Australia is known the world over for its sun, surf, and sand. And so when it doesn’t deliver for our international guests, I almost feel like we’re letting them down. Alas, today it was grey and stormy when I caught up with The Fray’s guitarist David Welsh for a chat. However, we were determined not to let the gloomy weather get us down as we chatted about the band’s current Aussie tour, upcoming album, and wave of success.

Arrivals At The MTV Australia Awards 2009

I’m sorry we couldn’t have turned on better weather for you!
You know what? It’s alright. We were in Singapore the last couple of days and it was blisteringly hot and humid. This is not bad.

You’re regular visitors to this country. What keeps you coming back?
Well we can still play here, so that’s a positive. It’s a great place to play, actually. I don’t know, it’s something about some combination of our music and the fans here, and the connection that that makes. I don’t know, it’s working and it’s a lot of fun.

You played the first show of your Aussie tour last night in Sydney. How did that go?
It was great. It was really great. There was some very great synergy between the people and us on stage. I think we kind of needed it. The Singapore show was a little rough; it was the first one in a couple of weeks off and we were a little rusty.

And I believe that the Asian audiences can be a bit more reserved too. Is that right?
I think anybody is reserved compared to an Australian!

Fair enough! Will you get a chance to do any sightseeing while you’re here?
I don’t know. I went to a store just now that a friend of mine from LA recommended and I got a shirt, so that’s cool. So that’s something I did!
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Legendary guitarist Slash will headline a very special show next month to celebrate the launch of pay TV channel MTV Classic.

MTV Classic will replace music channel VH1.It will focus on music from the 1980s through to the naughties. Gee it makes me feel old to see music from my generation is now classed as classic!

“Music is at the heart of MTV Classic … and who better to launch a channel devoted to iconic tracks and artists than one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, Slash,” said Rebecca Batties of MTV Networks. “We’re excited to be staging MTV Classic: The Launch in Melbourne – a city with major music heritage – and Slash’s performance will be an explosive start – and, no doubt, a defining moment – for MTV Classic and our audience.”

The Slash show will hit Melbourne’s Palace Theatre on April 28. If you’re lucky, you could win tickets through Nova and MTV Australia. Otherwise you’ll just have to catch it when MTV Classic launches at 5 pm on May 1!

Image source: Daigooliva @ Wikipedia Commons

We’re Not Alone, the debut EP from self proclaimed anti-scenesters Chemical Transport will hit record stores this Friday, April 2.

The EP delivers the band’s traditional grunge and nu-metal sounds with a surprising twist of pop rock and dance. The result is music that is both fresh and instantly accessible.

Chemical Transport will showcase tracks from the recording at the following shows. If there’s not one near you, don’t sweat it. The band promises to announce more gigs around the country soon!

10 April 2010 – Bondi Blitz, Bondi Beach
15 April 2010 – Bull n Bush, Baulkham Hills
24 April 2010 – Spectrum, Sydney
1 May 2010 – Tuggeranong Youth Centre, Tuggeranong

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

Long time readers of my blog would have some idea of the music I embrace and the concerts I tend to frequent. None of these readers would expect to find me at a Bacardi Express show, yet when a couple of complimentary passes were thrown my way I figured “Why not broaden my horizons?”

I felt like a bit of a fish out of water as I queued with all the young things at Newcastle Panthers. I haven’t been into a nightclub for more than a decade, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to have such a good time.

After DJ Sampology warmed up the crowds, the Cassette Kids took to the stage. After interviewing them earlier in the month I developed a soft spot for these talented young Aussies, and they didn’t let me down. Lead singer Katrina is such a compelling performer; I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She thanked the growing crowd for arriving early, and they responded to the big hits “Spin” and “Nothing on TV.” They might have been the first act on the bill, but for me they were the best.

I was also impressed with Miami Horror, although I admit I couldn’t place them until they performed “Sometimes.” I hadn’t heard any of their other material before, but their retro pop influences made the tunes feel familiar nonetheless. As a child of the 80s, I really enjoyed their synth driven sound and happily danced along with the growing throng.

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Combine heavy synth and moody indie beats and you’ve got Wren, one of the most exciting new acts to come out of Melbourne.

Songstress Tess Henderson evokes Angie Hart with her ethereal voice and vulnerability, something sorely lacking in the electro music landscape. Her angelic voice is a delicious contrast to the darker instrumentation of bandmates Tarko Sibbel on synths, James Tudball on drums, and Jules Pascoe on bass.

“Wren is about finding a musical balance between light and shade and exploring more challenging themes,” Tess explained in a statement. “I am so fortunate to have such phenomenal musicians/writers involved in this new project. I’m absolutely loving working with them.”

Melbournians can check out what Wren are all about when they support Jackson Jackson at The Evelyn on 23 April.

Image used with permission from Eileen Francisco

Central Coast rock outfit The Lazys are hitting the road to support their brand new single “Hey Mr Mr.” The track is just a taste of things to come, with the band’s debut album Prison Earth scheduled to hit stores this June.

If you’ve never seen The Lazys live, there’s no better time. The straight up rockers have built up a solid live reputation after support slots with Gyroscope, The Living End, and Grinspoon, not to mention appearances at the Come Together and Coaster festivals. See what all the fuss is about when The Lazys arrive in your town!

8 April 2010 – The Troubadour, Brisbane
9 April 2010 – Bon Amici Café, Toowoomba
10 April 2010 – Miami Tavern, Gold Coast
14 April 2010 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
16 April 2010 – Spectrum, Sydney
17 April 2010 – Pot Bellys Bar, Canberra
22 April 2010 – Rubys Lounge, Belgrave
23 April 2010 – Cherry Bar, Melbourne
24 April 2010 – The National Hotel, Geelong
6 May 2010 – The Oxford Hotel, Wollongong
8 May 2010 – Woodport Inn, Erina
12 May 2010 – Irish Murphies, Launceston
13 May 2010 – Spurs Saloon, Devonport
14 May 2010 – Magintys Bar, Burnie
15 May 2010 – The Brisbane Hotel (All ages in the afternoon, 18+ at night)

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

Things are on the up for moody psychedelic outfit The Black Ryder. The band has just inked deals which will see their debut album Buy The Ticket, Take the Ride released in Japan and the United States of America.

Rave reviews at home inspired Vinyl Junkie in Japan and Mexican Summer in the USA to take a chance on the Aussie duo. Of course, it’s not really much of a gamble. Aimee Nash and Scott Ryper earned international acclaim as part of The Morning After Girls, and the album features collaborations with Ricky Maymi of Brian Jonestown Massacre and Leah Shapiro and Peter Hayes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Live shows from The Black Ryder are somewhat of a rarity, which makes their recent appointment as support act for the Cult’s Love Live national tour this May even more exciting. You can see the Black Ryder and The Cult at the following shows around the country.

5 May 2010 – The Tivoli, Brisbane
6 May 2010 – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney
8 May 2010 – Palais Theatre, Melbourne
10 May 2010 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
12 May 2010 – Metro Theatre, Perth

Image used with permission from Original Matters

As an old school music fan, I’m a big supporter of Record Store Day. There’s just something so satisfying about thumbing through the CDs and taking your tangible purchases to the counter that iTunes and the like could never hope to replicate.

Record Store Day celebrates that experience with appearances from some of the music industry’s heavy hitters. Last year we saw Jessica Mauboy, Short Stack, Wes Carr, and even Irishman Ronan Keating making old-fashioned instore appearances, and I’m expecting another big line-up this year.

To see who’s visiting your local record store on April 17 keep an eye on the Record Store Day website. There’s been no announcements made as yet, but if the first year was any indication this one’s going to be big!

Image source: Opethpainter @ Flickr

You might have caught Yacht Club DJs in the dance tents of festivals like Coaster, Meredith, Field Day, and Splendour in the Grass. Now that the weather is cooling the duo is setting out on their own Batten Down the Hatches tour.

The tour is something of an arrival for the band who are moving away from underground clubs and into some of the top music venues around the country. Brisbane duo DZ and promising young indie rockers Howl will join in the fun.

Apparently we can expect “on-stage nudity, crowd invasions, dancing on the decks, and wild water sports.” If that sounds like your kind of thing make sure you catch one of the following shows!

25 March 2010 – Transit Bar, Canberra
26 & SAT 27 March 2010  – Spectrum, Sydney
1 April 2010 – The National Hotel, Geelong
2 April 2010 – Prince of Wales, St Kilda
3 April 2010  – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
4 April 2010 – Jive, Adelaide
8 April 2010 – Never Land Bar, Coolangatta
9 April 2010  – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
10 April 2010 – The Zoo, Brisbane

Image source: Yacht Club DJs MySpace

Crowded House have a new home, with the band leaving long-time record company EMI for Universal Music. The first release under the new deal will be the album Intriguer, which should hit stores in the middle of the year.

Lead singer Neil Finn is apparently delighted with the move, commenting “I look forward to a long and productive relationship with Universal Music, who are obviously the music company setting the benchmark now. We’re delighted to be in the company of music-loving people who believe in us and are eager to spread the word.”

Local fans may get a sneak peek at some of the band’s new material when they play a couple of Australian and New Zealand dates in the next few weeks ahead of their European tour. The band will then head to the United States. Here are all those dates for my readers abroad!

28 March 2010 – West Coast Blues & Roots Festival, Fremantle
31 March 2010 – Enmore Theatre, Newtown
1 April 2010 – Bluesfest, Byron Bay
8 April 2010 – Town Hall, Auckland
18 May 2010 – Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne
19 May 2010 – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
21 May 2010 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh
22 May 2010 – Music Hall, Aberdeen
24 & 25 May 2010 – Symphony Hall, Birmingham
26 & 27 May 2010 – Apollo Manchester, Manchester
29 May 2010 – Royal Theatre and Event Centre, Castlebar
30 & 31 May 2010 – Olympia Theatre, Dublin
2 June 2010 – Colston Hall, Bristol
3 June 2010 – Plymouth Pavilions, Plymouth
4 June 2010 – Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff
6 June 2010 – New Theatre Oxford, Oxford
8 – 10 June 2010 – HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London
12 June 2010 – Isle of Wight Festival, Newport
14 June 2010 – Train, Aarhus
16 June 2010 – Amager Bio, Copenhagen
18 June 2010 – Vorst Nationaal, Brussels
20 June 2010 – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
21 June 2010 – Essigfabrik, Cologne
24 June 2010 – Sala Razzmatazz, Barcelona
25 June 2010 – Sala Heineken, Madrid
26 July 2010 – Filene Center At Wolf Trap, Vienna (USA)

Image source: Alterna2 @ Flickr