Love” is a far cry from your average Rock and Roll subject matter – and reminds me of first hearing Jonathan Richman sing about his wife in “Closer” – and just because of that is more Rock and Roll than any sex or drug reference. But there’s plenty of sex to be found. “Dogs” details the history of the protagonist’s (Kozelek’s?) early carnal explorations in erotic, graphic detail.
The songs are long, but don’t feel it. Like floating along on a stream where you’re too busy taking in the details of the surroundings to keep an eye on the time. The usual long-ingrained formulas of much popular music don’t apply here. The narratives are forthright and metaphor-free and the sparse instrumentation reflects this; it is subtle but inventive.
I’ve been thinking that as you get older poetry, for the sake of itself, can start to feel superfluous held up against pure message, or just plain truth. I’d spent my 20s trying to think up clever wordplay when now they can seem like window dressing. It’s not to say Benji isn’t clever. There’s so many surprising and inventive rhymes, or off-rhymes; it’s as if he’s tailored them to not quite fit so they jump out. And there’s a lot of humor, I actually laughed out loud hearing the line about his Dad flirting with the girls at Panera Bread. How often does that happen listing to serious folk music?
And it would take a hard heart not to find at least one tear. Listen to the story of his Dad’s downtrodden friend “Jim Wise”.
Very rarely, but every now and then, discovering a new band can pull back a curtain on a new way to approach songwriting, and another piece of the eternal puzzle falls away. I felt like this when I first heard Benji, ideas for about three new songs popped into my head. I feel like I have new tools with which to work.
I wonder if Mark Kozelek had an epiphany one day and a new horizon opened up, where the shackles of his old systems dissolved. Cause to me, as far as the lyrics go, this path he’s on feels limitless. Judging by his recent crazy slinging match with War On Drugs I hope this freedom of expression isn’t eating him up. I’m gonna go backwards now through his catalog to look for clues.
So listening to Benji has been a positive experience for me. I’ve also recommended it to other friends and they haven’t had the same experience, so evidently it’s not for everyone. But I’ve written this review without having listened to it for a few weeks now. That’s how vivid it still is in my mind.

Interview: Tom West

Tom West
Image Courtesy of Tom West

We managed to catch up with Adelaide singer-songwriter Tom West at BIGSOUND this year as he was wrapping up his tour with Todd Sibbin supporting his new single “The Call”. West opened up about his solo project, his work with the band Traveller and Fortune and the Adelaide folk scene.

Gareth Hugh Evans: I really like the new-ish track “The Call”. How are you feeling about it now that it’s out in the world and you’re touring it?

Tom West: Pretty good man. I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I’m going back [to the studio] next week to hopefully wrap that project up. I think… [laughes]

GHE: Because it’s part of a larger album right?

TW: I’m not sure whether it will be an EP or an album. I wish someone would just tell me what to do.

GHE: Your press release says album so you might be held to that.

TW: [laughs] I’m happy with it. I really like the way it came out. I kind of feel like I need to put a bit of thought into the overall product. I need to give it a direction. It might be skewing into crazy land a little so I just want to take it all back and use [“The Call”] as a reference point.

GHE: Build a sound around that song?

TW: I think so. I really like it so I want to try and keep it all cohesive. It’s easy to get sidetracked.

GHE: And you’ve been touring “The Call” for the last month or so. How have you found this tour compared to others you’ve done?

TW: It’s longer. It’s good. Me and Toddy [Todd Sibbin] have been touring together.

GHE: It feels like you’ve done a lot more dates than you usually would have done.

TW: Usually I’ve just done a rapid fire, three shows over one weekend buzz around. It’s good man.

GHE: As you said you been touring with Todd Sibbin and his latest project The Arcadian Driftwood. You play with Todd in the band Traveller and Fortune. It seems like there’s a pretty close knit scene in Adelaide, at least between your circle of bands.

TW: It’s pretty close around the contemporary folk world. We know Kaurna Cronin pretty well. He plays drums in Traveller and Fortune. It’s good. It is close. I don’t know much about other scenes but it feels maybe a bit more friendly. I think we’re less competitive.

GHE: Do you think Adelaide having a fairly small music scene means there a necessity for artists to pitch in together as well. Like if you want to make gigs happen or if you want to make tours happen you need to do it together.

TW: I think that’s part of it. Plus there’s just less players kicking around. A good player gets snapped up – anyone who’s any good is playing in shitloads of bands. I think it’s the same everywhere though.

GHE: I thought maybe everyone playing multiple bands in Adelaide might be a nice way to be able to play several gigs a week. So you’re not over-saturating the scene with just one project.

TW: That’s something I need to improve as well. It’s pretty easy for us to continuously play at home, and the gigs pay pretty well as well so it’s tempting to do that.

GHE: I first came across you because of Traveller and Fortune, which was a duo and is now a band. How do you keep your solo project and Traveller and Fortune separate?

TW: It’s a good question and it’s a question I don’t really have an answer for. I think about why it’s even happened – it’s essentially the same thing. I play some of the Traveller stuff myself and we occasionally have played the solo stuff in the band. It just sort of happened really. How do I keep it separate? Um…

GHE: You don’t really keep them separate?

TW: Some of the stuff that’s easier to play solo stays solo and some of the stuff that lends itself to having people jamming along ends up on the other side of the fence.

GHE: Is the writing process different? Are you the sole songwriter for Traveller and Fortune as well?

TW: Yeah.

GHE: So when you’re writing a song are you thinking “this will sound good with a band” or “this is definitely a solo song”?

TW: No I don’t. I don’t do that. The way that it really went is if I have a new song we jammed it at rehearsal and if it went well it sort of fell into that box. And if no one really felt the vibe then I will leave it over to the side. If I’m focusing on one thing at the time, like if I’m about to do a solo recording or something, the energy goes towards that one.

GHE: I feel like it does give you some options live. Like if you want to do a tour it’s much cheaper to do that solo.

TW: That’s true. And that’s how I started as well so it does feel natural for me to do it. I enjoy it and you’re right, it’s way way easier.

GHE: What do you think the Adelaide scene is like at the moment, especially for the acoustic genres?

TW: I think it’s good man. I think it’s really good. I think everyone’s had to work fucking hard over the last five years or so and now it’s paying off. And I don’t think, at least not in my circle, anyone takes it for granted. Whereas I sometimes get the impression that some bands elsewhere are ahead of themselves or take it for granted. I don’t know.

GHE: There’s a real “home made” vibe to the Adelaide scene as well. People just have to put on their own gigs. It’s not like Melbourne that has 100 established venues with relevant nights.

TW: I think there’s a very strong nucleus of venues that have been around for as long as I’ve been playing that are super supportive. Which is one side that means that everyone has a starting point. But then on the other side in the last few years there’s been this real mushrooming of alternative gigs which has taken off big time at home. To a point where if there’s someone outside of Adelaide that we really like we could bring them to Adelaide a tee a whole weekend up and it would be worth their while to do that. I kind of think that that nucleus of venues kept things going in the shittier times which I think were like five to ten years ago. Now it’s really good.

GHE: Does having “Mad March” when all the festivals are on help the Adelaide scene at all? When I’ve been there during that time it always feels like festivals like WOMADelaide are filled with non-Adelaide artists.

TW: That’s fair to say. It can just get too difficult during that time so it’s almost not worth it.

GHE: Like if you’re not on the Fringe lineup or the WOMADelaide lineup there’s no where to play?

TW: A lot of us, myself included, think you’re better off not doing it. It’s just so busy and the promotion side of things is impossible. However what it does do is the general people who wouldn’t go to a show, they turn up. If it’s in the listings.

GHE: Is there much crossover between what you guys are doing in the contemporary, singer-songwriter type folk scene in Adelaide and the traditional folk club and folk festival circuit there?

TW: There is a little bit of cross over but not as much as you might think. They’re quite separate. And that’s something I really should work on personally because that’s a whole bunch of people that would probably really like my music. I need to tap into that. I know plenty of people that are well and truly on that side of things but most people are heavily on one side or the other.

GHE: The whole of Australia is like that. It’s like there’s two separate folk scenes. Although I think the barriers are breaking down and there’s definitely a crossover beginning to happen. I thought that might have started happening in Adelaide.

TW: Not exactly but it reminds me that it’s something I should do. And I feel like there’s other people out there who are smart enough to realise it’s something they should do

GHE: So after this current tour you’re going to finish off the album/EP you’ve been working on, however that takes place. And then once that wraps what’s the next focus?

TW: I want to spend some time putting the majority of my energy onto one thing. So I think I’ll try and keep onto [the solo work] for the next six months.

GHE: Awesome. I think that’s about everything today. Thanks so much!

TW: Thanks man!

Tom West will be performing at The Grace Emily in Adelaide on Thursday 25th September. Listen to his new single “The Call” below:

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 15th August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Vance Joy revealed another new video from his upcoming debut album, “First Time”. Details here

– Sydney jam night Bluegrass @ Yulli’s have announced their August edition which will feature a set from Oh Willy Dear. Details here

– Adelaide’s Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood are streaming their new album A Set Of Knives, A Pair Of Pens. Details here

– The John Butler Trio vented some rage with their new video “How You Sleep At Night”. Details here

Sweet Jean launched their new mini-album Greetings From Goodbye in Sydney last night and we’re streaming it online. Details here

Little Features have announced their August lineup including Mimi Gilbert, Lissa, Brendon Moon, Sarah Dahl and James Griffin. Details here

– Irish-American supergroup The Gloaming have added a Sydney show to their Australian visit this October. Details here

– Melbourne folk duo Flash Company have treated us to a couple of live videos. Details here

– Following his recent Australian tour Ben Howard has released his new single “End of the Affair”. Details here

Sam Amidon has announced details of his new album Lily-O as well as the first single “Walkin’ Boss”. Details here

Eliza and the Bear have just revealed their poppy new single “Light It Up”. Details here

– Sydney artist Arbori has released his folk-hip-hop track “Walls” – trust me, it works. Details here

– Sydney based folk band The Button Collective released their new video “On The Road”. Details here

Josh Pyke has announced details of his annual Busking for Change show, this year featuring Urthboy. Details here

– Canberra’s Sparrow-Folk have released their latest comedy folk video “Grumpy Little Manny”. Details here

Justin Townes Earle has announced a string of sideshows when he’s in the country for Out On The Weekend with Lindi Ortega and Marlon Williams in support. Details here

– The national tour from Sydney’s Spookyland kicked off this week. Details here

– Irish duo The Lost Brothers announced details of their new album New Songs Of Dawn and Dust. Details here

Daniel Lee Kendall has revealed the details of his upcoming album Daniel Lee Kendall Is Dead along with the new video for “Under a Spell”. Details here

Billy The Kid is a name to watch, and she’s recording her new album with Frank Turner. Details here

– Melbourne’s Sleepy Dreamers have announced a launch show in September for their upcoming single “Hunk”. Details here

Releases This Week

Sweet Jean
Greetings From GoodbyeSweet Jean
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Winterbourne

Winterbourne

Central Coast duo Winterbourne will be launching their new EP All But the Sun at a very special early-evening show at The Lair at The Metro in Sydney. The duo have just been announced as supports for Patrick James’ upcoming tour so this will be a great chnace to see them before they hit the road

Saturday 16th August – The Lair at The Metro, Sydney, NSW
Official Site

Gigs Next Week

Bob Dylan
Friday 15th August – Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA
Monday 18th August – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 19th August – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 20th August – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st August – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Bree De Rome
Friday 15th August – Rabbit and Cocoon, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 16th August – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW

Busby Marou
Friday 15th August – ANU Bar, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 16th August – Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale, NSW
Thursday 21st August – Collector Hotel, Parramatta, NSW
Friday 22nd August – The Cambridge, Newcastle, NSW

Darren Cross
Saturday 16th August – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 15th August – Happy Yess, Darwin, NT

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Dan Waters and The Weeping Willows
Thursday 21st August – Sookie Lounge, Belgrave, VIC
Friday 22nd August – Baha in Rye, Rye, VIC

Luke Morris
Saturday 16th August – The Brunswick Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Melody Pool and Marlon Williams
Friday 15th August – Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Saturday 16th August – Baby Black Café, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Sunday 17th August – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Nova and the Experience
Friday 15th August – The Penny Black, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th August – The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

Oliver Downes
Saturday 16th August – 107 Projects, Sydney, NSW

Taliska
Thursday 21st August — Mamma Vittoria, Fitzroy, VIC

Spookyland
Friday 15th August – JAM Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 16th August – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Friday 22nd August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Tobias Hengeveld
Friday 15th August – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Tracy McNeil
Friday 22nd August – Lefties Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Vincent Cross
Friday 15th August – Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Folk Club, Hornsby, NSW
Saturday 16th August – The Supper Club, Nundle, NSW
Tuesday 19th August – The Bug, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 21st August – No.5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 22nd August – The Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW

Winterbourne
Saturday 16th August – The Lair at The Metro, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Miss Misery” – Elliott Smith

I don’t think I need to explain why I’ve chosen today’s song. Just remember that depression and mental illness affect so many people and it always pays to ask, “Are You OK?”.

Stream the New Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood Album A Set Of Knives, A Pair Of Pens

Todd Sibbin
Image Courtesy of Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood

The brand new album from Adelaide’s Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood, A Set Of Knives, A Pair Of Pens, is not due for release until the 23rd August, but they’ve been very kind and are already streaming it online. Take a listen to A Set Of Knives, A Pair Of Pens below before going and ordering it on Bandcamp:

Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood will be touring with Tom West from the end of this month. Full dates are here:

Saturday 23rd August – Cranker, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th August – Evelyn, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 26th August – Record Crate, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th August – The Lass O Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 30th August – Aztec, Forster, NSW
Wednesday 3rd September – Coast Hotel, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thursday 4th September – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 5th September – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 6th September – Padre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 13th September – Secret Rooftop Party, Adelaide, SA

Timber and Steel Premiere: Tom West’s New Video “The Call”

Tom West
Image Courtesy of Tom West

Timber and Steel are very proud to be premiering the brand new clip from Adelaide singer-songwriter Tom West, “The Call”. The single has already been garnering a bunch of love on the web and the national airwaves and we think with its stunning new video it’s only West is only going to gain more fans.

Check out “The Call” below:

To celebrate the release of “The Call” Tom West is heading out on tour with Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood this August and September. The full list of dates are here:

Tuesday 12th August – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 23rd August – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th August – Evelyn, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 26th August – Record Crate, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th August – The Lass O Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 30th August – The Aztec, Forster, NSW
Wednesday 3rd September – Coast Hotel, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thursday 4th September – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 5th September – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 7th September – New Globe Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 13th September – Secret Party, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 25th September – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 18th July

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Sydney based singer-songwriter Darren Cross has released his new video “Slings and Arrows” and is heading out on tour this August. Details here

Nick Mulvey has announced a single Melbourne headline show when he’s in Australia for Splendour in the Grass. Details here

– The new video from Bear’s Den, “Elysium”, deals with a group of students in the four days surrounding a shooting at their university. Details here

– Sydney roots singer Steve Smyth has announced details of his new album Exits plus his new single “Written or Spoken”. Details here

Jeanette Wormald has revealed the lyric video for her new track “No Tumbleweed”. Details here

– Looks like another great lineup for Little Features this month with Jake Nauta, John Flanagan, J A Santosa and With Fox. Details here

– Check out the new video from Sydney folk-pop four piece Nova and the Experience, “Jennifer Lawrence”. Details here

Vance Joy has finally revealed details of his debut album including the first single “Mess is Mine”. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Patrick James is heading out on tour this August and September and has released his new video “Message”. Details here

– A brand new Americana festival, Out On The Weekend, was announced for Melbourne this October featuring Justin Townes Earle, Henry Wagons, Ryan Bingham, Robert Ellis, Lindi Ortega, Nikki Lane, The Delines, Jonny Fritz, Emma Swift, Chris Altmann, Raised By Eagles and The Morrisons. Details here

– My mission to get Australian’s loving Jack McNeill and Charlie Heys continues with their new video “A Hymn to the Wolves”. Details here

Timber and Steel’s favourite little bluegrass festival JamGrass in Melbourne has announced its first round of artists for 2014 including Mustered Courage, The Perch Creek Family Jugband, Sal Kimber & the Rollin’ Wheel, The Morrisons, The Seals, Tattletale Saints, One Up, Two Down, Annie Lou and The Stage Hogs

John Flanagan is heading to Sydney for shows at Menagerie and Little Features. Details here

Trampled By Turtles have released their new video “Wild Animals” from their album from the same name. Details here

Kasey Chambers released her rocking new video “Wheelbarrow”. Details here

– Sydney folk-rock band Castlecomer have announced tour dates for this September. Details here

Angus and Julia Stone have released their new video “A Heartbreak” and have announced more shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for their September tour. Details here

– Bi-state sibling duo The Achfields released the video for their track “Grabbed Me By The Heart”. Details here

– Sydney’s Spookyland release their new EP Rock and Roll Weakling today and are streaming the title track online. Details here

Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood have just released their new video “Man Made Hurricane” and have announced tour dates in August. Details here

– We premiered the new video from Sydney’s Yetis, “Dangerous”. Details here

Releases This Week

Rock and Roll Weakling
Rock And Roll WeaklingSpookyland
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Husky

Husky

Friday 18th July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 24th July – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Friday 25th July – Mojos, Fremantle, WA

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Imogen Clark, Darcy Fox and Paige Renee Court

Imogen Clark

It’s the final stretch of the A Tale of Three Cities tour from singer-songwriters Imogen Clark, Darcy Fox and Paige Renee Court with the girls making their way from Adelaide to Sydney. All reports are that the shows have been pretty special so far so make sure you catch the final dates for this tour!

Friday 18th July – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 19th July – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th July – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Ben Howard
Friday 25th July – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA

Busby Marou
Friday 25th July – Brolga Theatre & Convention Centre, Maryborough, QLD

Clare Bowditch with Adalita
Friday 18th July – The Corner Hotel, Richmond, VIC
Friday 25th July – The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Elbury
Saturday 19th July – Oscar’s Alehouse, Belgrave, VIC
Sunday 20th July – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Fanny Lumsden and the Thrillseekers with Ruby Boots
Friday 18th July – Eastern Riverina Arts, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Friday 18th July – Tooma Hall, Tooma, NSW
Saturday 19th July – Rand Hall, Rand, NSW
Sunday 20th July – Jugiong Hall, Jugiong, NSW
Friday 25th July – Weethalle Hall, Weethalle, NSW

Husky
Friday 18th July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 24th July – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Friday 25th July – Mojos, Fremantle, WA

Imogen Clark, Darcy Fox and Paige Renee Court
Friday 18th July – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 19th July – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th July – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW

Jeff Lang
Friday 18th July – Williamstown RSL, Williamstown, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 20th July – Beavs, Geelong, VIC

Jen Cloher
Friday 18th July – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 19th July – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th July – Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Friday 25th July – Skukum Lounge, Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Jep and Dep
Sunday 20th July – Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Dan Waters and The Weeping Willows
Friday 18th July – Holgate Brewery, Wooden, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Barwon Club, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 24th July – Music Man Megastore, Bendigo, VIC

Little Bastard
Sunday 20th July – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Mark Wilkinson
Saturday 19th July – Fly By Night, Perth, WA

Melody Pool and Marlon Williams
Friday 18th July – Leaps & Bounds Festival, Fitzroy Town Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Sunday 20th July – Major Tom’s, Kyneton, VIC
Thursday 24th July – Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS
Friday 25th July – Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston, TAS

Mikhael Paskalev
Friday 25th July – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC

Peasant Moon
Sunday 20th July – Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Rose Wintergreen
Sunday 20th July – The Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 23rd July – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

Splendour in the Grass
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th July – North Byron Parklands, NSW

Taliska
Thursday 21st August — Mamma Vittoria, Fitzroy, VIC

The Beards
Friday 18th July – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 20th July – Spirit Bar, Traralgon, VIC
Wednesday 23rd July – Bar on the Hill, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 24th July – Entrance Leagues, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 25th July – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW

The Man in Black feat. Tex Perkins
Friday 18th July – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 19th July – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th July – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

The String Contingent
Sunday 20th July – House Concert, Marrickville, NSW

The Yearlings
Friday 18th July – Smiths Alternative Book Shop, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 19th July – Candelo Arts Society, Candelo, NSW
Sunday 20th July – Paynesville Wine Bar. Paynesville, VIC
Wednesday 23rd July – Melbourne Folk Club at Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 25th July – Basement Discs In-store, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 25th July – The Main Bar, Ballarat, VIC

Tom Stephens
Friday 18th July – TBA, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 19th July – Taps, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 20th July – Room 60, Brisbane, QLD

Tracy McNeil
Friday 18th July – Baha Taco Joint, Rye, VIC
Saturday 19th July – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Cam Ye O’er Frae France” – Steeleye Span

I’ve been listening a lot to Bellowhead’s new album Revival and noticed that their instrumental “Jack Lintel’s Jig” (which is actually a hornpipe) is basically the same tune as “Cam Ye O’er Frae France”, which in turn sent me down a Youtube rabbit hole listening to different versions of the Jacobite song. This was probably my favourite, and there’s not much that beats Steeleye Span live (and Maddy Prior dancing!)

Watch the New Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood Video “Man Made Hurricane”

Todd Sibbin
Image Courtesy of Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood

The press release I got from Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood describes their new single “Man Made Hurricane” as “a two and a half minute, 150bpm, loop based, disco chorus folk song”. Which I kind of guess it is although I’m struggling to hear the folk song bit. “Man Made Hurricane” is the second single from Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood’s upcoming record A Set Of Knives, A Pair Of Pens – check out the video below:

Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood are heading out on tour this August and September – check out the full dates here:

Saturday 23rd August – Cranker, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th August – Evelyn, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 26th August – Record Crate, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th August – The Lass O Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 30th August – Aztec, Forster, NSW
Wednesday 3rd September – Coast Hotel, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thursday 4th September – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 5th September – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 6th September – Padre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 13th September – Secret Rooftop Party, Adelaide, SA

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 9th May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

The Felice Brothers have released their first single in three years, “Cherry Licorice”. Details here

– NSW based singer-songwriter Timothy James Bowen has a bunch of east coast dates this month as well as a brand new live video for the track “Breathe Easy”. Details here

– The new folk and Americana show on Double J, hosted by Emma Swift, kicked off this week. Details here

– South Australian singer-songwriter Sam Brittain is heading out on tour to launch his new album. Details here

– The one and only Stu Larsen will be releasing his debut album Vagabond in July. Details here

– Tonight the May edition of Sydney’s MoFo will take place at The Gaelic Club featuring Huckleberry Hastings and Brendon Moon. Details here

– We gave you the exclusive first look at the new Dan and Amy video “Pretend”. Details here

Splendour in the Grass sideshows have been announced for Ben Howard, First Aid Kit, Mikhael Paskalev and The Head and the Heart. Details here

Nick Mulvey has released another new video in the form of “Meet Me There”. Details here

Mark Wilkinson has added some major city dates to his current national tour this July. Details here

– Perth’s Ruby Boots has just released her new EP which you can stream online. Details here

The Lurkers have just released their new clip “Mining Man”. Details here

– The new Al Parkinson single “Like This” has been officially released. Details here

– Get a taster of Nick Payne’s (Dear Orphans) solo material with a live clip for “My Darling” featuring Katie Brianna. Details here

– Folktronica artist Caitlin Park has released her new gender-bending video “Lemonade”. Details here

Busby Marou have released their new video for “My Second Mistake” and announced a tour this July and August. Details here

– Adeladie’s Todd Sibbin has returned with his new band Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood sharing a new clip and tour dates. Details here

– Alt-country duo Jep and Dep have released their brand new video “Babe Come Down”. Details here

– Next weekend the Sydney Blues and Roots Festival is holding an Autumn edition in Sydney’s west. Details here

Blog

On Sunday Timber and Steel celebrated its forth birthday. Check out our annual editorial from Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans here

Releases This Week

Little Bastard
Little BastardLittle Bastard
iTunes

Luka Bloom
Head and HeartLuka Bloom
iTunes

First Mind
First MindNick Mulvey
iTunes

Atlas
ATLASOwls of the Swamp
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Presents

Scott Matthew

Scott Matthew

Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Timothy James Bowen

TJB

We’ve been fans of singer-songwriter Timothy James Bowen for a while now, even though he hasn’t featured a lot on the blog. If you’re in NSW you should check out one of these shows to see just why we think he’s something special

Sunday 11th May – House concert, Bulli, NSW
Friday 16th May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Boy & Bear
Friday 9th May – Regent Cinema, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 10th May – Deakin’s Costa Hall, Geelong, VIC
Sunday 11th May – Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – Lismore Workers Club, Lismore, NSW
Thursday 15th May – C.ex Club, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Friday 16th May – Panthers, Port Macquarie, NSW

Claude Hay
Thursday 15th May – Venue TBC, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th May – O’Neill’s Pub, Dickson, ACT

Daniel Champagne
Friday 9th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 10th May – Tattersalls Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 15th May – Lizottes, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 16th May – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW

Dustin Tebbutt
Friday 16th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Ella Hooper
Friday 9th May – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 15th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 16th May – Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD

Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers w/ Katie Brianna and Emma Beau
Thursday 15th May – Vic on the Park, Sydney, NSW

Hayden Calnin w/ Eliza Hull
Friday 9th May – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney, NSW

Jep and Dep w/ The Weeping Willows
Saturday 10th May – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Kim Churchill
Thursday 15th May – The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 16th May – Electric Playground, Brisbane, QLD

Little Wise
Sunday 11th May – Kingston City Arts Festival, VIC

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 9th May – Glebe Cafe Church, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th May – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 16th May – Brothers Leagues Club, Cairns, QLD

Melbourne Folk Club w/ Mick Thomas, Suzannah Espie, Marlon Williams
Wednesday 14th May – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

MoFo feat. Huckleberry Hastings, Brendon Moon
Friday 9th May – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Owen Campbell
Friday 9th May — Mudgee Brewing Company, Mudgee, NSW
Saturday 10th May — TAB Garden Hotel, Dubbo, NSW
Sunday 11th May — Towradgi Beach Hotel, NSW
Thursday 15th May — The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Friday 16th May — Goondiwindi River Jam, Goondiwindi, QLD

Paul Greene and the Other Colours
Friday 9th May – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th May – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW

Sam Brittain
Friday 9th May – Revolver, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th May – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Scott Matthew
Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

Sydney Blues and Roots Festival Autumn Edition
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th May – Windsor, NSW

The Beards
Friday 9th May – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith, NSW
Saturday 10th May – Collector Tavern, Parramatta, NSW

The Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 9th May – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 10th May – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 11th May – Lizottes, Dee Why, NSW
Monday 12th May – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

The Timbers
Friday 9th May – Albion Hotel, Albury, NSW
Saturday 10th May – Penny Black, Melbourne, VIC

Timothy James Bowen
Sunday 11th May – House concert, Bulli, NSW
Friday 16th May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Todd Sibbin and the Arcadian Driftwood
Saturday 10th May – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Vance Joy
Friday 16th May – The Metro, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Youth” – Daughter

Daughter have become a favourite on the indie scene worldwide but for us our love affair began with the band’s early, folky single “Youth”

Watch the New Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood Video “Blame it on the Aeroplanes”

Todd Sibbin
Image Courtesy of Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood

We’ve been a big fan of Adelaide singer Todd Sibbin through all his incarnations and are pretty excited about his new project, Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood, and the music they’re starting to produce. For the project Sibbin has been joined by Joel Crannitch (Leader Cheetah), Kiah Gossner (Bearded Gypsy Band) and Ryan Oliver (Olivers Army) adding a depth to his trademark contemporary folk songs.

Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood have been working on their new LP A Set Of Knives, A Pair Of Pens which is due for release mid-2014. The first single and video from the album is “Blame it on the Aeroplanes” – check it out here:

Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood have a couple of shows over the coming months to launch the new single. The full dates are as follows:

Saturday 10th May – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 23rd May – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th June – Jade Monkey, Adelaide, SA

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