One of my favourite albums of 2008 was Curiouser by Kate Miller-Heidke, so I’m pretty excited she’s finally taking her new songs on the road.

The tour coincides with the release of “Caught in the Crowd,” the very different follow-up to “Can’t Shake It.” This sees Kate in introspective mode, dealing with the regret she feels at seeing schoolyard bullying as a child and doing nothing about it.

Kate will criss-cross the country in February and March, so there’s no excuse for not catching her “Caught in the Crowd” tour.

Here are all the dates!

5 February 2009 – Roar Sounds @ Melbourne Zoo
6 February 2009 – Ha Penny’s, Geelong
7 February 2009 – The Palais, Hepburn Springs
8 February 2009 – St Kilda Festival
10 and 11 February 2009 – Clarendon Hotel, Katoomba
13 February 2009 – Newcastle Leagues Club
14 February 2009 – Waves, Wollongong
15 February 2009 – Soco Cargo, Sydney
19 February 2009 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
20 February 2009 – The Capital, Bendigo
21 February 2009 – Peninsula Lounge, Moorooduc
27 February 2009 – Coolongatta Hotel, Gold Coast
28 February 2009 – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
1 March 2009 – Community Centre, Lake Kawana
4 March 2009 – Spurs Tavern, Devonport
5 March 2009 – Republic Bar, Hobart
6 March 2009 – Batman Fawkner, Launceston
8 March 2009 – Push Festival, Old Abbotsford Convent
9 March 2009 – Stage 88, Canberra
12 March 2009 – Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga
13 March 2009 – Armidale Club, Armidale
15 March 2009 – Lizotte’s, Kincumber
18 March 2009 – Brunswick Music Festival @ Brunswick Town Hall
19 March 2009 – Amplifier, Perth
20 March 2009 – Players, Mandurah
21 March 2009 – Fly By Night, Fremantle

Image source: Ed-meister @ Flickr

After making a splash in Los Angeles and Paris, Billabong’s Design for Humanity is coming to The Forum. The event, which hits Sydney on February 18, brings the worlds of music, fashion, and art together for a great cause.

Local sensations The Cassette Kids, Ashleigh Mannix and DJs The Bag Raiders will provide entertainment on the night. The event will also offer a sneak peek of Billabong’s 2009 summer fashions.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to Surfaid International, a charity committed to easing human suffering through community health programs. The organization is currently providing health education, disease prevention programs, and emergency preparedness support in the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra and Nias Island in North Sumatra.

If you’d like to support their efforts and enjoy a great show you can pick up a ticket for just $30 (plus booking fee) by clicking the picture in this post. Too easy!

Image source: Design for Humanity media kit

Bacardi Express headliners Groove Armada is giving Aussie music fans exclusive access to their brand new EP before the rest of the world.

The new songs are now available through the B-LIVE Share application found at the official Bacardi website. This revolutionary new site rewards music fans who share the Groove Armada tracks through the site and with their online communities. The more songs you share, the more EP tracks you can access. Additionally, people using the service have the chance to win a VIP experience with the band onboard the Bacardi Express.

It’s exciting to see a model which allows fans to share music legally, ensuring the artists, promoter, and publisher are all compensated.

“Sharing music has always gone on. It’s giving music away that’s the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it’s disposable. When you share it, it’s done with love,” Andy Cato of Groove Armada said in a statement.

The EP also has a local connection, with Australian electronic duo Van She Tech remixing the song “Drop the Tough.”

If you’re over 18 you can access the EP through the B-LIVE Share website until March 1, when it will be available for commercial digital release.

Image source: Newscom

She’s a songwriter, model, an actress, and now a chart-topping solo artist. It seems like Zoe Badwi has done it all. I caught up with the bubbly and beautiful blonde songstress today and found there’s still plenty she hopes to achieve.

You were part of the girl group Sirens and Black Dogs. What made you decide to go solo?

I’m still in Black Dogs as well, I’m not leaving them, I love them. But Sirens finished up a few years ago. It was great fun but that was I think all I could do there. The solo career came about because I was playing with my band Black Dogs at a venue and Grant Smillie from TV Rock walked in. I could see him tapping his foot away when I was singing so even that was awesome. But then he came up to me afterwards and asked “Do you write?” He said he had some beats that I could write over and I said “Yeah, for sure.” So I wrote “Release Me” and I went to see them and sung it in front of them and both of them just said “Yep, we love it.”

Sirens had a very mainstream pop sensibility while Black Dogs is a lot edgier. What can we expect from your debut solo album?
You can expect a little bit of edge, definitely. A little bit of rock, pop, house, all the elements combined. I’m trying for something that’s a little bit of everything all put together.

And how’s the album coming along?
Really well. I’ve got the next three tracks ready to go. The next single will be released in two weeks which is called “Don’t Want Ya.” And other than that I’m just writing madly. I might even get together with a few other people and write some songs, just to get a little bit of a different sound.

Who would you like to work with?
James Ash from Rogue Traders, he’d be good. And there’s another guy called Dennis Dowlut (Disco Montego) who is just amazing. And Andrew De Silva who used to be in CDB … Andrew’s actually in my band Black Dogs and I think he’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met in my life. I’m very lucky to be in a band with him.

Read the rest of this entry…

Once upon a time Glen Hansard was the lead singer of Irish group The Frames. They had some moderate success, but he dreamed of more. On a trip to Sydney with his bandmates he stood in the Botanic Gardens, looked across at the Opera House, and said to himself “I want to play there.”

A lot has happened since Glen decided he wanted to perform at our iconic venue. He made a little indie love story called Once. This tiny movie remarkably won best song at the Academy Awards in 2007. And last night, Glen Hansard played the Opera House.

The fairytale of Glen’s journey to Sydney’s hallowed halls is much like the fairytale I saw play out on stage last night. He performed his beautiful songs with The Frames and his movie love interest and now real life girlfriend, Marketa Irglova. Just like their cinematic characters, Glen was charming and funny if a little awkward. Marketa was sweet and quietly spoken, with a wicked sense of humour. Their affection for one another was obvious, and I was thrilled to bask in it.

There’s a reason why such a small film like Once caught the attention of the prestigious Academy. Its soundtrack is amazing. The songs come from a pure place, emotional without being flowery. Songs like the award winning “Falling Slowly” are delicate and romantic, longing, while others like “Leave” and “Say It to Me Now” are so raw they bleed. Some benefited from the lush treatment of the full band, while others were exquisite in their pared back arrangements.

Frames fans were not left disappointed, with the band treating us to many of their songs too. I admit I jumped onto the Glen Hansard bandwagon a little late so I wasn’t familiar with their earlier material, but it didn’t matter. Glen has a way about him that draws you in with poetic words and honesty.

Sitting in the audience, you can tell that we all knew we were witnessing something special. Whenever the band stood to leave the stage we’d all rise to our feet, letting them know how appreciative we were, secretly hoping they’d return once more. They did return, for a massive three encores. I think the band played until their hands were sore, and our clapping palms were too.

I walked out of the Opera House last night knowing I had experienced a truly great concert. To Glen, Marketa, and The Frames I say thank you.

Image source: own photo

2007 ARIA Awards - Arrivals

A year ago Sarah Gardiner was enjoying success as one fifth of Operator Please. But it seems things have gone downhill since the keyboardist left the group last year. Pedestrian has unearthed photos from a pornographic website, and they bear a striking resemblance to 19-year-old Sarah.

The images were found on a website called Abby Winters, a local site which features Australian girls. The model uses the pseudonym Tricia L, but she shares a birthday with Sarah Gardiner.

I’ll protect the fragile eyes of my younger readers and refrain from posting the pics, but if you’re curious you can see them at Pedestrian.

I thought Candice Alley had given up the music to become husband Grant Hackett’s arm candy. But it seems she hasn’t turned her back on the tunes altogether, or at least not the one that made her famous.

Her debut single “Falling” has been remixed for a limited edition four-track CD single. Personally I’m not sure the romantic ballad really needed a dance makeover, but the American club market seems keen for it. The disc features four remixes of the song by Swedish producers The Attic.

“Falling” will be available in the United States through boutique label ProMotion and on iTunes. There’s no word yet on a local release, but I’ll keep you posted!

Image source: Candice Alley website

By day he’s the president of Small House Records. But by night he is one of Australia’s most promising musical talents. Meet Mark Tulk.

Mark has composed, recorded, and arranged music for nearly two decades. Now he’s preparing to unleash his EP, At The End of the Day.

With influences including Brian Eno, David Byrne, John Cale, and Nick Drake, you can imagine that Mark’s own music is richly textured and fascinating to explore.

“This EP is reasonably ‘dark’ thematically, sonically it’s centered around the piano or Rhodes with layered acoustic guitars, distorted piano, various odd percussion elements, cellos and quite a lot of minimoog-generated ‘swampy/swirly’ kinda stuff in the background,” he says.

The songs are autobiographical, but their complex lyrics leaves room for the listener to interpret each tune in their own way.

“My own life-experience has obviously informed the material – the main characters, in some way, all share a sense of loss, isolation, disappointment or disillusionment. So in some ways the record has been partly a cathartic experience for me. Stylistically I’m interested in exploring ‘inner landscapes’ … the subconscious … what are the things ‘beneath the surface’ that inform our actions and decisions?

“It’s a work of shadows and dreams I suppose. The lyrics are scattered with images of half-light, moonlit cellars, corridors and narrow stairways … gothic mansions and swaying lanterns … on the journey, the listener meets characters who range from American poet Robert Lowell during his time in a mental hospital, to a gothic Jane Eyre-type heroine wandering thru the night silently watching for her imagined saviour who never comes.”

Are you intrigued yet? You can pick up At The End of the Day online from Small House Records.

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

After that unfortunate porn scandal last year, you’d think Jess Origliasso would have resolved to keep her clothes on in 2009. But it seems she might be stripping again this year. It’s all for a good cause though, with the Veronicas twin in negotiations with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Apparently the animal rights group spotted the popette sporting a faux fur jacket, emblazoned with the hand drawn message “F— Fur.” I’m sure Miss Origliasso’s wasn’t so censored though! The popstar and her sister Lisa also spoke up against the practices of a Chinese fur farm.

“Lisa and I support any foundation that is willing to educate and make a stand for animal liberation,” Jess told The Daily Telegraph.

“Death for these animals is a horror story – the most common method used for killing foxes is electrocution. I can’t speak for Lisa, but I admire the approach to the eye-catching photo shoots PETA do to get the important message out there. I would definitely love to be involved in something like that.”

If Jess does pose for PETA she’ll join other notable Aussie musicians including Natalie Imbruglia, Missy Higgins, and Something for Kate.

Image source: Pacific Coast News

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re having a wonderful Australia Day! Personally I’m planning on indulging in a few of the things that make this country so great. We’re visiting my parents to have a barbeque, knock back a few coldies, and listen to some great Aussie music. Does it get any better than that?

Here are a few top tunes to help you all feel just a little more patriotic!

An Australia Day cannot go past without listening to “Down Under” loudly and singing along, preferably after a few beers. Time marches on but this Men at Work classic never stops being fun.

GANGajang didn’t have a lot of hits, but they really didn’t need much more than this song to cement their place in Oz music history. “Sounds of Then” is often referred to as an unofficial anthem, with good reason!

Finally I’ll slow things down a little with Icehouse’s classic “Great Southern Land.” Doesn’t it just make you proud to be an Aussie?