Windows down, tunes on – there isn’t a better feeling than travelling down the Great Ocean Road to a music festival. This was exactly the case with Apollo Bay Music Festival this year. Heading down on the Friday Night, the options were quite simple for whom to check out as I arrived. Heading along to support local talent Jamie Pye, I was surprised by what I heard.
Reviewers risk sounding like broken records when talking about Kerri Simpson. It’s just that the Melbourne-based singer is so bloody good at what she does, we want everyone to know. She’s one-of-a-kind. She’s paid her dues – with interest. She’s worked with virtually every artist of note from the local blues and roots scene. Here she’s backed by a selection of long-time mates in music, including Belmar studios producer Steve Purcell.
I made a special effort to check out these Sydneysiders in Melbourne at AWME in November. After all, they’d been touted as the newest prized addition to the Chugg Entertainment stable. And if Chuggy is prepared to put his proverbials on the line for an act, they’ve gotta be worth a listen. Since that successful southern showcase gig, there’s been a bit of a buzz around Lime Cordiale. They’ll head to SXSW in Texas next month alongside a US release for the EP.
Since it’s more or less a music director’s mixtape, a movie soundtrack is bound to be at least good. Sometimes you get something great (The Breakfast Club, Top Gun); sometimes you get something… not so great (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Britney Spears’ Crossroads). Fortunately, American Hustle tends towards greatness, with a selection that includes hits like Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’, as well as tracks like Mayssa Karaa’s Arabic cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ and an unreleased Jeff Lynne track called ‘Stream of Stars’.
So Long, See You Tomorrow is the latest release from London indie kids Bombay Bicycle Club, and their fourth album to date draws on a sound that the band has been working on for quite a while. Breaking into the music scene with their debut album I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose in 2009, they stormed on to the scene with the singles ‘Always Like This’ and ‘Ghost’. Fast-forward five years and the band are now making blissful electronic music.
Grew up in regional Victoria. Rehearsed in a big shed. Line-up features siblings of the female variety. Natural harmonies influenced by cranking rock from the ’60s and ’70s. Embraced by major off-shore festivals… I suspect this local rock/roots trio would be happy to never hear the name ‘Stonefield’ ever again.
Flesh and Blood is the latest release from the new incarnation of the John Butler Trio, and their sixth album to date takes on a lot more of a different direction to their previous releases. One of the main catalysts behind this move was bringing in Jan Skubiszewski to produce the record. Jan is Owl Eyes’ longtime collaborator and is the man to work with in Australia for electronic music and production.
No need for a ‘happy hippie’ alert here. Queenslander AKoVA (Andy Kovacic) wears his new age sensibility unashamedly on his op-shop chic sleeve. Described as “the love child of Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd”, the latter reference is the most applicable. Formerly of roots/reggae group Shoebox, Earth Recruit is AKoVA’s solo debut. The one-man band deftly wrangles guitars, vocals, cajon, djembe, ankle bells, ukulele, kazoo and sundry percussion tools.
The first show of a national reunion tour could be a cause for concern – will they still have that spark? Hunters and Collectors are an iconic Aussie band with a rich history, and there is an awful lot for them to live up to – and 1998 seems far away now. British India opened the show well. I like these guys more every time I see them and I hope they gained new fans. They deserved to.
Give the People What They Want is the latest release from funk and soul queen Sharon Jones. Opening with ‘Retreat!’, this album sounds original, fresh and, no pun intended, sounds just what the people want. Thundering along like a Bamboos record, the majority of these songs tracks are written by the rhythm section of the band, and from looking at the liner notes of the instrumentation on each track, it would have taken quite a while to piece this together.