This was all set to be a busy gig weekend for me. I caught Bachelor Girl last night at Lizotte’s, and tonight I was supposed to head back there to see Jordie Lane. Sadly though that gig has been cancelled at the last minute, so instead I’ve got a date with homemade lasagna and Masterchef. A Sunday shouldn’t be entirely devoid of Jordie though, so instead I figured I’d show you his new music video for “Not From Round Here.”

It was shot by up-and-coming filmmaker Darius Devas around New South Wales’ Byron Shire, and it really suits this gentle, rambling song perfectly. This is perfect Sunday music, don’t you think? It’s a shame I’m not experiencing it in the flesh tonight, but it’s probably the next best thing!

I first saw Bachelor Girl in the last 90s. They’d just released “Buses and Trains” and the strength of that song saw them supporting The Goo Goo Dolls at the humble Newcastle Workers Club. I was a young thing then, keen as mustard to catch a live show, and so I arrived with plenty of time to catch their set. I remember being struck by the power of the pint-sized Tania Doko, the charisma of this tiny creature who sang pop songs that were far more intelligent than the average.

A lot of years have passed, but I was every bit as impressed as I caught them on their extended reunion tour last night at Lizotte’s. “The Cubby House’s” small stage was warmed up by singer-songwriter Beth Robertson. Her set was simple but moving. It was touching to see her interacting with her guitar-playing husband, and hear the way her voice fit so perfectly with her back-up singing sister. An ode to Newcastle and its small-town feel inevitably won me over, and her stripped back cover of Katy Perry’s “California Girls” was another highlight. It was a set without frills, but its sincerity and simplicity won me over. I really hope to catch Beth somewhere again; she was brilliant.

Bachelor Girl have certainly lost nothing over the years. If anything the time apart seems to have done Tania Doko and James Roche good, as they appear to be performing with real joy. There’s an easiness about the way they appear on stage that can only come from so much time together.

Their set was punctuated by the big singles, but also featured some of the “lost songs” only heard on the new greatest hits album. I didn’t know all the tunes, but I didn’t need to. It was much more fun to discover them as the evening unfolded, listening to the lyrics and the anecdotes James and Tania told between tunes.

The acoustic setting shed a new light on the songs I’ve loved for years. Songs like “Permission to Shine” and “Treat Me Good” were played to death on radio in their day, but I found a new appreciation for them last night. To hear personal favourites “Buses and Trains,” “Lucky Me” and “I’m Just a Girl” once more in the live setting was another thrill. And their version of “Help,” which has only been performed a handful of times, was breathtaking.

There aren’t too many second chances in life, but I’m thrilled I got another chance to see Bachelor Girl. They were one of the most talented Aussie acts of the 90s, and in 2011 they’re sounding every bit as good.

Image source: own photos

Bad Seeds founder Hugo Race is returning to our shores to play intimate shows supporting his new album Fatalists this August.

Melbourne-born Hugo is truly a man of the world, after spending much of the last 25 years living in Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States. During that time he recorded 14 albums with the world music outfit True Spirit, two with the Sicilian act Sepiatone, and a host of other cross-cultural collaborations. Amazingly Fatalists is his first solo venture.

Blink and you’ll miss him; Hugo Race will play The Zoo in Brisbane on August 25 before moving on to Sydney’s Vanguard the following night.

Image used with permission from Other Tongues

Go/No-Go have spent the better part of 2011 writing and recording their follow-up to their debut album Autofocus, and they’re almost ready to unleash it. The album doesn’t drop until summer, but we’ve got our first taste with the single “Phase Out.” It’s currently available as a free download through their Bandcamp page.

To celebrate the big launch the band will play a free show for their hometown fans at Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel on the August 13. This is the first chance for punters to see the brand new Go/No-Go line-up. Keyboardist Steve Allison has filled the shoes of departed drummer Nicholai Danko, although he hasn’t left the keys behind entirely. He now shares those duties with lead singer Steve Claxton. Going from a five-piece to a quartet is bound to shift the band’s dynamic, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing.

So clear your schedule – Go/No-Go are back in business!

The songs of Nick Drake, some of the world’s best performers, and some of Australia’s most gorgeous venues sounds like a recipe for some pretty fabulous evenings. So it’s exciting to see that the internationally acclaimed Nick Drake tribute show Way to Blue is winging its way to Oz.

The show should be very close to what Nick Drake may have imagined had he lived long enough, as it’s curated by his original producer Joe Boyd. It’ll star musicians from around the world including Robyn Hitchcock, Lisa Hannigan, Krystle Warren, Vashti Bunyan, and Scritti Politti singer Green Gartside. And of course we’ll also see a bunch of local stars added to the lineup.

Way to Blue will play the Sydney Opera House on November 11 and Melbourne’s Recital Center on November 14 and 15. Tickets go on sale on August 22, so there’s plenty of time to get saving!

Image source: Wikipedia

It seems Ben Salter has the touring bug. He’s about to hit the road to support Felix Reibl, and his just announced some solo shows once those dates wrap up. Ben’s will head out to support the release of his long-awaited debut album The Cat.

The disc doesn’t even hit stores until August 5, and critics are already calling it “an album to remember.” That shouldn’t come as a great surprise though; as a founding member of bands like The Gin Club, Giants of Science, and The Wilson Pickers Ben certainly knows his stuff.

You can see him doing his stuff supporting Felix Reibl next month, but if you’re looking for a longer set get yourself along to one of the following headliner shows.

1 September 2011 – The Bird, Perth
2 September 2011 – Norfolk Basement, Fremantle
3 September 2011 – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide
7 September 2011 – Big Sound Showcase @ Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
9 September 2011 – The Vanguard, Sydney
15 September 2011 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
16 September 2011 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
17 September 2011 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
22 September 2011 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
23 September 2011 – The Zoo, Brisbane
24 September 2011 – The Spotted Cow, Toowomba

Image used with permission from Two Fish Out of Water

I was pretty excited when I heard Naughty by Nature and The Living End would headline this year’s Fat as Butter festival. Thankfully the rest of the line-up lives up to that early promise.

There’s plenty of top quality local talent, with Empire of the Sun, Sparkadia, Cloud Control, The Jezabels, British India, Calling All Cars, and Evil Eddie all on the bill. And there are more international acts too, including Flo Rida and Sinden.

Tickets to the website presale go on offer from August 1, which doesn’t give music lovers a lot of saving time. Thankfully though there’s an innovative Time to Pay ticket option, which allows students and other punters strapped for cash to pay for their tickets in three installments. You’ll need to register for presale tickets on the Fat as Butter website to take advantage of that option.

Fat as Butter hits Newcastle’s Camp Shortland at The Foreshore on October 22.

Image source: Fat as Butter website

After being impressed by several singles, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into I Know This Now, the debut album from Timothy Nelson and The Infidels. It’s been a disc I’ve anticipated for several months, so I can only but imagine how folks in the outfit’s home state of Western Australia have felt. However thankfully for us all, it’s been worth the wait.

Timothy Nelson is far from a household name, but he’s been carving out a solid career in WA over the past five years. There he sells out venues, he earns top support slots, and he’s even won the WAMi for song of the year twice. Not bad for an artist who’s only just turned 21.

Given his tender years, I think this album has been worth waiting for. It’s given the long player a very accomplished feel. There’s an easiness to it, an awareness of craft, that we don’t often see in a debut. Don’t mistake that skill for artificial polish though. It’s folk with a little bit of rock edge that comes from Tim’s earnest vocals. The lyrics are also exceptional, as we might expect in an artist lauded for his songwriting. The songs are approachable, but the use of harmonicas and lap steel guitars ensures the music still feels unique.

I wrote more notes about this collection of songs than I think I’ve done all year. That’s a testimony to their quality. There really are no filler tracks here, and just when I thought I’d found my favourite I heard another determined to change my mind. At this point I think “All For the Good of Love” might have the title. Its lyrics were amazing, and these words and the fairly minimal instrumentation helped me feel this song to the core. That sort of connection is pretty special. But I also loved the Whitlam-esque piano driven quirk of “You Don’t Know What You’re Waiting For,” the romantic modern waltz “Speak The Truth in Love,” and the irresistibly hooky “Let Her Go,” which had me singing along with the chorus well before the end of the song.

Timothy Nelson & the Infidels may just be one of Western Australia’s best kept secrets. Thank goodness the rest of Australia is finally able to discover this talented band.

The line-up for this year’s Falls Music & Arts Festival is looking even more irresistible with the latest round of announcements.

Amongst the latest international additions are old-school soul man Aloe Blacc, unhinged American electro-dance wiz Dan Deacon, quirky Brits The Kooks, French popsters Nouvelle Vague, and Young MC. Yes that Young MC, of “Bust a Move” fame. I’m not sure he’ll be able to entertain the crowds much beyond that 90s gem, but I’m loving the novelty factor.

The shows will also mark the homecoming of Aussie songbird Missy Higgins. She’ll play alongside other recently announced local talent including Emma Louise, Pnau, and the hilarious Josh Thomas.

Add in all the other already announced names, including Arctic Monkeys, Fleet Foxes, Josh Pyke, The Jezabels, and Arj Barker and you’ve got an incredible way to ring in the New Year.

They’ll all play the all ages event in Marion Bay, Tasmania from December 29 to 31 and the adults only version in Lorne, Victoria from December 28 to 31. To secure your possie, make sure you add your name to the ticket ballot on the Falls Festival website before August 5. The majority of tickets will be distributed amongst these Falls die-hards before the general sale on August 17.

Image used with permission from Two Fish Out of Water

Gurrumul Yunupingu has released “Gopuru,” the first single from his gold-selling sophomore album Rrakala.

Listening to a song like this just really brings home the power of music. I received a press release detailing what the song was about, but I almost felt like I didn’t need to read it. I usually focus on lyrics and rely on them to get to the heart of a song, but Gurrumul’s music transcends all that.

If you must know, this song describes the rhythms of a totemic fish as it makes its way through the sea. It feels a lot bigger than that simple explanation though, doesn’t it?

If you’re moved by Gurrumul’s music remember that he’ll embark on his first national tour next month. Tickets are selling fast though – they’ve even had to announce a second Sydney show – so I wouldn’t wait too long to get yours.

24 August 2011 – Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart
26 August 2011 – Riverside Theatre Perth Convention Centre, Perth
29 & 30 August 2011 – Sydney Opera House, Sydney
1 September 2011 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
3 September 2011 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
5 September 2011 – Royal Theatre @ Canberra Convention Centre, Canberra
7 September 2011 – The Palais, St Kilda