We’re only a few months in, but already 2011 has been a big year for Ben Wells and The Middle Names.

This cool indie-folk-pop outfit sextet from Tasmania has played sets at major festivals including Falls, MS Fest, and One Fine Day. The won three Amplified Awards, sold out some local shows, and just released their first single “Old Sea Salt.”

The song is stunning, and its B-side “Lullaby” is every bit as strong. I love the way that the vocal harmonies interplay with acoustic guitars and strings to create a lush, organic sound.

You can download “Old Sea Salt” for free on through the Triple J Unearthed website. Have a listen and let me know what you think!

Image source: Triple J Unearthed website

Turkish Australian singer songwriter Behiye Suren celebrates her rich cultural heritage with her debut EP Season of Plums, which hits record stores today.

There’s certainly an Eastern flavour to her sound, but it’s not so spicy that it’ll alienate Aussie audiences. There’s a folky, organic soulfulness about her music and a haunting quality about her vocals that calls to mind Aimee Mann, Lior, and Joan Baez. I’m particularly enamoured with “All I Am Seeing Is Your Face,” which you can hear on Behiye’s website, along with the other EP tracks.

With this EP Behiye hopes to introduce Australia to her music. She’s teasing us a bit, as she’s preparing to head to Istanbul and the Middle East to perform and write her debut album. But rest assures, she’ll be back in September to start preparing for a local tour. Bring it on!

Image used with permission from Positive Feedback

After hearing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” one too many times I was a bit soured for teen female talent. But it’s important to remember that every young female songwriter isn’t going to unleash drivel upon us. And when we’re lucky, they’re as talented as the girls from Ooh La La.

Ooh La La are Laura Pattison and Lauren Hodge, two 15-year-old girls from Griffith who’ve just released their debut single “The Saint That Sinned.” It’s gorgeous stuff, with stunning vocals and great instrumentation. And yes, that’s Laura and Lauren playing the acoustic guitar and mandolin. These girls aren’t just good for their ages; they’re just good.

The Vines will kick off this year’s Russian Standard Vodka Live at the Chapel series will blistering set at Newtown’s St Stephen’s Anglican Church on May 26. It won’t be your typical church music, that’s for sure!

The show will allow the rejuvenated Aussie act to showcase tunes from their forthcoming album Future Primitive, which will hit stores on June 3. The disc features the brand new single “Gimme Love.”

“We’re stoked to play Live At The Chapel, following in the footsteps of some bands that we really admire, like Foo Fighters and Coldplay,” said the band’s lead singer Craig Nicholls. “Can’t wait to play the new album live!”

Head to the Live at the Chapel website to win your way into this exclusive show. It’ll later end up on TV screens, but we all know watching it on the small screen can’t compare to being there!

Image used with permission from Burson-Marsteller

Four of Perth’s finest musicians – vocalists Earl Cole, Jay Weston, Clara Helms, and pianist David Wickham – are teaming up to celebrate some of the greatest music ever written for one special night at Mosmans Restaurant.

The musicians will perform the songs of the Gershwin brothers and Cole Porter at this intimate dinner show on May 25. Together these songwriters created some of the most iconic music of all time. To hear it at the riverside restaurant, while enjoying a three-course feast, sounds sublime.

Tickets cost $129 per person, a steal for the three courses, bubbly on arrival, and all the entertainment. Book your place by calling the restaurant on (08) 9383 3388.

Image used with permission from Earl Cole

Lachy Doley has created one of the most fun singles I’ve heard in ages with “Pressure of the Cool.”

Make sure you take notice of the lyrics as you listen to this joyful pop anthem about being yourself, no matter how socially unacceptable that may be. In a world full of gloomy emo tunes this upbeat song is a real sunny spot.

Sydneysiders who like what they hear can catch Lachy launching the track at Newtown’s Sandringham Hotel this Friday, April 29. Who needs the royal wedding right? This sounds like much more fun!

I had a massive response when I featured Barry Southgate’s debut single “Don’t You Think” here a few months ago. So I figured it was about time that I updated you on what Barry’s been up to.

It’s been a big couple of months for the former Australian Idol finalist. He recently took the stage in Sydney with Diafrix to support British rapper Tinie Tempah, and got the attention of music critics in Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and even Morocco!

The timing of all this attention couldn’t be more perfect, with Barry preparing to release his debut EP Epitome later this month. After being blown away with “Don’t You Think,” I can’t wait to hear the rest!

Image used with permission from Barry Southgate

It’s ANZAC Day, a time when we’re all stopping to reflect on the men and women who so bravely serve in the armed forces so that we can enjoy one of the best qualities of life in the Western world. It’s not just about those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, but the people who continue to bravely battle for freedom, who leave their partners, children, and parents behind so that the rest of us can enjoy the day to day privileges of being Australian.

This isn’t the time or place to get into an argument about whether it’s right that we continue to lose lives in Afghanistan, or send soldiers to wars that don’t seem like ours. It’s just a time to sit, contemplate, and give thanks.

In my opinion 1927 were one of the most underrated bands of the 80s and 90s. “Compulsory Hero” was one of those underappreciated songs that certainly holds up. Today its lyrics have some extra resonance. So listen, take it in, and take a moment to think of the soldiers. Lest we forget.

Dead Letter Chorus have charmed me with their new single “Yellow House,” the third from their forthcoming self-produced effort album Yearlings.

I love the optimism of this tune, the way the voices swell together, joining with the organic instrumentation in some kind of celebration. It’s happy music, just what we need this Easter right?

If you’re digging it as much as I am, make sure you stay tuned for some local tour dates soon. The Sydney band are preparing to travel are travelling around the country this July ahead of their Canadian tour in October.

Image used with permission from Show off Services

You might not know the name Tonight Alive yet, but just wait for it. The Sydney pop-punk quintet are generating some major buzz around the world for their energetic riffs and melodic sensibilities.

Their self-funded debut EP All Shapes and Disguises earned rave reviews last year, and they’re set to continue the trend with the release of their first long player. Tonight Alive have definitely stepped up to the big leagues now, having enlisted Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Jimmy World) to serve as producer.

You can get a taste of that disc with “Breaking & Entering.” If you like what you see here make sure you head to the band’s website, as the track is currently available for free download.