After many many years of working hard as a freelancer, I’m finally taking a holiday. I’ve put in far too many weekends and late nights on a variety of writing projects, this blog included. I love it, but I need a break.

So today I’m heading off to New Zealand for a two-week cruise. My parents are housesitting, which makes me feel a lot more comfortable announcing travel plans online! I’ve never cruised before, but I figure the New Zealand one’s a good opportunity to test whether I’m the cruising type considering we can get off the ship every day once we arrive. I imagine I’m going to spend a lot of time on board hanging around the piano bar drinking wine. It sounds like heaven.

I’ve scheduled some posts for the time I’m gone, but things will be a little quiet. I won’t be commenting on the things you say, and the posts won’t be as frequent. So hang tight, enjoy the blog at a more leisurely pace, and I’ll be back before we all know it.

Image source: Peter Mackey @ Flickr

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I hear a lot of music, but I can’t remember hearing anything quite like “King of Bohemia,” the new single from Sydney duo Betty & Oswald.

It’s retro and jazzy, but also so much grungier and dirtier than anything you’d hear at a smoky speakeasy. That grittiness makes it feel completely fresh, while its classic influences make it instantly accessible.

In short, I want to hear more. If you do too, make sure you catch Betty & Oswald as they travel around the country next month in support of “King of Bohemia.”

10 April 2015 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
11 April 2015 – The Brewery, Wollongong (FREE)
17 April 2015 – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave (FREE)
18 April 2015 – The Espy, Melbourne (FREE)
22 April 2015 – Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle (FREE)
23 April 2015 – No. 5 Church St, Bellingen NSW
25 April 2015 – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast (FREE)
26 April 2015 – The Milk Factory, Brisbane (FREE)

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Grinspoon frontman Phil Jamieson has created the Magic Castle Festival, a new music festival in Port Macquarie. The event looks to raise money for local legend and Phil’s friend Lucas “Fruge” Farrugia, who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident later this year.

“To know Fruge is to love him, a generous soul with a raucous sense of humour, complete with many unforgivable tattoos,” Phil explained. “This accident put his loved ones in deep shock, and we just want to alleviate the financial burden of recovery so he can concentrate on the physical challenges, making Magic Castle a not-for-profit event, with all proceeds being directed to Fruge’s medical fund.”

Phil will host the event and introduce crowds to an eclectic mix of artists including three-piece garage band Royal Chant, punk rockers Pelican Itch, hip hop duo Korzdahavoc, and special guest DJs Healey and Starky. The bands will be complemented by taste dishes from XS and Fish Face Taco.

The Magic Castle Festival hits Port Macquarie’s Black Duck Brewery on April 11. Tickets are strictly limited and available from Oztix for $25 plus booking fee.

Image used with permission from RAWR Music

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Pop-rock almost got to be a dirty word for a while there. It started to describe music that was accessible but bland, background music that satisfied people who listened to solely to commercial radio. So when I saw the term “pop-rockers” on Adventure Land’s press release I braced myself for a whole lot of beige. But these guys do it right with their new single “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.”

Perhaps it’s because their music is entirely self-funded. They’ve had to struggle a little bit, and that shows in the music. They actually formed five years ago, when they were teenagers, and they’ve just been slogging away, learning their craft and evolving as artists.

“Our previous stuff was like a plate of chocolate brownies at fat camp: sweet, dense and would go pretty fast,” explained Tim Dennis. “Our new stuff is like a New York deli sandwich, more diverse, easier to sink your teeth into and overall more satisfying.”

Apparently Adventure Land put on one hell of a live show, so if you’re in Brisbane and over 18 make sure you head to The Zoo on April 11 for the single launch.

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

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You’ve got to admire Allday’s honesty. He’s had massive success with his debut album Startup Cult, but that came out last July so we’re all starting to wonder how he’ll follow it up. Well, the new release probably isn’t going to come any time soon.

Allday has started working on album number two, but he’s taking a break to go on his I Should Be Working on my Album But I’m Doing a Tour tour. Nice.

Allday will be joined on his procrastinatory adventure by recent collaborator Asta and soul singer Gill Bates. Tickets are available now from Oztix.

29 May 2015 – HQ, Adelaide (Licensed/All Ages)
30 May 2015 – Metropolis, Fremantle (Under 18s)
31 May 2015 – Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)
4 June 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane (Under 18s)
5 June 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane (18+)
6 June 2015 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (Under 18s)
7 June 2015 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
13 June 2015 – The Roundhouse, Sydney (Licensed/All Ages)

Image used with permission from We Are Unified

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After wowing crowds with their Crazy tour earlier this year, Art of Sleeping are set to do it all again with a tour to celebrate their awesome new single “Voodoo.”

Perhaps fittingly considering its title, there’s a really dark, tribal feel to this track. It perfectly captures that angst and out-of-control longing that comes with a love gone wrong.

Fans will get a sneak peek at Art of Sleeping’s forthcoming debut album at the following Voodoo shows. Tickets are on sale now.

5 June 2015 – Transit Bar, Canberra
6 June 2015 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
12 June 2015 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
13 June 2015 – Jive, Adelaide
18 June 2015 – Mojos, Fremantle
19 June 2015 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
20 June 2015 – Aplifier, Perth
26 June 2015 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
27 June 2015 – Triffid Hanger, Brisbane

Image used with permission from Dew Process

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Karnivool aren’t the only ones celebrating a milestone. Jebediah have clocked up 20 years in the business, and they’re ringing in the anniversary with a retrospective album and tour.

The Twenty album features 20 tracks handpicked by the band and spanning their entire career. It’s a great chance of reminiscing, or the perfect introduction for music lovers who’ve only just discovered the band’s music. Twenty will be available in digital, double CD, or double vinyl and double CD formats tomorrow.

Jebediah will tour the country with special supports from some of their best friends in the business, including many who are reforming just for the occasion. Each show will see Jebediah performing some of their biggest hits before playing their debut album Slightly Odway in its entirety. Tickets are on sale now for the following shows from Jebediah’s website.

5 June 2015 – Metro Theatre, Sydney (with Front End Loader)
12 June 2015 – The Tivoli, Brisbane (with Screamfeeder)
19 June 2015 – The Corner Hotel, Richmond (with Fur)
25 June 2015 – HQ, Adelaide (with Red Jezebel)
26 June 2015 – Astor Theatre, Perth (with Turnstyle)

Image used with permission from Jones PR

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After an extended stint in the studio, Sydney quartet Big Smoky are treating us to a new single “All the Way to Scone.” It’s a really classic Aussie pop-folk feel that I instantly identify with. If this song’s any indication, the band’s forthcoming album is going to be a cracker.

Has “All the Way to Scone” made your day brighter? If so, visit Big Smoky’s Soundcloud page where the song’s available for free download.

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A decade ago a band from Perth put together whatever cash they could find to fund their debut album. That album became Themata, a labour of blood, sweat, and tears for Karnivool. A lot has changed since that time. They don’t have to scrounge for cash to record. They’re known throughout the world, and they can sell out shows in London as easily as they can here in Oz.

Usually Karnivool focus on looking forward, but this autumn they’re treating local fans to a special retrospective tour. They’ll play all the tracks from Themata, and some special surprises to reward the loyal people who helped them get here.

Tickets are on sale now for Karnivool’s Themata Decade shows.

30 April 2015 – University, Wollongong
1 May 2015 – Panthers, Newcastle
2 May 2015 – Metro, Sydney
7 May 2015 – The Northern, Byron Bay
8 May 2015 – The Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta
9 May 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane
12 May 2015 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
15 May 2015 – Kay Street, Traralgon
16 May 2015 – Wool Exchange, Geelong
19 May 2015 – The Gov, Adelaide
21 May 2015 – Discovery, Darwin
22 May 2015 – Metro City, Perth

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Brisbane band Starlight Theatre caught my eye when I interviewed bassist Josh Belz way back in 2009, but they never quite managed to catch a break here. So they expanded their horizons last year and managed to kick some serious goals abroad. After spending seven of the last 12 months in London they’ve just inked a UK management deal. They’ve also managed to gain a bit of radio play across the United States, and if the footage I was watching on their website is any indication, they’ve got a lot of passionate fans.

Starlight Theatre are preparing to release their new single “Oceans,” which sounds pretty fabulous judging by that website snippet. All will be revealed when it officially drops in April 1, but since I’m heading overseas for a little holiday then you’ll just have to check it out yourselves. Everything I’ve heard tells me that their hard work in the industry over the years is about to pay off.

Image used with permission from Starlight Theatre

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