Tag: Australian music

Single release: ‘Margharita’ by Suz Dorahy

unnamed.pngNewcastle singer-songwriter Suz Dorahy has a released a compelling new single, ‘Margharita’. The song was inspired by the hardships of men returned from World War II and the women who shared their lives. While shell shock was named it wasn’t always identified in these returned soldiers who found it hard to adjust to domestic life and sometimes turned to the bottle for solace.

The song acknowledges the difficulties of maintaining relationships under those circumstances, and how love that once existed may be impossible to sustain. Dorahy is clear-eyed and unsentimental in this thought-provoking song.

Listen to ‘Margharita’ on Soundcloud.

Find Suz Dorahy’s music on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

unnamed.png

Album news: Wild Mountain by Megan Cooper

a0247400377_16While Brisbane singer-songwriter Megan Cooper’s second album, Wild Mountain, has been available since July, her album launch is on 28 October so this post just squeaks in under the wire …

The most immediate fact about this album is the same as for Cooper’s first album, Ghosts, Choirs & Kings, and it is that she has a truly lovely voice. The second fact is that she knows how to write for her voice, lyrically and stylistically. The songs on this new album cross several moods, from jaunty to wistful, and all tell a story that is expressed beautifully through her vocals. There are some honkytonk sounds here as well as straight-up pop. She’s also an impressive torch singer.

All of this detail is, of course, a way of trying to describe what is often hard to pin down without sounding schmaltzy: the way music makes a listener feel. So I’ll go for the schmaltz and say that Wild Mountain brings a lot of joy, as well as a lot of meaningful entertainment, which, for this listener, is akin to the Holy Grail. Cooper has a lot of talent and the skill to bring it to listeners, and it’s all evident on this album.

Wild Mountain is out now. The album launch is on 28 October 2018 at The Black, Albion (Brisbane).

Apple Music | Bandcamp | iTunes

megancooper.bandcamp.com

 

 

Album news: Under My Skin by Kirsty Lee Akers

Kirsty_Lee_Akers_-_Under_My_Skin.jpgSinger-songwriter Kirsty Lee Akers has released a new album, Under My Skin, and because she released it in July and I missed the release date, I’ll keep this short and sweet in the interests of not delaying further … This is Akers’s fifth album and the first for which she has acted as a producer. But, really, on her fifth go-round it makes sense that she knows her sound better than anyone – and it’s clear on this album that she does. This is a cohesive, intelligently written and produced collection of country rock/pop. Akers knows how to write a catchy hook and also a melody that suits her robust, mellifluous voice.

Country rock and pop are, as noted elsewhere on this site, a growing genre in Australia. Akers leans towards the rock side and finds a distinctive place within it, as do The McClymonts, by honouring her sound and her voice. She’s not trying to sound like anyone else, and she shouldn’t, because this is a great collection of infectious songs that serve to entertain and also make you stop and think.

As a last note: I certainly hope this isn’t the last album she produces, and that she’ll produce for others.

Under My Skin is out now through Social Family Records.

Apple Music | iTunes | Sanity

www.kirstyleeakers.com

Single release: ‘Stars’ by Tracy McNeil & The Goodlife

Stars Single Cover 3000.jpgCanadian-Australian Tracy McNeil and her band, The Goodlife, perform a certain kind of West Coast country-rock that has a particular ability: to induce happiness. It was evident on their last album, Thieves, and it’s there again on their new single, ‘Stars’, from their upcoming album, You Be the Lightning, set for release in 2019. ‘Stars’ has a lovely pep to it, and McNeil’s vocals that immediately carry you along into a dreamlike groove.

 

Pre-order ‘Stars’ here: https://TracyMcNeil.lnk.to/Stars

‘STARS’ LAUNCH DATES
Wed November 7 & Thursday November 8
Australian Music Week
https://australianmusicweek.com

Fri November 9
Grand Junction Hotel – The Junkyard
88 Church St, Maitland NSW
8pm, free entry.

Sun November 11
Northcote Social Club
With special guest Jim Lawrie
301 High St, Northcote VIC
Doors 1.30pm
Tickets here

tracymcneil.com

 

Album review: No Wonder the World is Exhausted by Ben Leece

unnamed-5.jpgWhen ‘Villains’, the first single from this album was released, I was quick to cover it because it was outstanding song. While singles aren’t always representative of albums, they can certainly whet the appetite, as they did in this case, given Leece’s skill and subtlety as a singer and songwriter.

No Wonder the World is Exhausted certainly lives up to the promise of ‘Villains’ and also declares that Leece is an artist who should be in the conversation, in country music terms, with the Troy Cassar-Daley/Don Walker songwriting combination, Shane Nicholson (the album’s producer) and Fanny Lumsden, who is one of the most versatile artists working today. He also fits neatly alongside Brad Butcher, whose musical style is quite different, although both artists are adept at crisp articulation of heavy emotions and experiences. But those are comparisons, not necessarily influences – although one might imagine that Nicholson has left an imprint.

Only Leece can know what his musical lineage is but there is one element that stands out quite clearly, at least to these ears, and that is Australian Crawl. Leece has a certain vocal similarity to James Reyne, albeit he’s easier to understand … as Reyne has become with time. But that’s not the main reason: rather, it’s that Leece’s album creates a portrait of Australian life that is the same swirl of ups, downs, quietude and activity, with a sense of place and character, that Australian Crawl were so good at producing. This is not to say that No Wonder the World is Exhausted sounds like an Australian Crawl album, because it does not. But it puts Leece in that particular, strong lineage of Australian storytelling in song.

At the same time, Leece is his own man. He has a distinctive, almost mesmerising singing style, and if ‘Villains’ was indicative of the quality of work on the album, it was not of the musical styles, which range through rock and several shades of country. At the core of each song is the story Leece is telling. There could be a song that is just Leece and a guitar, like the album’s closing track, ‘Stuck to My Guns’, yet there are many layers to it. That’s usually the sign that a song has taken a while to come to maturity, either because the songwriter has been carrying it around for a while before recording it or because they’ve refined it over time. It’s had time to find out what it is, and that sense of ripeness, for lack of a better word, offers the listener something deeply satisfying.

In short: ‘Villains’ wasn’t a one-off, Leece has produced an extraordinary album, and if you take your music seriously, you’ll take him seriously.

 

No Wonder the World is Exhaused is out now through Stanley Records.

Apple Music | iTunes | Sanity

benleece.net

 

 

Single release: ‘Secondhand Heart’ by Melody Moko

unnamed (16).jpgNewcastle singer-songwriter Melody Moko released her debut album, The Wreckage, last year and in recent weeks released its second single, ‘Secondhand Heart’. Moko’s pop-inflected country has the right balance of sweetness and seriousness, in her voice as well as the lyrics and music. Given this combination, it’s not surprising that she chose Catherine Britt to produce the album alongside her husband, Michael Muchow (a member of Britt’s band as well as a solo artist).

Moko has said ‘Secondhand Heart’ is unashamedly a love song, and an acknowledgement that everyone brings history to a relationship: your heart may be secondhand but that doesn’t mean it can’t be new. It’s a knowing and hopeful song – with a lovely video to match, as you can see below.

 

Apple Music | iTunes | Sanity | Spotify

 

www.melodymoko.com

Single release: ‘Blowout’ by Paul McManus

36632999_2001067666633786_4204747964599500800_nMelbourne singer-songwriter Paul McManus has released the single ‘Blowout’ from his forthcoming second album, Postcodes. McManus cites his influences as Ryan Adams, Justin Townes Earle, Augie March, The Kinks and Ron Sexsmith, which suggests an alt-rock/Americana lineage via Australian independent pop/rock (Augie March) – but it doesn’t account for how gloriously Australian this song is, in a way that recalls the best of You Am I (and that band’s main songwriter, Tim Rogers, has since revealed his country credentials by forming the Hillbilly Killers with Catherine Britt and Bill Chambers). McManus allows his strong singing voice to have an Australian inflection in this tale of suburbia and finding identity.

‘Written in a time of high house prices and disposable incomes,’ as the press release says, ‘the song finds comfort in living in the present.’ It’s also hard to be anything other than present with it: it’s a tightly written song that is also rambunctious and infectious.

Listen to ‘Blowout’ on:

Apple Music | Spotify

www.facebook.com/paulmcmanusmusic