The marriage equality debate has reached fever pitch following the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling earlier this week. Elizabeth Rose has added her voice to the conversation with her new single “Division.”

“Australia is tipped as the ‘lucky’ country, but reflecting upon what we stand for, I’m not sure that we are all that we’re cracked up to be,” she said in a press release. “Our peers fall victim to acts of discrimination and are denied the right to equality. For a country that boasts of multi-culturalism and acceptance, why aren’t we accepting of this?

Proceeds from the single’s sales will benefit Australian Marriage Equality. Now isn’t that more useful than turning your Facebook profile picture into a rainbow?

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Fitzroy was developed in 1839, which makes it Melbourne’s oldest suburb. However, it has one of Melbourne’s most youthful cultures, with awesome street sculptures, vegetarian restaurants, and a great artists market every weekend.

It’s a shame then that Fitzroy is one of the top things visitors to Melbourne never do (but should). That goes double if you’re a music lover. Whether you’re a local or a tourist passing through, top Fitzroy features like these should be enough to encourage you to get out of the CBD and head to the suburbs.

The Old Bar: Old School Live Music Venue

74-76 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

It doesn’t matter what night of the week you visit the Old Bar, you’re going to hear live music. This Fitzroy institution sticks to what it knows, refusing to serve food or put on airs and graces like so many local pubs. The carpet’s sticky, the beer is cold, and the owners are more interested in nurturing the next big thing than bringing in household names.

Northside Records: Soulful Record Store

236 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Northside Records separates itself from the other record stores around the city with its focus on sweet soul music. Soulful genres like funk, hip-hop, and reggae are all represented in this oh-so-cool store run by RRR’s Chris Gill. Northside Records also has its own record label which is the home of funky acts like Saskwatch and The Let Your Hair Down Girls.

The Workers Club: Bands on the Up

51 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Image via Flickr by Zanmanken

The Workers Club regularly hosts EP and album launches for some of Australia’s hottest new talents. In the coming month Sounds of Oz favourites like Au Dre, Our Man in Berlin, and Gena Rose Bruce will all play at this hip venue. It’s worth arriving early for a gig to try the American-style dining menu. The spicy chicken spare ribs are finger lickin’ good, and there’s an extensive vegetarian menu with dishes that even carnivores will love. No wonder The Urban List named it one of the best places for live music in Melbourne.

Dixons Recycled: Grab a Bargain

414 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

One of two remaining Dixons Recycled in Melbourne, the Fitzroy branch of this second-hand record shop has more punk and experimental music than the Blackburn outlet. Dixons is one of the longest-running second-hand music retailers in Australia, and it’s an awesome place to find some cheap souvenirs while you’re in Melbourne. It’s also a great place to find those rare, deleted, and import items to add to your music collection.

Yah Yah’s: Party On

99 Smith Street, Fitzroy

One of the biggest complaints people have about Melbourne’s suburbs is that the venues close too early. Yah Yah’s bucks the trend with live bands and DJs cranking out the tunes until 5 am every Friday and Saturday. Those moderately priced beers mean that things can get messy here, but that might just be part of the fun.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. If you’ve been to Fitzroy, what do you love about it?

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The Jensens are loading up the tour bus and preparing to play shows all around the country with good mates Morning Harvey.

While Morning Harvey are the headliners, the tour comes at the perfect time for The Jensens who’ve just released “Fears” and the awesome garage rock song “A New Hope.” This is such good honest rock and roll, I imagine it’s going to go off in the live arena.

The Jensens have earned rave reviews for their shows all around Brisbane, so make sure you turn up early enough at these Morning Harvey gigs to catch their set.

4 July 2015 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
10 July 2015 – Great Northern, Byron Bay
11 July 2015 – The Elephant, Brisbane
17 July 2015 – Shebeen, Melbourne
18 July 2015 – OAF Gallery, Sydney

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Sydney indie pop act Nova and the Experience have really caught my attention with their new single “Whole Body.” I love the gutsy vocals from Anna Buckingham and the way they pair so beautifully with the Ed Sheeran-esque rhymes from James Buckingham. It’s really cool stuff.

The members of this quartet quit their day jobs at the start of the year to really focus on the music thing, and they really deserve your support. They’re heading to the United States in September to play the college and university circuit, but before then you can catch them at the following shows supporting the release of “Whole Body.”

10 July 2015 – Saloon Bar, Traralgon
12 July 2015 – Warrnambool Hotel, Warrnambool
17 July 2015 – Black Swan Hotel, Bendigo
18 July 2015 – Shebeen, Melbourne
24 July 2015 – Captain’s @ Mariners, Batemans Bay
25 July 2015 – Polish Club, Canberra
31 July 2015 – The Aztec, Forster
1 August 2015 – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
8 August 2015 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney
14 August 2015 – The Brewery, Wollongong
20 August 2015 – Nimbin Hotel, Nimbin
21 August 2015 – No. 5 Church St, Bellingen
22 August 2015 – Yamba Pacific Hotel, Yamba
28 August 2015 – Blackbear Lodge, Brisbane
29 August 2015 – The Pier, Port Macquarie

Image used with permission from Rob Carroll

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Wollongong’s annual Yours & Owls Music & Arts Festival is even bigger than ever this year. It’ll be run over two days, rather than just one as in previous years, and when you see the line-up you’ll understand why.

This year the festival will play host to Ash Grunwad, The Preatures, Cloud Control, The Smith Street Band, Saskwatchm and heaps more. There’ll also be a couple of film screenings, DJs, art installations, a twilight food market, and a giant birthday cake to commemorate the festival’s fifth year.

Yours & Owls Music & Arts Festival hits Wollongong’s Stuart Park on October 2 and 3. Tickets are available now through Moshtix.

Image used with permission from Habit Music Company

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Melbourne folk singer Anna Cordell has caught my attention with her debut single “I’ll Wait Here.”

Her voice is utterly angelic and the song has a beautiful subtlety about it. It’s introspective and gentle in the best possible ways. She also reminds us just how awesome songs in the minor key can be!

“I love the minor key and unresolved open chords,” Anna explained in a press release. “Writing songs in the minor seems to elicit an unspoken melancholy. The unresolved open chords are moments asking for resolution. They have the possibility of being led in a new direction … eventually this can resolve on a major chord the moment of reprieve, hope, relief.”

You can hear more songs in the minor key when Anna launches her EP in August.

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After a busy time where I’ve worked far too many weekends, I’ve had a fairly cruisy day today. I’ve also been lucky enough to find just the right soundtrack for it, “St Petersburg” by Tim Guy. It’s got a lovely indie-pop vibe to it and one of the coolest videos I’ve seen for some time.

“St Petersburg” is the first track lifted from Tim’s fifth studio album, which will hit stores later this year.

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I love when an artist isn’t afraid to speak from the heart. It’s for that reason that I’m really connecting to Western Australian songstress Helen Shanahan and her new song “Across the Sea.”

It’s got a lovely country-folk feel to it. I love the addition of the slide guitar and Helen’s warm, easy vocals. But even more than that, it’s the lyrics that speak of Helen’s struggles with anxiety that really resonate with me. As someone who’s also battled the condition, I’m really feeling this one. It’s not about dwelling, but about carrying on and feeling a sense of optimism that life will get better. What wonderful stuff.

Helen won Songwriter of the Year at last year’s Telstra Road to Discovery competition, and she’s clearly making the most of the opportunities. You can bet we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

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One good 90s inspired song deserves another right? If Au Dré got you into the ‘90s spirit you’re going to love listening to “What’s On Your Mind” from Sydney singer Josué.

He reminds me so much of Tevin Campbell, for those of you old enough to remember him. Tevin doesn’t seem to be making music like this anymore, so I’m only too happy for Josué to take over his mantle! The song has a great groovy vibe. It’s very soulful, but I can hear some jazz influences too.

If you want to hear more, get yourself to The Vanguard on July 9 when Josué officially launches “What’s On Your Mind.”

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I’m really digging “Fool Me,” the funky new single from Melbourne act Au Dré.

Au Dré is a partnership between Melbourne producer JamBau and vocalist and trumpeter Audrey Powne. I didn’t think I’d be writing about a vocalist and trumpeter today, but there you go. The pair were inspired by their love of late 70s and early 80s dance and disco music, but this song seems more like a throwback to early 90s R ‘n’ B. Whatever it is, I’m loving the synths and those soulful vocals.

Au Dré will launch the single for hometown fans at the Worker’s Club on July 2.

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