It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything from Alex Lloyd but he’s back with a new independent release!

Alex found inspiration for Good in the Face of a Stranger in his new adopted home, London. With a little from the country where he found such fame, Alex could find focus again on the music. The result is his most honest recording since his debut Black the Sun.

The first single is “Slow Train,” a song which is so simple in its beauty that it’s made me fall in love with Alex all over again. Check out the clip below. The basic but touching animation, created from around 7000 hand-drawn pictures, couldn’t be more perfect for this stunning song.

Good in the Face of a Stranger will be released through Inertia Distribution on November 1.

Trent Reznor

Soundwave is returning to Australia next year with one of the best rock line ups I’ve seen. The festival will be headed up by Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, and The Bloodhound Gang.

Music lovers can also look forward to seeing Lamb of God, Alkaline Trio, Billy Talent, Funeral for a Friend, Less than Jake, and heaps more.

Soundwave kicks off in Brisbane before heading all the way around the country. Get a jump on the competition by signing up to the website for their presale. These tickets will go on sale at different dates, which should ensure the sites don’t fall over as they have for festivals in the past!

Here are all the dates!

21 February 2009 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane (on sale 11 October)
22 February 2009 – TBC, Sydney (on sale 12 October)
27 February 2009 – Melbourne Showgrounds (on sale 13 October)
28 February 2009 – Bonython Park, Adelaide (on sale 14 October)
2 March 2009 – Steel Blue Oval, Perth (on sale 14 October)

Image source: Newscom

I love a good compilation album. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of those around. Sure you can buy those mindless discs Parx-eof the latest Top 40 music, but aren’t we all sick of those songs anyway? Then there are those discs which fit a theme, but tend to have all the same songs you own on other albums anyway.

So I was pretty excited when a new compilation album that didn’t fit the mould crossed my desk. Parx-e is a strange name for what turns out to be a brilliant disc. It features some of the best independent music I’ve heard in a long while.

You probably haven’t heard of any of the artists featured here, but that’s part of the fun. They come from all corners of the globe, united by their talent and amazing songs. The tunes are as diverse as the musicians’ backgrounds, which for a music lover like me is really appealing.

I was particularly floored by the American girls it introduced me to. Amanda Rogers reminds me of our own Natalie Imbruglia with her honest lyrics and sweet vocals. Rebecca Loebe’s “As I Tell You So” is like sunshine. I’m also in love with Shannon Curtis’ beautiful “Boomerangs and Arrows.”

But I can’t forget about the strong Aussie contingent. The Wellingtons give a perfect slice of pop-rock with “She Gave Up.” Just try listening to it without smiling. I don’t tend to listen to a lot of country music, but Kate Brianna drew me in with “The Devil Came Back For You.” There’s nothing quite like a woman scorned, is there? The jazzy Jessica McPherson has crafted a wonderful groove in “Flow.”

Parx-e is simply a joy. I have fallen for so many songs here, and I can’t wait to learn more about the artists it’s introduced me to. It’s an unassuming disc, but one that’s definitely worth taking a chance on. Parx-e is available to order through JB Hi Fi and other good record stores.

Image source: Parx-e MySpace

Mobile phone

There’s a new kid on the Australian radio landscape, but you won’t hear it through your car stereo. It’s called Stripe, and it will broadcast through your 3G mobile phone.

“It is not your traditional radio in how a receiver goes but it is programmed as a commercial radio station would be,” Stripe’s Matt Whittemore explained to Undercover.com.

“The difference being that there are niche stations and genre specific stations, a whole stable of them. Stripe is the brand and underneath that we will launch with 40 stations. It is using the full spectrum that is available to digital radio but instead of having to buy a new receiver, it is available through your 3G mobile phone.”

With so many stations on offer, Stripe looks to play the artists that don’t quite fit the constraints of commercial radio. Matt said he’s particularly interested in exposing new bands that traditionally don’t get the airplay of their more established counterparts.

Stripe will launch next month. I don’t have a 3G phone, but I’m all for more diversity on radio. If anyone gets to tune in, I’d love to hear what you think!

Image source: Lionel Titu @ Stock.xchng

Pomomofo

These motley chaps are Pomomofo, a Sydney band destined for great things.

The lads rose to fame after winning the Jim Beam state campus band competition in 2006. They played that year’s Good Vibrations Festival and scored high profile slots supporting The Presets, Midnight Juggernauts, and Sneaky Sound System.

They’ve spent the last year out of the spotlight, but they’re back with their second EP In Super Vega and a brand new tour. If you’ve never seen their energetic live act, what are you waiting for?

In Super Vega is in stores on October 18. Pomomofo will play the following East Coast dates in support of its release. Tickets are on sale now.

17 October 2008 – Revolver, Melbourne
18 October 2008 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
19 October 2008 – Beach Road Hotel, Bondi
24 October 2008 – La Campagna, Sydney
31 October 2008 – Berlin Lounge, Surfers Paradise
1 November 2008 – Transit Bar, Canberra
7 November 2008 – Caringbah Bizzo’s
14 November 2008 – Liberteen Ranch, Wollongong

Image supplied by Original Matters

Australian Idol 2008 Top 12 Finalists

You’re kidding me, right Australia? After a stellar run on Australian Idol, Brooke Addamo was sent home tonight. This talented teen hasn’t put a foot wrong all competition, so I’m not really sure what happened! I know I sent through a few messages to save her tonight, so I can’t even say I didn’t try!

Once Brooke found herself in the bottom three with Thanh Bui and Sophie Patterson I was almost feeling confident. Sophie is a stellar talent, but after her second week in the bottom two I thought perhaps she just wasn’t connecting to the Aussie public. Thanh’s performance last night was nowhere near his best, and his delivery of it tonight wasn’t much better.

My husband is going to be gutted when he gets home and hears the news! What a terrible end to a great week of Australian Idol!

The Audreys

South Australia’s finest The Audreys will hit the road this November to support their ARIA-nominated album When the Flood Comes.

This country-folk band really shines in the live arena thanks to their unique blend of traditional instruments and emotive tunes.

Check them out at the following venues this November!

13-15 November 2008 – The Promethean, Adelaide
20 November 2008 – Heritage Hotel, Bulli
21 November 2008 -  Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
22 November 2008 -  Brass Monkey, Cronulla
27 November 2008 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
28 November 2008 -  Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
29 November 2008 -  Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff

Image source: The Audreys press page

Cyndi Lauper

I have not been more excited about an episode of Australian Idol in its history. Two words for you: Cyndi Lauper. To have one of my idols mentoring these talented youngsters and sitting in on the judging panel was a real treat. I’m also a massive fan of the 1980s, so I was pumped. But could the idols match my anticipation?

Luke Dickens certainly did. When I heard he was taking on John Cougar’s “Jack and Diane” it seemed only natural. It’s a storyteller’s song, and that’s exactly what he is. This man just improves in leaps and bounds every week. He seemed more comfortable than I’ve ever seen him, engaging the audience and still remembering to enjoy himself. He’s definitely stepping up where it counts. It was a joy to watch, and it even made Cyndi cry!

Brooke Addamo revealed a whole new sexed-up side with one of my favourites, “Bette Davis Eyes.” Initially I was a little concerned that the band was getting the better of her, but she really took up the challenge and came home strong. I loved seeing this edgier side to her. Every week she brings something new and she continues to show us she’s more than just a pretty face. Cyndi’s also proving to be worth her weight in gold – she’s bringing such great performances out of our Idols!

Madam Parker took on Diana Ross’ “Upside Down.” I’m not sure whether it was her illness that brought this performance down, but it just felt very lacklustre. Even if you’re sick I sort of feel like you need to give it more than this when you’re choosing a high energy song.

It’s funny, my husband I were discussing the possibility of Mark Spano singing some Foreigner just this morning. We were hoping for something rocky like “Jukebox Hero” or “Cold as Ice,” but he opted for “I Want to Know What Love Is.” I love a good power ballad, but I’m not sure he brought the right degree of light and shade to this. It finished strong, but I don’t think it was anywhere near his best performance. I just can’t put my finger on exactly why. I’m still a massive fan.

Read the rest of this entry…

Mick Hucknall

The big names just keep on coming out for the Day on the Green shows. After the recent announcement of Alicia Keys and Jordin Sparks, organisers are putting on one for the mums and dads.

Mick Hucknell is back with his old band mates for a Simply Red Best Of tour.  These guy were actually one of the first bands I saw way back in the 90s, so I’m thrilled to see they’re returning to Oz. Kate Ceberano and Dragon will ably support the British soul outfit on these massive shows.

Tickets for the following shows are available through Ticketmaster from October 3.

5 February 2009 – Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Perth
7 February 2009 – Peter Lehmann Wines, Barossa Valley
8 February 2009 – Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley
21 February 2009 – Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley
22 February 2009 – Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton

Image source: Marianne van Meel @ Flickr

Natalie Gauci

Natalie Gauci has launched off suggestions she’s a failed Idol, insisting she’s working hard to produce an album she’s happy with before she unleashes it on the public.

“I don’t want to release something just for the sake of it. Idol did change my life but you’ve got to take perspective. My album is going to be ready when it’s ready. I am just taking one step at a time,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

She’s also been taking some much needed time off following her whirlwind Australian Idol journey, holidaying in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia with a new beau. But it’s back to the grindstone now, with Nat preparing to jet off to the UK to continue work on her debut disc.

Natalie expects to release it in 2009, but I’m happy to wait as long as it takes. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather this than the old method of releasing an album a week after winning Idol!

Image source: Sunrise.seven @ Flickr