The most exciting local release this year to date is Tim Hulsman’s debut Dead Man’s Garden. Throughout the twelve tracks, the folky acoustic lap steel and rootsy sound that we have all grown to love over the past couple of years is present. The first time that I ever saw Tim Hulsman play was at Beav’s Bar a couple of years ago.
Though we may roll our eyes at the need for musicians to create a ‘persona’, let’s face it, it’s damn entertaining when they do – especially when they get it as right as Merrill Garbus does in tUnE-yArDs. Her third album, Nikki Nack is a theatrical 13-track album chock-full of expression and experimentalism. ‘Water Fountain’ deceives us with its uppity guitar strums, rhythmic clapping and percussion while we bop along to some seriously deep lyrics.
Rose Water, the new EP from Melbourne’s own Milwaukee Banks (MB), is an impressive release. At first, ‘Pluto Bounce’ comes across as a simple electro RnB track, yet the more you listen to it the greater depth and more detail you will find within the vocal samples and instrumentation. A collaboration between Edo and tight lyricist and wordsmith Dyl Thomas, it’s easy to hear how Milwaukee Banks have been compared to the likes of James Blake and Earl Sweatshirt.
Deep down there’s a pop lover in all of us, and if there’s one sickly sweet album you pick up this year make it Foxes’. With her emotive and silky smooth vocals, Louisa Rose Allen couldn’t have put together a better debut. Though this album has been under works for quite a while, it’s been three years since Foxes first started performing. It’s a welcome addition to the CD shelf.
Jack White is a god. Lazaretto, his latest release, is an absolute rocking listen right from the get-go. Released in the last fortnight, it has had rave reviews from all over the world and has been featured on triple j. From the overdriven guitar lines to the rollicking twelve bar blues piano and simple lyrics, there is definitely something here for everybody to enjoy.
A smaller kit with a huge sound! Great for wedding bands, busking, and many other ‘space poor’ venues or environments. With venues closing down, gigging spaces becoming smaller and a shift away from louder styles of music, it could be the perfect time to reevaluate your need for a dual-kick, five-tom set-up. In reality a 16” bass drum is hardly the definition of ultimate sonic versatility, so a reduction in size carries the possibility of a reduction in price.
There is a well-kept secret on the Bellarine Peninsula: on a wintery long weekend in June the ‘clans’ gather in the seaside town of Portarlington. Amidst singing, dancing, drinking, eating and playing music, a celebration of friendship is held. For those well-versed with the Irish and Scottish traditions, the National Celtic Festival is compulsory. Meanwhile, for those not initiated, it is a wonderful surprise to find such amazing music and dedicated musicians in our midst.
Australian country music has never looked in better hands than with Wagons and their latest album, Acid Rain and Sugar Cane. Gritty electric guitar and horn arrangements ring out as Henry Wagons channels Nick Cave in ‘Hold On Caroline’, the most impressive opener to one of their albums yet. Co-produced by Mick Harvey of the Bad Seeds fame, this album in parts is a lot darker than previous releases, but I think that is one of the main positives behind it.
Opening with the title track, rollicking punky guitar lines and kick drum compliment my headphones. It’s a little bit of a departure away from the bluesy guitar tunes that Dyson is well known for but I think it is a positive direction for her fifth album in eleven years. Funky basslines and organ accompaniment are present in ‘Growing Up’, which make the sensitivity and passion in Dyson’s vocals shine through a lot more in the songs than previously.
Currently the most played single on triple j, it’s evident right from the get-go that Kim Churchill has done well with Silence/Win, his latest release. Opening with ‘Single Spark’, it sounds like he has for a moment been hanging out with an indie rock band because the instrumentation in the track is a lot more sparse than Churchill’s previous works. Jangly guitar lines and thundering drums are sure to get your head bopping along like it did mine.