Category Archives: Australian Music

A beautiful evening

MUSIC REVIEW

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Need help with words?

 

Josh, one of our new music reviewer’s arrived to a full house at the Tote in Collingwood on the weekend, for the launch of  Ferla’s  new album Guilt Pop / Stay Posi.

‘It was packed, nearly overflowing, an Indie rock sound, a bit electronic; in the genre of Sticky Fingers. The crowd was  ‘very alive’ and tuned in; mostly hipsters. ‘

FERLA  hit the high notes easily whist being supported by Ocean Party, and dewy garage Girlatones.  Loose Tooth DJs spun the tunes for the night. The synthesiser player engaged the audience with a complex construct of layered chords,  one on a keyboard and synth on the other.

Ferla engaged with the audience and explained the development of the lyrics with personal insights.

 “Imagine your life as if you wanted nothing at all.”

It was a great evening, showcasing a talent that has arrived after a many performances, a terrific line-up and an evening that engaged the respect of the audience.

“There was a great vibe.” Josh

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2 Bob Weekend

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Ormond Rd Elwood Grocer

On a mild Winter weekend, Melbourne’s Music elite came together to honour the songs of Bob Dylan before a full house at the Memo in St Kilda. Friday night was dedicated to acoustic Bob and on Saturday night, it was electric Bob.

The ‘All-Star’ back up band,  consisting of  Benny Franz, Stephen Hadley, Ben Wiesner , and Shane O’Mara , melted seamlessly into each other, but it was guitar legend O’Mara that stole the night with his stella performance. It was a group of musicians fit for the honoured legend himself.

Who is Bob Dylan? Songwriter, Poet or Prophet; Jew or Christian? His lyrics resonated with the crowd that held resolute with dignified appreciation of the words and the artists. Loud talkers were quickly hushed.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Each vocalist made his songs their own and each captivated the audience. Liz Stringer was haunting, almost gothic as her lone figure shone in the darkness etching the words and reaching into the void. Song-bird Lisa Miller was mesmerizing and thrust the show forward,  her talent is palpable. Chris Wilson’s scratchy soul voice penetrated into the mind of the listener, like a dark cry and ‘Raised by Eagles’ duo Luke and Nick raised the tempo with a bit of  rockabilly. All of the vocalists on the night where exceptional.

A memorable evening.

Audience response.

“Shane O’Mara is a Melbourne music legend and of Liz Stringer, you need to get her last two albums.”

 

 

Review by April Forward

 

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Writer for Hire

 

 

Give up your Health

At the Launch of Teeth & Tongue’s new Album ‘Give up your Health’.

‘Lead singer Jess Cornelius, an urban soul vocalist in the genre of Patti Smith, has a smooth rich voice that rides through intriguing electronic arrangements.’ MP

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‘Give Up on Your Health’ had its genesis in one rogue song. ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ that was originally recorded as an experimental track with a driving, arpeggiated synth sound, drawing on ’70s electronica. The label liked it so much they wanted a full album to go with it. So on the heels of a breakup, Cornelius retired to remote Iceland on a three-month Nes Artist Residency, which produced the heartbreaking ‘Small Towns’.

“We’ve got unavoidable contact. There’s always email and phone. I went as far away as I thought I could. You’re dying in the heat, I’m dying in the cold” – Small Towns

The rest of the album was written in Melbourne, where Cornelius brought the material to the band: guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey.

“I wanted to make an energetic dance-pop record, but with substance,the kind you’d put on when you’re driving down the highway, forgetting all the stressful stuff.” Cornelius

Alannah Woods our music reporter went to Remote Studios to review the album and interviewed the lead singer Jess Cornelius.

Your songs are quite different from each other, where do you get your inspiration? AW

“It’s usually stuff that’s going on ..a process of working out why I am feeling things”

Do you write the music? AW

“Sometimes;  I’ll bring a song to the band, just the lyrics, maybe a guitar bar, the structure and the melody, then sometimes the guys will write their own arrangements or I’ll write parts for them .. it’s a mixture. They definitely write, we just work it out.”

Who inspires you musically? AW 

“It changes so much … Lou Reed has always been a big one, songwriters like Nina Simone..”

Tell us about your albums? AW

“I’ve done 4 Albums, the first was just me but I got other people to play on it.For this one the four of us, not the keyboard player, have been together for a few years, we did the 3rd album together..it’s been a bit like adding people along the way”

So it was your original idea?

“Yeah I started out as a soloist.”

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The Verdict

‘What I love is that she takes every part of her life and turns it into a song, it doesn’t necessarily have to be depressing, there’s a genuine depth. Jess has a great sound that could be compared to jazz, very soulful ..” Alannah Woods

Tamworth Star

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Australia is a large country and each year Tamworth becomes the heartbeat of the Country Music scene. 2016 ARIA winner, Sara Storer took the Female Artist of the Year award and her composistion ‘Amazing Night’ won the ‘Best Bush Ballad’ honor at the festival.

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“Sara has a unique way of seeing and expressing her observations of love and life in the bush. So she is a songwriter that will be remembered beyond her lifetime.”

John Williamson

This is quite an acclaim, coming from one of Australia’s Country Music Giants.

Storer’s craft is spun from her personal experiences and local insights. She has a 4am routine to keep ahead of the busy demands of her large family. Her local accent, the unique twang of our region is apparent in her work as she sings about the Australian life.

‘I could sit here all night, fall asleep in this chair.The fire beside me keeps the Dingos away.And its sure nice to be with you around this burning red gum, that’s what a campfire does, it takes my worries away’ (Lyrics from Amazing Night)

At the heart of every urban dweller is the distinct belief that ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is the countries informal National Anthem and this is a paradox of the Nations identity. There is a little bit of ‘country’ in all of us.

Storer is currently on tour promoting her new album Silos.

 

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Milk! Records, Valentines Release.

LISTEN     http://milkrecordsprojects.bandcamp.com/album/a-pair-of-pears-with-shadows-a-milk-records-compilation

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‘The new album release, Good for You, is a mix of urban blues and raw rock. A great summer collection.’ MP

The crew, including Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher, Fraser A. Gorman, Ouch My Face, East Brunswick All Girls Choir and The Finks, perform tracks from the Good For You compilation this March.

Milk!  is an independent label where you can buy direct from the artist. Good For You is available digitally. The record will be released on vinyl this Valentines Day, Sunday 14 February.

TRACKLISTING
1. Courtney Barnett – Three Packs A Day

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2. The Finks – Moonlighting
3. Jen Cloher – Famously Monogamous
4. Fraser A Gorman – Skyscraper Skyline Blues
5. East Brunswick All Girls Choir – Red Wine Lipstick
6. Ouch My Face – Nice Haircut

Pre-order is available now for limited edition signed 12″ vinyl direct from Milk! Records.

In addition, the Milk! Records crew have sold out their Melbourne show on Saturday 5 March and have just announced a second show on Sunday 6 March.

SATURDAY 5 MARCH – SOLD OUT
Howler, Melbourne

SUNDAY 6 MARCH – JUST ANNOUNCED
Howler, Melbourne

tickets from  www.milkrecords.com.au

 

 

Jake Webb’s incredible vocal range

“A great vibe from everyone present.”

Melbourne Press sent musically (classical) trained, Alannah Woods to review Methyl Ethel at their sold out, album launch of OH INHUMAN SPECTACLE, at Shebeen. Woods will cringe and give poor ratings to bad tones and flat notes, in this instance she was enthralled.

‘The band made everyone feel so at ease, they chatted to the crowd and made jokes about sleeping on couches and befriending fans. They connected with their audience and made them part of the show, which kept it personal.

Lead singer, Jake Webb’s unique voice, has a great high register, that not many men can boast of. The tone was so clear and strong, I could have listened to it all night!

Each song varied, it was great to hear something new being played, rather than the same style over and over again, which tends to happen with some bands. Each song had its own style and mood.’

Banoffee; Melbourne’s ‘IT’ Girl


Singer, songwriter Martha Brown alias Banoffee, has a lot going on. Last years debut self-titled EP made it certain that 2014 was back to back, with national and international tours, including Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass, New York’s CMJ and Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain Festival. Currently, she is taking a break in Paris before she returns home for her October tour and the launch of a fashion line.

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It’s an exciting  and busy time for our local talent. Melbourne Press spoke to her, she was effervescent and warm, with an intelligent direction.

“ I wanted to make music that satisfied me.” B

She has incorporated R & B, Electronic and Country Music into her work.

“I love the story telling of country music , I wanted to combine a couple of genres together to express myself and that is how Banoffee came about.”B

Ninja was the first song that she released which explores the turbulence of the love hate relationship we have with ourselves and with others.

Ninja
Ninja

“I don’t want to do this pop thing where I pretend that I’m happy and do all these things that I’m not. So I write about something that is personal. Ninja is quite metaphoric.Some of it is about a relationship; but its mostly about, our relationships, as humans, with ourselves. How we beat ourselves up and can be our own worst enemy. It’s to help and try to overcome the dark feelings and dark times and turn that inner critic around….Lets stand up for ourselves” B

Her current releases explore and experiment with vocal techniques.

“I like to play around with freezing and make more dynamic sounds with vocals, I have a lot of fun using the pedals on stage and in recording.”B

‘Banoffee’s interests in creativity and the arts has made her an increasingly sought after style figure’

Banoffee is releasing a 10 piece clothing range in November under Melbourne Fashion lable, Pageant (Winners of 2015 Tiffany & Co Award). It’s a summer range inspired by all the tracks on the CD.

“I like to have fun with my style, going out is fancy dress for me. The main thing with fashion, for me, is to have fun and be comfortable.”B

Many of her film clips and photo shoots feature her neighbourhood in Clifton Hill. She is nurtured by her personal surroundings and influential sister, Hazel. The internet has favoured her.

“It a medium (internet) you have no control over, It’s the luck of the draw. When I first released Ninja, I was with a small record label but they worked very hard for their artists.They did a really good job at spreading my music through places like Soundcloud.”B

This is her time to shine but she’s no ‘flash in the pan’, pop princess. Banoffee has a tenacity and is a genuine artist

Songs & Legends

27 Club

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Five minutes into the 27 Club and pure pleasure has melted the cold and tired, of the winter night. Zack Anthony Curran, Keane Fletcher and Andrew Kroenert are a trio of unearthly talent. Each rising star is gifted with a voice that resonates with the complexities unique to Joplin, Winehouse, Cobain, Hendrix and Morrison. Even ‘Jimi’ plays a mean guitar.

IMG_3802The lighting is low to blur the division of space and time. Music greats are resurrected for a final concert at the Butterfly Club. The full audience cheer through the dark atmosphere and there is a vitality within the gloom of deaths dreary fate.

We are taken on a tour into the past through layers of visual and sound texture. The vocal range is staggering and those privileged to see the show were treated to a fully packed hour of entertainment. Although the songs showcased their voices, it seemed that there was still ‘more in the tank’.

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Mackenzie Spencer & Andrew Strano

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“I’m a story junkie, I think it’s the way that we communicate our experience as humans.”

Before heading to London, Australian songwriters  Strano and  McKenzie Spencer showcased their concert at Chapel off Chapel with a line up of singers including, Fem Belling (West End) , Mike McLeish (Keating) and backing musicians.

Next stop is The Edinburgh Fringe to perform and then onto clown school at École de Gaulier in Paris. As a writer and lyricist  Andrew Strano did a cabaret double act for a few years, parodying existing musical theatre numbers.

“He churned them out about once a week for a year for a live TV spot. That his boot camp”.

Strano enjoys the feed back of a team. His contemporary style of slapping down the lyrics with artistic haste and intuition before polishing it, into a tight, clear honest work allows him to play writer and editor.IMG_3832

“People only get to hear a lyrics once. It’s not like poetry, where you can take another sip of your cognac and swill the words around in your mouth as you read and re-read them. They have to be understood on the first listen.”

The audience chuckle and giggle, the line up and presentation would appear formal and professional, if the sound was turned off one would imagine the audience to be listening to the classics. In truth, it’s a tale about a cheap ticket on Tiger Airlines that comes with unlimited complications, all of them hysterical and relatable.

‘There is no need to join the mile high club because they will f### you right here, on the ground’ (sung beautifully)

“My favourite bit of writing is that initial rush after having the idea where you beat out the song, knowing where it starts and where you want to finish, placing the building blocks. Where you put the puzzle in place – plotting all of the boxes running down and across. After that, you start building up the clues for your crossword puzzle – brainstorming. Every single idea should go down on paper free and easy with no desire for perfection.IMG_3827

The hard bit comes after that. The nitty-gritty of actually fitting the clues you brainstormed into the structure you created

I go nuts for the structure! I love it!”

The show is a tasty serve of life told with heart and humour, very Monty Python,

‘Always look on the bright side of Life’.

Legends

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‘Legends is a rolling comedy medley, juxtaposing traditional themes and stories with modern day realities, highlighting the irony that is human behaviour and beliefs.It was an eclectic performance that perfectly suited its venue with a smooth transition from skit to skit, character to character”

Jess Terry

‘Lets find 50 reasons to stay with your lover.

Do you support each other? Laugh at eachothers jokes? Create children? Enjoy a gourmet breakfast? (very Melbourne) Borrow a kidney? Co-write books?

Not enough you need 50!’

The show is a wacky look and our beliefs and myths in everyday life through playful comic interactions that are clever and insightful.

An interview with the creator Harley H Hefford

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“Earlier this year, a few different people expressed interest to me about making a sketch show and I realized that I knew enough talented people to put a show together. I called my friend Carly Milroy, with whom I’ve done several comedy shows and know I will have a great time making theatre with. Carly and I called an official meeting of comedians! It was quite a serious meeting.

From there, we ended up capturing the interest of Chris, Tom and Elliot three other enthusiastic comic minds. From the beginning, one of the exciting things about this show is that all five of us bring quite a different perspective and skill set to the table.

We began by working out what united us, and that was probably a desire to create sketches which put character first .The audience forms a relationship with the characters and learns about their motivation and worldview, rather than them just being vessels for a premise or punchline.

On the other hand, it’s been a nice compromise between some of us with more avant-garde ideals and some with more presentational comic backgrounds. I sincerely feel that we’ve ended up with the best of both worlds, the intrigue of the former and the presence of the latter.The theme is myths and legends, yet the show has a contemporary flavour and touches upon the current climate of the world.

Bob Harrow talks about Immigration Union

Bob Harrow interview.

“Brent was in town with Matt Hollywood from The Brian Jonestown Massacre, they were here for the release of a movie called DiG. I guess whoever was showing them around, took them to The Cherry Bar. Earlier that day I was flicking through a Rolling Stone and saw a picture of The Dandys (Waholes) and in the pic Brent was wearing a Dylan t-shirt. That night I went to Cherry, when I arrived my mates were like ‘check it, that’s the drummer from the Dandies.’ So I went over and asked him if he was into Dylan.

Brent and I started Immigration Union however weeks after that Gamma (Peter) joined the band on keys and third harmony. The three of us have been in from the start. We were lucky we found Gamma, he is so freakin good and thoughtful about what he plays, he never over plays, his texture is invaluable.

The first solid line up of Union came when we found Dave Mudie, Courtney Barnett and Bones Sloan. I’d been friends with Dave for years and always thought it would be cool to play with him, he is a sick and tight a hell of a drummer. Same deal with Bones, he was actually the first person I called when I got back from the States.

Courtney joined a little after these guys on slide guitar. A few of my mates worked with her at a bar called Blue Tile Lounge, that’s how we met. We became friends and then Brent was like ‘can Court play slide!?’ She never really had at the time I don’t think but she learnt really quickly. She also sang with us too. After Court blew up, we needed to find a new bass player and drummer because Dave and Bones were off playing with her.

I asked Ben Street who I’d known since he was a kid to play bass. He can pretty much play every instrument and he is a trippy dude, exactly the sort of guy we wanted in Union.

I had done a few solo gigs with Paddy McGrath Lester on drums and became mates with him quickly, I really loved his playing so he was an obvious choice to ask to join the band. Ben and Paddy’s first shows with Union were opening up for Black Rebel.

We are really lucky having them in the band, they have helped take our live shows to a whole new level.”

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 7.13.10 AMWho leads most of the musical direction when you jam and how is the texture added? MP

“Well for a long time it use to be that either Brent or I would have a new song / idea that we would bring to rehearsal and then we would all jam on the tune together until we had a the texture and groove that felt right. This still is the case, however more and more now at rehearsal Ben or Paddy for example will take of playing something out of thin air and then we all fall in and figure out our parts. I record all our rehearsals on my phone, it’s so cool going home after rehearsal and listening back to these ‘jams’ and realising that ‘wholly shit, yes, this is a freakin song.’

We want to play bigger shows and festivals, release more albums and just keep moving. We are currently at the beginning of recording album number 3 and this time we have set up our own studio and we are tracking it ourselves. We are all pretty excited at the prospect of making the album ourselves.”

Which song/songs resonate most deeply with the band? MP

“If you mean our songs, I’m really digging the live outro of ‘I Can’t Return‘ the sounds coming out of Brent’s amp are sick. The groove feels like Meddle by Pink Floyd. If you mean like what songs do we dig, I’m really digging on the whole of Blonde on Blonde at the moment.”

What has been the greatest trial? MP

“Having to find a new bass player and drummer after Bones and Dave. We lucked out big time with Ben and Paddy.”

Who are your major influences? MP

“Jesus, umm, Sun God Replica are sick. Dylan and Neil Young”.

What’s happening at ACMI? MP

“It’s for the Bowie exhibition. Friday nights at ACMI they have live bands and DJs playing for free but you’ll still have to book if you want to see the actual exhibition. It’s going be fun. Brent the lucky bastard actually did a whole tour with the physical David Bowie, opening up for him with the Dandies.”

 What is your tour plan? MP

“Up and down the east coast, over to Adelaide and down to Hobart. I’ve actually never been to Tasmania. We might be announcing some extra dates soon too. I can’t wait for this (August) tour.”

Photographs by Tony Proudfoot

New Album, 'Anyway'
New Album, ‘Anyway’

Chatting with the boys

After taking the prerequisite drink from the bar, we sit down to chat to two of the boys from Methyl Ethel, Chris Wright (drums) and Tom Stuart (bass). We are at the Newmarket Studios where they will be playing and filming the latest album ‘Oh Inhuman Spectacle’, that was released in January.

Tom & Jake
Tom & Jake

They are a Perth based band and have a hectic schedule flying constantly between the East and West states for gigs and promotions. Wright and Stuart are self-taught musicians and shy away from any pretensions, they claim that the lead singer Jake Webb is the major creative force. Webb created the compositions and image of the band, allowing the drummer and base player to furnish his vision with their interpretation. Webb has experimented with various line-ups but the strong chemistry of the current trio blend, to create a muted passion that seeps into the music.

We crowd into the studio and enter into the intimate world of Jake. The modesty of Wright and Stuart regarding they’re musical sophistication has been understated. The drums pulse rhythmically and no one can resist the compulsion to move with the music. As one sensual tune blends seamlessly into the next our attention drifts onto the discrete and unassuming persona of Webb. His songs drift through our layers and one wonders how deep the artist will take us. There is a penetrating authenticity to this work.

Review by A Forward

 

New Albums from the new Australian Cream

METHYL ETHEL

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Oh Inhuman Spectacle

Jake Webb established Methyl Ethel in 2013 as an outlet for his adventures in reverb soaked home recording. Built from the ground up in various bedrooms, friends’ studios and quiet caverns, the exceptional EP diptych Guts and Teeth were released in quick succession. The intricate tapestries of melody, dripping with lush eccentricity, ascended through the ether and airwaves with Brooklyn Vegan, Noisey, Indie Shuffle, Happy, FBi Radio, RRR and RTRFM amongst others all taking note. This year sees the band explore and hone their sound with their debut LP Oh Inhuman Spectacle.

SASKWATCH

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 Sorry I Let It Come Between Us

‘Starting as buskers outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne’

Shifting and sliding between guitar heavy pop, bluesy melancholy and soulful ballads, the new album offers an emotionally assertive voice matched equally in musical intricacies. The album itself was recorded over a month long period at Mt Slippery  an old silversmith warehouse, come recording studio on the outskirts of Philadelphia, America. It’s the studio of Dr Dog’s Scott McMicken and Nathan Sabatino, who together produced the album. Saskwatch have long been big fans of Dr Dog, both musically and in their work as producers, and relished at the chance to head overseas and work alongside them. The result is a raw, solemn and sparse collection of genre-jumping songs.

IMMIGRANT UNION

Anyway

ANYWAYImmigrant Union’s Anyway is a shift from previous recordings, moving away from the country end of the sound spectrum, they have approached their second album with a desire to produce a more layered, trippier sound. To achieve this elusive warmth, the band went to Brent’s hometown in Portland, Oregon and then to the bayside village of Altona.IMG_3189

Sound Engineer. Mat Robbins worked to create the magic of translation from live to album.

 Anyway had it US release in September 2014 through Musebox records and was followed up by an extensive 18-date North American tour.The album was released in Australia in late May this year.