As I browsed through the list of ARIA nominees a couple of days ago, there wasn’t too much that got me really excited. The usual suspects were represented, and there were very few curveballs. However, when I spied Citizen Kay’s nomination for Demokracy, I broke into a wide smile. The best urban album category is incredibly competitive, but I’d love if this talented act came away with the win.

While ARIA is acknowledging his last body of work, Citizen Kay is looking forward with the release of With the People, his first long-player, which hits stores on October 16. The album features the killer new single “Wax On Wax Off.” You can hear this song and other choice cuts from the new album, as well as some old favourites, when Citizen Kay kicks off his national tour later this month.

22 October 2015 – Bar on the Hill, Newcastle
23 October 2015 – Shebeen, Melbourne
24 October 2015 – Republic Bar, Hobart
30 October 2015 – ANU Bar, Canberra
6 November 2015 – Cats, Adelaide
11 November 2015 – Sosueme @ Beach Road Hotel, Bondi (FREE)
13 November 2015 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
14 November 2015 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
26 November 2015 – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney
5 December 2015 – Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth

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I’d hoped with the unseasonally warm weather we’ve been experiencing, I might have seen the last of the colds that have plagued me this winter. However, it seems there was one left in the season, as I’m sitting here congested, achy, and generally feeling miserable. When I feel this way, I look for the musical equivalent of chicken soup. Something nourishing, soothing, and mellow. I found just what I was looking for in That Low and Lonesome Sound, the latest album from Garrett Kato.

Garrett was born in Canada, but he relocated to Byron Bay when he was 23 so I think we can officially claim him as our own now. That’s a good thing too, because his album is one of those ones I really want to write about.

It couldn’t help but note similarities between the music Garrett makes and that of his current touring mate and fellow Byron resident Pete Murray. Perhaps there’s something in the water, because both artists have a similar low-key grooviness about them, and husky, hypnotic vocals. Garrett seems a little more willing to play with genre though, which I find really exciting. I loved the psychedelic touch in “Trouble Will Find Me,” and the folky stillness of “Arkansas.” The intimacy of “More Than Love” really struck me. The closing track “I Wonder Why,” a poignant duet, was the cherry on top of a stunning album.

I listened to That Low and Lonesome Sound in my lounge room, but I really want to take it outside my home and whack it on my car stereo. It feels like the perfect driving soundtrack, a collection of songs that are mellow, organic, with driving drum beats designed to get you to your destination.

That Low and Lonesome Sound
is available now. You can see Garrett Kato supporting Pete Murray at venues all around Australia through October, November, and December.

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Melbourne rock act Society of Beggars are back with a brand new single “Terrible Rain.”

I love the way this track builds to a bold crescendo. Frontman Yianni Michalopoulous’ soulful vocals drew me in on the band’s debut single “Hyena,” but I think they’re even stronger on this track. You just see if you’re not punching your fist in the air by the end.

Society of Beggars will launch the single for hometown fans at Shebeen tonight, October 8. Tickets are available on the door and bundled with a free download of “Terrible Rain.”

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Music is in Quang Dinh’s veins. Bored during some downtime from his band Naked Bodies, he decided to launch his solo project QD to “keep banging the music.” He’s come up with a real guilty pleasure with his new single “Oedipus Rex.” It’s very rough around the edges, but there’s just something about this kooky psychedelic cut that makes me smile.

Quang tells me that the song’s about a king, Oedipus, who’s addicted to online porn. It comes with one of the most original and out there videos I’ve seen in some time.

“Oedipus Rex” is the lead single from Quang’s new EP Wiseman Beggar Yellow Hobo.

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When I receive an album for review, I always try to give the whole thing at least one spin. I know that it might take time for the music to gel with me, and that the first songs aren’t always the ones I connect with. This morning, while listening to Inner Western, the new album from Dan Lethbridge, I was really glad of the policy.

The album opens with a single, “It All Will Start To Splinter.” Opening with a single is usually a great way to hook a listener in. However, while I appreciated the poetry of the lyrics, it just didn’t click for me. I enjoyed the more melodic alt-country tracks that followed, but I still wasn’t hooked. Then I heard “Wait Another Day.” It’s one of those songs that stops you in your tracks. With gentle violins and such tenderness, that was the song that got me.

After hearing “Wait Another Day” I figured it was worth giving Inner Western another listen. I found I appreciated the tracks that much more. I responded to the romantic warmth of “I Want You With Me.” “Everybody Says,” a dreamy duet with The Audreys’ Taasha Coates is another standout. The old school jazz club vibe of the closing track “Do No Harm” is also really special.

Dan has a real knack for storytelling through his songs. They’re not the most polished pieces, and his voice isn’t the strongest, but there’s a great beauty in his words that really resonated with me. The simple music arrangements punctuated by a slide guitar here, some strings there, support the songs beautifully.

Inner Western might be a slow burner, but it’s an album which rewards the patient listener. Dan Lethbridge will treat hometown fans to its songs at the Melbourne launch at Shadow Electric on October 10.

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I’ve watched the career of Reece Mastin with some interest since he burst onto the music scene through The X Factor in 2011. I always regarded him as one of our more interesting winners, a kid who seemed more at home taking on the classic rock of Aerosmith or subverting modern pop gems like “I Kissed a Girl” than making music for the masses. Yet when he took out the title he started to release the musical equivalent of McDonalds. It sold well – you can’t deny the appeal of his number one singles – but it was ultimately unsatisfying. I couldn’t help but wonder whether Reece was making the music he wanted to make or what the record company wanted him to do to appeal to tweens and teens.

2015 seems to be the dawn of a new age for Reece Mastin. He split with Sony and signed a deal with independent label Social Family Records. He enlisted soulful singer Mahalia Barnes as his manager and began hanging out with her dad and Aussie music royalty Jimmy Barnes. And he recorded Change Colours, which is the album I always knew he had in him.

The opening track “Lockdown” announces the new direction beautifully. The music hits hard; it’s an epic, emotional rock number with an old-school soul twist. Jimmy’s influence is obvious in songs like this, “Right Out of Me,” and “You Gotta Go,” which features Mr Barnes doing “backup vocals” as only Barnesy can. Songs like “You Could Be Wild” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore” show Reece still has a snack for creating a hit, but his heartfelt delivery gives them more emotional punch than his other commercial hits. You can tell he really believes in these songs. The sexy blues influenced “Caged Paradise” is another highlight. “Even Angels Cry” shows Reece at his most stripped back, and it’s wonderful. It’s already become a fan favourite, after being voted the next single by Reece’s Twitter fans. The final number and title track “Change Colours” is one of the album’s darkest songs and one of its quietest, but perhaps its most powerful.

Change Colours isn’t like the other Reece Mastin albums, and that’s exactly why it’s so special. It showcases the work of a young artist that is releasing music he believes in, perhaps for the first time. If you’ve dismissed him as just another reality show winner, it’s probably time to rethink your stance.

Change Colours hits stores on October 9. Reece will support its release with the following instores all around the country.

9 October 2015 – World Square, Sydney (5 pm)
10 October 2015 – Stockland Wetherill Park, Sydney (11 am)
11 October 2015 – The Pines, Doncaster East, Melbourne (10:30 am)
11 October 2015 – Stockland Wendouree, Ballarat (2 pm)
13 October 2015 – Brookfield Place, Perth (4 pm)
14 October 2015 – St Mary’s Sound, St Mary’s (4 pm)
15 October 2015 – Stockland Shellharbour, Wollongong (6 pm)
17 October 2015 – Stockland Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast (10:30 am)
17 October 2015 – Brookside Centre, Brisbane (2 pm)
18 October 2015 – Sanity Hinkler Central, Bundaberg (2:30 pm)

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Can’t you just feel that long weekend in the air? I’ve been that busy with work that I’m not sure I’ve taken a weekend of any description since I had a mini cruise getaway in the first week of September, so I’m definitely going to savour this one. I’ve got some painting that needs doing, and some tiles that need buying. The jobs of a home renovator are never done. But I’ve promised my husband that we’ll carve out one solid day to just veg on the couch and binge-watch Empire.

With that long weekend looming, it seems the right time to introduce you to “Senses,” the debut single from Melbourne’s Jess Fairlie. It’s very soulful and jazzy and just stunning. Pour yourself a glass of wine, press play, and just let this one wash over you. What a gorgeous song!

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When I want to feel good lately, I find myself going to the music of Bad Pony. They’re one of those bands that produces music that’s so funky and fun, it always puts a smile on my face. Their latest single “Michael Moore” is no different.

The song’s the latest killer cut lifted from Bad Pony’s Limbo EP, which they’re touring all around the country over the coming months. I hear these guys are even more amazing in the flesh, so if you get the chance make sure you check out one of the following shows. And wear some comfy shoes, because I have a feeling you’ll be dancing all night!

3 October 2015 – Red Deer Festival, Brisbane
8 October 2015 – Toff in Town, Melbourne
9 October 2015 – The Workers Club, Geelong
10 October 2015 – Baha Tacos, Rye
14 October 2015 – SOSUEME @ The Valley, Bondi
16 October 2015 – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay
17 October 2015 – The Farm, Byron Bay
18 October 2015 – Sounds of Sunday @ Broadbeach Tavern, Gold Coast
6 November 2015 – Moonshine Bar, Manly
19-22 November 2015 – Australian Music Week, Cronulla
28 November 2015 – The Roxbury Hotel, Glebe
4 December 2015 – The Pier, Port Macquarie
5 December 2015 – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
31 December 2015 – New Year’s Eve, Sydney Harbour

Image used with permission from Bad Pony

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I love checking in with artists and watching them evolve. When I first came across the music of Amanda Merdzan in 2010, she was creating beautiful stripped-back folky music. Fast-forward five years and her music is still beautiful, but it’s taken a different direction.

With her new single “Matter,” Amanda’s showcasing more of an electronic sound. The fragility and heart that first drew me to her music is still at the centre, but it has a dreamy new wrapper. This is just the sort of thing I can imagine putting on to chill out after a big week at work, or a big night out.

“Matter” is the first track lifted from Amanda Merdzan’s forthcoming EP, which will drop in 2016.

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since Ian Moss recorded his Six Strings album, a brilliant bluesy acoustic album with cuts from his Cold Chisel days and solo work, as well as some choice covers. We’re all used to seeing Mossy plugged in and rocking out, but that album and the accompanying tour showed us all a new side to this true Aussie legend.

To celebrate the album’s anniversary, Ian will tour some of Australia’s most intimate venues in stripped back mode.

“Doing these shows remind me time and time again that it’s all about how you play. I’m amazed at how much colour and variation and emotion I’ve been able to get with just voice, guitar and a foot tapping on the floor,” he explained. “Less is more.”

If you’ve never seen Mossy playing acoustically, you shouldn’t miss these shows. And if you have, well you know for sure you shouldn’t miss these shows!

26 February 2016 – The Palms At Crown, Melbourne
27 February 2016 – Theatre Royal, Hobart
4 March 2016 – Street Theatre, Canberra
5 March 2016 – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong
11 March 2016 – The Events Centre – Playhouse, Caloundra
12 March 2016 – The Tivoli, Brisbane
18 March 2016 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
19 March 2016 – Astor Theatre, Perth
24 March 2016 – Laycock Street Theatre, North Gosford
26 March 2016 – Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Cessnock
2 April 2016 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

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