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Music Features

Posted 1 Sep 2016 @ 1:42pm

Vince Jones is a blessed man.

 

a trumpeter who has been blessed with an extraordinary technical ability; a singer blessed with a soft, beautiful voice, and a gardener blessed with some very green thumbs. Indeed when he talks to the BRAG early on a drizzly Monday morning, he’s not been practicing for his upcoming show at the City Recital Hall, a set that will see him reinterpret...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 5:37pm

A lot has changed for Lady Sings It Better over the years.

 

Members have come and gone and the format has evolved, but the troupe’s core has grown stronger with age. The eight performers descending on the Sydney Fringe are still doing what they do best: hilariously exposing the casual misogyny couched in far too many contemporary songs. But more than ever, their cultural...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 5:26pm

Chances are, if you were asked to think of flamenco music, you’d immediately conjure up an image of a beautifully costumed woman dancing wild circles around a man playing furious guitar.

 

It summons images of passion and desire, of love and revenge… 

 

Or at least, that’s the traditional image of flamenco. Though it has held onto a strong element of its heritage,...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 2:59pm

What’s in a name? As far as Kerri Glasscock’s concerned, a lot.

 

The chief executive of the Sydney Fringe Festival is still reeling from the recent difficulty she had overseeing the process by which each of the Festival’s bevy of performers slotted themselves into genres. After all, the Fringe is dedicated to bucking the...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:37pm

From his initial role as an indie folk upstart to his evolution into a synth-heavy slow-jammer, Irish singer James Vincent McMorrow has traversed more genre melds and mashes than many artists do in an entire career.

 

And, excitingly, if his third studio album We Move is anything to go by, he’s far from finished shaking up his sound. As the multi-instrumentalist takes in some...

Posted 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:32pm

It’s so rare in this day and age to come across a musician whose mantra involves creatively pushing against the rigid structures of society – but King Creosote does just that.

 

Coupling strong social and economic beliefs with a traditional approach to songwriting, the King, also known as Kenny Anderson, uses his music to mirror all aspects of his persona, from mentions of his...

Posted 27 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

It’s mid-morning on a Tuesday, and Mike Noga – balladeer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and man about town – has just woken up to a harsh realisation.

 

“It’s my first day of promo for this record,” he says, “and I’m going to have to spend all day talking about myself. I honestly don’t know how to prepare myself for it. Thankfully this album is full of things to talk about.”...

Posted 26 Aug 2016 @ 11:00am

Brendan Maclean is a lot of things to a lot of people.

 

He’s a singer, a dancer, a songwriter, a Twitter legend, and, apparently, musical theatre’s arch-nemesis – which is rather unfortunate, given he’s talking to the BRAG only a few hours before he’s due to attend the Australian premiere of Aladdin.

 

“I hate musical theatre,” he says with a laugh. “It’s weird ‘...

Posted 25 Aug 2016 @ 4:00pm

Gabriella Cohen has a career aspiration – and it’s not the one you might think.

 

After a planned five years spent honing her songwriting and performing, Cohen says she’d like to retire to the forest and compose orchestral soundtracks.

 

“I want to live in a forest and compose music for film,” Cohen says. “In five years after all the touring is done, I’ll live...

Posted 25 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

Ben Ben Bograil, Toby Cregan and Jonny Layback of Skegss are sinking beers on a warm August afternoon at the Courthouse Hotel in Newtown, ahead of one of their few rehearsals for a national tour starting in Adelaide the next day.

 

The boys deserve a breather, following on from some hectic tours in locales as disparate as Brazil and New Caledonia.

 

“The two most...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 1:17pm

The four members of Cub Sport are huddled around a table, afternoon beers in hand, at the Warren View Hotel, situated at the top-end of Newtown's Enmore Road.

 

Well before any substantial interview questions are posed, the banter is flowing, and conversation is bouncing around a variety of tangents and subjects. Somehow, they end up on the topic of first live gigs, which provoke...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 1:04pm

Ana Popovic is a guitar-playing demon with a hell of a backstory.

 

Born in Belgrade in 1976, she was forced to flee with her family to the Netherlands to escape war. Somehow she went from émigré to living in Memphis and sharing the stage with the world’s best bluesmen.

 

Popovic owes her chops, in no small part, to her dad’s massive vinyl collection. More often...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 12:48pm

In a world ruled by 140 characters and 30-second clips, staying relevant and maintaining attention is harder than ever.

 

Yet somehow Canadian pop-punk legends Simple Plan are still filling out venues after years in the business, displaying a staying power rare in an industry where audiences seem ever hungry for the next big thing.

 

Five albums, more than ten...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 12:38pm

“Oh, great story to lead with,” says Charles Rushforth, lead singer of Flowertruck, popping a lone hot chip into his mouth.

 

Rushforth, liquorice paper-rolled cigarette tucked behind one ear, is glaring at the band’s guitarist Hamish Dobinson, who has kicked off an interview with a story about a female fan who called him “so pretty”.

 

“Hamish knew we were...

Posted 24 Aug 2016 @ 11:53am

There is a particular richness to The Veils’ music – an expansive, convulsing quality that is part caress, part claw.

 

Their upcoming fifth album Total Depravity is every bit as cathartic and gut-wrenching as its predecessors, although in markedly different ways. Lead by frontman Finn Andrews, the New Zealand-via-London band has dispensed with melodic hooks and raw tenderness to...

Posted 21 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

Unearthed High is one of triple j’s most exciting competitions, each year giving high school kids the platform to showcase their talent and music to the rest of Australia. 2

 

012’s winner was Hobart-hailing Asta, a singer-songwriter with some amazing raw talent and a killer voice to boot. Since winning the competition she’s released a string of singles, and following on from a...

Posted 20 Aug 2016 @ 2:14pm

“Oh, great story to lead with,” says Charles Rushforth, lead singer of Flowertruck, popping a lone hot chip into his mouth.

 

Rushforth, liquorice paper-rolled cigarette tucked behind one ear, is glaring at the band’s guitarist Hamish Dobinson, who has kicked off an interview with a story about a female fan who called him “so pretty”.

 

“Hamish knew we were...

Posted 20 Aug 2016 @ 11:00am

So you’ve recorded a song that you’re actually happy with (never a guarantee), and now you’re itching to get out there and show the world.

 

You book a handful of shows up and down the coast – Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra if you’re feeling masochistic, a town or two inbetween – and feel happy with your schedule… unless, of course, you’re Ben Wright Smith. In that case,...

Posted 19 Aug 2016 @ 10:00am

Tommy Emmanuel is a well-travelled man.

 

Even with two Grammy nominations, two ARIA Awards, a designation as a ‘Certified Guitar Player’ from the legendary Chet Atkins and an Order of Australia membership from the Queen, the pull of home remains the strongest thing in Emmanuel’s life. 

 

“I wish I could do what I do and still live in Australia, but it’s too far and...

Posted 19 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

Jimmy Barnes. A man who needs no introduction.

 

A man who has spent the better part of his life as one of Australia’s most celebrated, prolific and respected entertainers. A husband, father and grandfather. A man who, after decades of tireless work, has nothing left to prove – at least, that’s what one would be led to believe. In actuality, Barnes is busier now than he has ever...

Posted 18 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

“How do you identify?” asks Kevin Barnes in the opener of Innocence Reaches, the latest record from US indie-pop weirdos Of Montreal, finally articulating a question that’s been at the core of his performance practice for the last 20 years.

 

As stories of diverse individuals are becoming a mainstay of the pop cultural conversation and larger audiences are seeking out non-...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 2:14pm

Hit ‘play’ on The John Steel Singers’ latest release, their third album Midnight At The Plutonium, and you quicklyget the sense it’s their most confident, fun and danceable work yet.

 

So when it comes to chatting with lead vocalist Tim Morrissey on a mid-June afternoon about the approaching release and (at the time) unannounced tour, there is barely an indication of the even...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 2:02pm

Storm The Sky are currently basking in the warmth of their newly released album Sin Will Find You.

 

While the Melbourne unit are a man down after the departure of Daniel Breen, their sophisticated style is stronger than ever. Vocalist William Jarratt has stepped into the spotlight and is preparing to share songs that are soaked in authenticity with fans across the country. We...

Posted 16 Aug 2016 @ 5:51pm

 

1. The First Song I Wrote

 

Well, the first song I would have written would have been some ridiculous parody song with my brother and/or father. But I guess my first 'real' song would have been written when I was around 14 or 15. Of course it was about heartbreak and girls – not that knew anything about that at that age.

 

2. The Last Song I Released

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Posted 14 Aug 2016 @ 12:00am

It’s always unusual to hear a musician talk about their work in a hesitant way. 

 

Even up-and-coming bands are often buoyed by their own burgeoning success, and use any press opportunity to sell something they are 100 per cent sure of. After all, interviews are ads in their own way, and most musicians – particularly frontpeople – have the air of the salesman about them.

...
Posted 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:00am

Ben Folds’ latest record, So There, was made in conjunction with New York-based chamber ensemble yMusic, who co-arranged the songs and contributed much of the album’s instrumentation.

 

The classically oriented sextet has previously worked with Dirty Projectors and José González, as well as recording compositions by the likes of Nico Muhly and Sufjan Stevens. Prior to teaming up...

Posted 12 Aug 2016 @ 11:00am

Live music lovers may have noticed a steady resurgence of classic-rock-influenced music seeping back into the Sydney scene recently.

 

Now, local audiences are ready to meet Roses For Jack, the next group to bring their voice to the noise – and boy, are they noisy.

 

In anticipation of their show this month at Oxford Circus, the Sydney friends plan to use the...

Posted 12 Aug 2016 @ 10:00am

I’m ashamed to admit that the first I heard of Béla Fleck was in collaboration with Virginian rock giants Dave Matthews Band.

 

Not that there’s anything at all wrong with DMB; rather, my chagrin is due because Fleck’s own remarkable career had completely escaped my attention. He is regarded as one of the greatest banjo players on the planet, and across 40 years has performed...

Posted 11 Aug 2016 @ 11:00am

The last time grunge heroes Dinosaur Jr. were in Australia was in March 2013, when they performed as part of Golden Plains Festival and did a handful of headlining shows around their appearance.

 

After the Sydney show, the other two members of the band – bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Emmett ‘Murph’ Murphy – hung out with fans around the back, bumming cigarettes and signing...

Posted 11 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

For most musicians, there’s nothing scarier than the looming threat of writer’s block – that terrifying moment when your talents begin to seize up and crafting a song suddenly seems like an impossibility.

 

And yet while writing his most recent record, Home State, Australian indie popsmith Jack Carty found himself facing the opposite problem. 

 

“I’d been writing...

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