Review by John Snelson
Do you watch much reality TV ?
Well, I don’t, so I missed Kate DeAraugo, yea, a real name, who evidently was the third winner of Australian Idol in 2005. Gosh that was 10 years ago !
She signed to Sony BMG and released a debut single, “Maybe Tonight“, in November 2005.
There might have been a few miles of bumpy boulevarde since then.
Kate’s latest single is titled romantically “Shut Your Mouth“, a phrase that I for one certainly was not allowed to use at home, but that was before pizzas replaced beans on toast. Perhaps it’s not all about the spoken word – maybe it’s more to do with cake cramming, so let’s not jump to conclusion about the meaning or the title.
As a side point of interest, those who follow the inches and pounds, sorry centimetres and kilograms, may like to know that our Kate has recently shed half her body weight. Whoo-hoo. I look at myself and am conscious that the widest part of my body used to be the narrowest, such is a life of mulberry muffins and chips. I used to be able to touch my toes and now I can’t even see them.
Talking of fodder, Kate has been working in breakfast radio in Coffs Harbour, and now makes a welcome return to national radio Monday April 27th with her loud new single.
‘Shut Your Mouth‘ could be about relationships or even a celebration about leaving a period that contained some of the darkest dregs of her life to date, it’s possibly autobiographical, about Kate picking up the crumbs after the fragile fame of winning a TV show of vacuous value.
Looking back and reflecting on the new song, Kate says “There was a bit of anger and resentment in the mood, but above all, it’s about empowerment”. I wonder whether she now sees the tabloid trifle of media attention in a different light to that of 10 years ago.
Whether its about relationships or obesity or idle idolatry I guess it’s a song for Kate, from Kate, by Kate.
Time to get on with what life has to offer in good spirit. It’s a singalong. It’s happy. It’s thankful. It’s on the money, food for thought. It’s got some hooky riffs and chorus-like tasty titbits – yup.
I think it’s valuable too in that Kate clearly has left her personal mark all over the music not only in the lyrics but also in the life and yes, big attitude and some firebranding she brings to the song
The iTunes release is set for 1st May 2015 but you can Check out the new video here.
Album Review by Rufus Onfire
Jim James and his troubadours from Louisville Kentucky are back with their 7th album and first in 4 years, and has this new release continued to build on the good work gained critically and commercially over the past decade.
Sticking with the brains trust of co-producers James and Tucker Martine (also worked with the likes of The Decemberists & Modest Mouse on 2015 among many others) the band’s alt country Americana sound of yore remains but also gets some more droplets of psychedelia and indie pop spliced in as well on the 10 tracks offered up here (there’s another slab already in the can for 2016 from these sessions as well too).
Opener “Believe (Nobody Knows)” sticks to the old template and builds nicely for the perfect start, Americana in spades before for mine the standout track “Compound Fracture” with its stylish keys groove, deft guitar touches and perfect harmonies has single written all over it and sees you liking what you hear.
“Like A River” and the title track of sorts “In It’s Infancy (The Waterfall)” wouldn’t be out of place on a Neil Young or in parts a Tame Impala record (given the early signs of the Perth’s combos newie), the alt country and psych sounds perhaps influenced by some of this album being laid down in LA instead of local climes but hey whatever gets the creative process humming then why not savour it.
There’s the easy feeling southern balladry of “Get The Point”, the long one that when played live will take on a life of its own “Spring (Among The Living), back to the old template for the lead single off the album “Big Decisions” before the craft of a band who’ve punched out a decade and a half on record stretch their legs, spread their wings and indulge their musical chops superbly to bring things to a close on “Tropics (Erase Traces)” and “Only Memories Remain” each track gliding along and drawing from each and every influence across this album.
For fans of My Morning Jacket, they will be more than comfortable with to borrow from one Homer J Simpson “”the many meats of their cultural stew” and already at the buffet asking for a slice of this latest offering. For those still not sold on the musical stew front and hanging back, step forward and try a tasty morsel of this excellent release that grows with each listen.
You never know folks, you may be going back for more in quick time!
Story and Photos by Craig Wilson
We dropped into Lizotte’s Newcastle last Saturday night, to check out Pearl ‘The Janis Joplin Story’. Now I’ll be up front here and say I’ve never been a fan of tribute type shows and wasn’t expecting much more than a bit of light entertainment with an artist on stage trying to imitate the great Janis Joplin.
This show is a well-produced rockumentary, telling Janis’s story beautifully through her music and others that touched her life, including some well-placed recordings of Janis’s words and thoughts.
All the Joplin classics were played including the likes of ‘Cry Baby’, ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and ‘Move Over’ to name a few.
A real highlight was guitarist Jeremy Edwards’ sensational cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel’, penned, about his affair with Joplin in the early Seventies.
Pearl features the superb voice of Liza Ohlback on vocals, Jeremy Edwards (guitar/vocals) who is also the musical producer, Rick Melick (keys/vocals) and Greg Ohlback (drums).
We also had the pleasure of meeting Pearl’s writer and producer ChrisKeeble on the night whose passion and love for the show is infectious to say the least. The Show is musically excellent, well produced and informative, all up a fantastic night of live entertainment.
‘Pearl’ is showing at The Vanguard (Newtown) this F riday, 22 nd of May, phone 02 9557 9409 for bookings.
Go to www.pearljanisjoplin.com.au for further shows
Review by Rufus Onfire
2015, and it’s Weller time once more.
The Modfather looks to take in as much as he can influence as he heads towards 4 decades on record for which close to a quarter century has been in solo mode.
And in keeping with this theme while some old faces like long time axeman Steve Cradock are here in parts a new knob twiddler has been brought in as well, Jan Stan Kybert who mixed Sonik replaces long time producer Simon Dine here as Weller looks to try something different right down to the final cut.
Opener “White Sky” was unleashed a few months back and aside from the contribution of Messrs Crofts and Gordelier from Northampton indie dudes The Moons (aka Andy and Ben) it’s the Amorphous Androgynous lads sprinkling their programing smarts and instrumentation that lets you know Weller ain’t here for a holiday, he means business again on the different sound thing.
The title track and second single has a romping piano underpinning it and overlaid with Crofts moog and mellotron nicely, yep grab an instrument and see what it can add for polish (Crofts also a member of Wellers live combo).
But it ain’t all ripples and rainbows here as the Weller of old does get a look in, with the balladry of “Going My Way” and rocking fuzz of “Long Time” tailor made for an instant step up to the live set and despite being from either end of the tempo scale they flow together surprisingly well.
“Pick It Up” effortlessly glides along, “I’m Where I’m Should Be” speaks of a man comfortable in his skin despite the advancing years, while the closing trio of “Phoenix” “In The Car” and “These City Streets” seem to take a bit from each of Weller’s current and former performing guises (Jam, Style and Solo) and offer up a tasty dish that has the ears roaming around to keep up but enjoying the twists and turns along the way.
Heading towards his 57th birthday, Paul Weller remains a man who loves the craft of music and what a touch of exploration can bring to the experience. It may take a few listens but like a good aperitif of choice by letting it breathe and soundtrack the moment it shows there is still plenty of creative juice left in the Modfather for a while yet.
Story by Mary MacKenzie :: Photo by Anthony Moulay
Do you want to escape the winter blues?
Put your festival boots on and book yourself in now for the inaugural Bello Winter Music Festival on the first weekend of the NSW school holidays.
The team who bring you the wonderfully unique Mullumbimby Music Festival have organised a new event in the stunning town of Bellingen, nestled in the Bellinger Valley. Here an enclave of creative types & alternative lifestylers (population of just over 3000) are opening their community to the influx of festival goers in the town that has had a successful Jazz & Blues Festival as well as a Global Festival both running for some years. Bello exudes rural charm, architectural heritage & a gourmet foodie scene (must not forget to mention the great shopping as well!)
Following a similar format to Mullum its summer sister event, festival organiser Glenn Wright has engaged a local team to bring this event to fruition. It’s a 4-day event with the opening night showcasing a selection of the acts on offer over the festival. True to its commitment to young artists the festival also offers a youth mentorship award in 4 categories (applications for under 19s closing 1st June) that get to work with some of the artists performing at the festival.
The festival promises a great variety of music delivered in existing local venues. Artists on the bill include Grammy nominated Milk Carton Kids from California, Ash Grunwald, Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Arte Kanela, Fourplay, Marlon Williams & the Yarrabenders, The Wilson Pickers, Gabriel & Cecilia, Dubmarine, to name just a few plus a bevy of Australian and local acts.
Bellingen LeaF Workshops (presented by Bellingen Shire Learning Alliance) focussing on sustainable practices, organic growing, renewable energy and personal & environmental health are on offer. There is something for everyone including comedy acts dotted over the festival event, some yoga and music workshops.
Accommodation: Bello showground is the official campground for the event with powered or unpowered sites on offer. Local accommodation will sell out quickly options are: backpackers motels, pubs, eco cottages, B ‘n’ B’s there is always nearby Dorrigo, Urunga, Sawtell and more mainstream coastal Coffs Harbour.
Transport: By popular demand the iconic psychedelic Magic bus will travel down from Mullum and then will be ferrying festivalgoers around the venues in Bellingen and campgrounds.
Local buses will run from both Coffs & Urunga for $10 one-way trip. So don’t drink & drive, take one of the alternatives.
Bring your winter woollies, your dancing shoes and get yourself ready to shake off the winter blues with an unforgettable new festival experience.
Andrew Strong is currently touring Australia again with his all Australian based band to perform the songs from the Commitments movie. 2015 and will be last time that we will see him in a suit as future visits will be to perform his own music.
I was lucky enough to be asked backstage to catch up with Andrew Strong & the band him after the show and have a chat. He loves Australia and Australian audiences seem to love him and the songs from the Commitments movie.
A lot of people don’t realise how good Andrew Strong is on the guitar and it’s obvious that he loves playing with it. A lot of people don’t know is that Andrew also sung on two songs for Nathan Cavaleri way back in 1994.
Classics songs such as “Mustang Sally”, “Take me to the River”, “Dark End of the Street”, “Land of a Thousand Dances”, “Treat Her Right”, “Hard to Handle”, “Grits Aint Groceries”, “In the Midnight Hour”, “Try a Little Tenderness” and “I Thank You” were favourites of the crowd and I for one will miss hearing and seeing him perform them.
Joe James is awesome on the keyboard and has been working with Andrew Strong for about 8 years now.
You can’t beat a band with a saxophone and even better with a solo performance!
There is still time to catch one of Andrew’s gigs before he heads back to Ireland.
Wednesday 20th May, 2015 – Gladstone Entertainment & Convention Centre
Friday 22nd May, 2015 – Bundaberg at Brothers Sports Club
Saturday 23rd May, 2015 – Brisbane North at Kedron Wavell Club
Sunday 24th May, 2015 – Gold Coast at the Broadbeach Blues Festival
Friday 29th May, 2015 – Perth at the Astor Theatre
Saturday 30th May, 2015 – St Kilda at the Prince Room
Review by Rufus Onfire
Ah yes, the side project solo album. The chance to showcase on record what may otherwise be left on the shelf when it comes to your day job.Brandon Flowers is no stranger to this, having delivered fine debut in 2010 “Flamingo” and after another underwhelming album with his regular combo The Killers, the Las Vegas lads have again gone their separate ways for some side project downtime and we arrive here at his follow up release.
There’s a strong 80’s influence of synthesiser that has been bubbling along in one way or another over Flowers recording career, and in solo mode the opportunity presents itself to up the ante so to speak and have it front and centre in the soundscape.
Opener “Dreams Come True” fits the bill on this nicely with added horns to boot providing the ideal opening salvo. The first taste we got of this record “Can’t Deny My Love” laid the foundation for what was going to be an 80’s style record and even sees some sampling in “I Can Change” with a dash of Bronski Beats “Smalltown Boy” thrown in the mix for good measure.
But is there an element of playing it safe here? Sure this would have been the case if we were presented with a Killers clone like album, but even with the welcomed departure in sound solo wise from Flowers by the time we are halfway through track wise the early highlights and how this will be built on gives way somewhat to some steady as she goes action.
Sure songs like “Between Me And You” and “Lonely Town” deservedly make the grade, but herein lies the conundrum, close your eyes and you could easily be in 1985, not the present day and listening to songs that hover around the midpoint of the charts and battle for the climb up with every other new waver on the scene.
And a lot of this can be put down to co-producer Ariel Rechtstaid. A look at this CV sees names like Haim, Vampire Weekend, Usher, Beyonce and her sis Solange to our own Kylie Minogue, a resume with its smarts rooted in pop music which is what has been achieved here as well.
As a pop record, it’s a solid release and as a diffentiator from his day job with the Killers has achieved what it set out to do. But does it have the durability to climb out of its steady slumber and be a great record only time will tell.
Flowers climbed to the summit early in his career with the Killers, and while traversing again in solo mode towards the same goal here, it may just take a bit longer the second time around.
Story by Rufus Onfire :: Photos by Craig Wilson
There’s nothing like a gathering of like-minded souls at a festival to bring a community together. And given the recent run of bad weather and floods in Maitland the timing of the latest run of Groovin The Moo at its spiritual home could not have come at a better time.
A sparkling Autumn day was on hand for the drive up from Sydney to the festival, with some superb work carried out by the organisers to get the venue ready and raring to go as well after the recent rain.
Forging ahead with its 10th instalment in this regionally based event, the sold out sign was up early on this one and despite the neighbouring dog track again not in use during the day (ah a mix of music and dishlickers in between bands, the possibilities people!), there was enough on hand music wise to fill out the day.
The sweet sounds of Sydney band DMA’s filled the air as we entered the showground, playing to an appreciative audience and continuing to build on their early momentum record and performance wise, one to watch as their star shines brighter.
Saskwatch quickly followed on the Moolin Rouge, their rhythmic indie funk soul and pop smarts led out front by the sassy Nkechi Anele never disappoints, they remain a festival fave and added GTM to an already impressive kitbag of the like of Bluesfest, Falls and the big daddy of em all Glastonbury, they remain a must see punters when in town.
A break for some lunch and some rancho relaxo before the Newtown lads Sticky Fingers took to the V Stage.
The boys have had the hard working shingle hung out for a while, clocking up the global miles as they hit the road in support of their sophomore album Land Of Pleasure.
We got a tight sounding set mixing the old and the new, not to mention winning the gong for best hirsute ensemble (hats off to the bare chested Freddy Crabs on keys as well bringing it despite the cooler climes!) …
Speaking of criss crossing the globe, you can throw The Preatures into that mix as well.
One week the US, next week back home running through their debut Blue Planet Eyes with precision, but nice to see oldie Take A Card with Gideon on vocals and a cracking cover of the Angels classic Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (complete with required crowd interaction) in the set list too, Isabella Manfredi take a bow, you are the front woman and vocalist every band wants.
Indie warriors Ball Park Music and San Cisco gave punters what they wanted.
They spliced in some new tunes and in the case of BPM their take on The Rembrandts I’ll Be There For You aka the Friends theme tune for the tv freaks among us.
Charli XCX and Hermitude attracted good audiences for their sets and if they are to your liking you would not have been disappointed.
For yours truly it was nice to sit back and watch them for the first time and while not my bag personally I can see why they connect with so many others.
It’s now a decade since the beast that is Wolfmother was unleashed on us with their self-titled debut slab. Now back as a trio this latest incarnation fronted by Andrew Stockdale played to their strengths and the crowd standing at their feet, with a set heavy on songs from the debut.
We got a new one in there but overall there was a sense of going through the motions here that stopped and started too much. The intensity of those early Mk.1 version of the band’s gigs seems eons ago right now.
A run through of Hilltop Hoods again wasn’t required which allowed for an early exit and cruise back down the freeway to the harbour city at the end of a great day.
The festival scene in Oz has seen many fall by the wayside of late both big and small, with the key to enduring being finding your niche and working that as best you can.
Regionally based, a good mix line up wise and a local community proud to host their own and welcome outsiders in, here’s hoping the recipe of success for the first decade or so continues to deliver more great music and good times for Groovin The Moo for many more years to come.
(Rufus thanks Jonesy from Jones PR and the organisers for their hospitality at the festival, much obliged as always)
Review by Rufus Onfire
And so we come to the latest offering from Merseyside and the ever expanding mine map that has its epicentre in the group The Coral (see http://www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk/home/the-serpent-power)
With the lads still on hiatus and indulging in solo/side and sibling related projects, Coral drummer Ian Skelly now comes to us via this new combo with ex Zutons axeman Paul Molloy.
Ian gave us his solo debut Cut From A Star a few years back and following a good chat with Molloy realised there was something to be gained from these two writing some songs together.
Taking their name from Skelly’s solo backing band and rooted deep in the psychedelic soup that his former band made their own on their first 2 albums, you knew that after hearing the first offering from this a few months back “Lucifer’s Dreambox” and it’s 6 minutes 46 seconds of sound what may follow once an album was in the can.
And opener “Dr Lovecraft’s Asylum” does nothing to deviate from this, it’s a bit of Sgt.Pepper, a smattering of Pink Floyd and an dollop of studio trickery that rolls along effortlessly, lovingly seasoned with some Theremin to taste!
“The Man Who Shrunk The World”, “Candyman” and “Killer Cherry Pie” continue this escapade with some soft mellow touches bringing Skelly’s vocal out more which compliments the melting pot of sounds around him to great effect, before “The Siren” has all the hallmarks of a Coral classic left on the shelf, ably helped along by a myriad of instrumentation, you name it from the
Classic ’66-70 era of music it seems to be at their disposal and subbed in where required effortlessly.
Molloy’s guitar gets to shine though on a few great tracks, the bluesy “”Vampire For Your Love”, the title-title track “Serpent Power” and the acoustic driven “Just A Broken Heart” with that Theremin again, before returning to the more familiar here like on “The Last Ape In Space” and “Life Is A Ball”, a long lost cousin of Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite perhaps with its great harmonies, swirling sounds and lyrics like most tracks here of a simpler time and reflective in nature but somehow still sounding fresh.
The psychedelic current still flows effortlessly across Merseyside to the Wirral and the burrow of Hoylake in England. A really easy album to listen to and one worth seeking out if classic well-crafted musicianship and solid tunes is what you are after, groovy till the last note fades out!
Review by Rufus Onfire
James Petralli from Austin Texas alt rockers White Denim has been entertaining us for 7 years now with his band’s jamming/improv and ear for experimentation on record, and here the mystery continues adopting the Bop English moniker to go solo as it were.
It’s always worthwhile going in with an open mind when pealing the seal off a new batch of tunes from this dude, and opener “Dani’s Blues (It Was Beyond Our Control)” provides it title wise and is helped along by a piano riff and stomping percussion track that gets a dusting of guitar as the chorus kicks in nicely.
The brain starts to settle in before again it’s off on a tangent as standout track “Struck Matches” rattles the senses, it’s quick beat and looped sounds gives the feeling of things flashing before you as Bop’s vocals and punchy guitars among other instruments on show (put the headphones on and listen to it unravel) make for a great track.
Quirkiness is something you come to expect from White Denim on record, and can see the hit and miss shingle held up when trying to work out where they stand. It’s here again for Bop but this time you can’t turn away and flick the switch as you want to know what’s up next.
Whether it be acoustic and splashes of electric magic on “Trying” & “Sentimental Wilderness”, a glorious glockenspiel and guitar led “Have I Got It Wrong” or the Denim offcut sounding “Fake Dog” and “”Willy Spends An Evening” with so much going around your ears as this plays out you think to yourself that this shouldn’t work and come together as an album, but the deeper you dive you realise there is a method to the madness here
And towards the end it rolls out nicely, the piano led “The Hardest Way” and closer “Long Distance Runner” bring this record to an end, the latter given its title and breezy sound surely providing some poetic licence to create a great video clip to match if Bop decides this.
An album of a lot of sounds and styles in most cases misses the mark, usually labelled self-indulgent and wreaking of an artist who maybe shouldn’t have been given the keys to the cookie jar. But here the freedom of being in solo mode has seen this work well for Bop English and to stunning effect. An album of twists and turns and quirks and perks that has you wanting more with each listen.
Yes, it’s time to hop to Bop people!