Indie label Broken Stone Records is hitting the road with some of its most promising artists for a roadshow extravaganza.

Up and comers Sister Jane, Magnetic Heads, The Maple Trail, and Caitlin Park will touch down in key capitals and a selection of regional towns next month. The musical acts will be backed by live footage VJ-ing and projections of their video clips. The events will also include an exhibition of artworks seen in Broken Stone’s film clips and on the album covers.

The events are a fantastic opportunity for music lovers to discover some hot new talent. Tickets are on sale now from the venues.

9 February 2012 – Bellingen Memorial Hall, Bellingen (All Ages)
10 February 2012 – Byron Bay Brewery Bryon Bay
11 February 2012 – The Waiting Room, Brisbane (All Ages)
17 February 2012 – The Street Theatre, Canberra (All Ages)
18 February 2012 – Kyneton Town Hall, Kyneton (All Ages)
19 February 2012 – Horse Bazaar, Melbourne
22 February 2012 – The Lass, Newcastle
23 February 2012 – The Standard, Sydney
24 February – The Clifton School of Arts, Clifton (All Ages)
25 February – The Baroque Bar, Katoomba

Image source: Broken Stone Records website

I was lucky enough to catch Busby Marou and Georgia Fair last night as their 5 Rocks tour made its final pitstop at Newcastle’s Lizotte’s. A night out at Lizotte’s always feels indulgent, and when it’s married with performances from two of Australia’s most promising up and coming acts it’s made even more exciting.
I’ve been casually following Georgia Fair’s career for the last couple of years now, and I was thrilled to see how much they’ve grown. The banter with the crowd still feels a bit stilted, but all that awkwardness melts away once the music starts. The lads complement one another so beautifully, both with their instruments and their voices, and it’s a pleasure to witness. I can’t recall observing a crowd so hushed during a support act’s set in some time.

I loved Georgia Fair, but Busby Marou took the energy levels up a notch. They haven’t been on the national scene for very long, but their performance felt so comfortable and easy. Again we were treated to some incredible harmonies and a stunning meeting of instruments. I’ve loved the duo’s songs since I heard their self-titled debut album last year, but they took on extra meaning with the explanations Tom gave. I was thrilled to hear all my favourite cuts from the album, but out of my skin excited to hear them cover “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” It seems the cover came about on Triple J’s Like a Version sessions, but I hadn’t heard it before. What an introduction to its existence though. I thought I might have bounced out of my seat with joy.

My Dad often bemoans the state of modern music and longs for the glory days of the 60s and 70s. Yet after watching the performance even he concedes that with bands like Busby Marou and Georgia Fair around, the future of our local scene is in very safe hands.

Image source: own photos

Mornington Peninsula’s President Roots are helping me ease into my working week with the release of their double A side single “Feelin’ Fooled/Cool Change.”

“Feelin’ Fooled” is a warm folky number that swells with guitars, fiddles, a slinky beat, and a healthy dose of good vibes. “Cool Change” is a much more chilled cut inspired by the Victorian bushfires of 2009. The band wrote the track for a benefit show way back then, and I’m thrilled it’s finally reaching a wider audience.

President Roots will play some national shows to promote the single and forthcoming album, but until those dates are announced local fans can catch them at the Baha Taco Joint in Rye on February 12 and 25.

Image used with permission from Show Off Services

I haven’t been the greatest fan of Neil Finn’s latest venture Pajama Club. However I always find myself coming back to the band’s music, trying to find the genius that I know has to be in there. This is the guy who gave us Crowded House and Split Enz after all!

I wouldn’t say I’m hearing genius in their latest single “TNT for Two,” but there are certainly glimpses of it. The song may be their most accessible yet, especially stripped back as it is in this live recording at Round Head Studios.

Can you dig it?

Melbourne community radio station PBS 106.7FM is showcasing local music with its annual Drive Live event.

From February 6 to 10, local acts will take over the station’s drive time shift. Three acts will play each day, with up and comers Graveyard Train, Stella Angelico, and Howl at the Moon already slated to appear.

You could listen to it from the comfort of your car, or if you’re a PBS member you could see the bands in the flesh. You can RSVP from tomorrow, so make sure you keep an eye on the PBS website to find out how.

The website also comes in handy if you’re not local as you can stream the Drive Live broadcasts from your computer anywhere in the world. So there’s no excuse for missing out on the fun!

Image used with permission from Show Off Recordings

I’ve fallen hard for the raw confessional lyrics and sweet ethereal voice of Brisbane singer-songwriter Diefenbach. He sent me his song “Loser” this week, a cut from his sophomore album Missing Person, and I just can’t stop playing it.

It seems I should have discovered this Queensland talent some time ago. He’s won a bunch of cabaret awards and performed alongside Kate Miller-Heidke, Paul Capsis, and The Dresden Dolls. There’s a gorgeous sense of theatre to his music, but it doesn’t feel as dated and affected as some showtunes do.

I’m really keen to hear more, so I’ll make sure to post a review of Missing Person up here when I get my hands on the disc. But before then I wanted to make sure you all know about Diefenbach’s album tour. He’ll play a string of acoustic shows in Melbourne bookended by full band sets in Sydney and Brisbane. On the strength of this one incredible song I have no hesitation urging you all to get out and hear Diefenbach’s amazing music at the following shows!

9 February 2012 – El Rocco, Potts Point
10-12 February 2012 – The Butterfly Club, South Melbourne
16 February 2012 – The Zoo, Fortitude Valley

Image used with permission from Jake Diefenbach

It seemed like every time I switched on my TV on Australia Day, Shannon Noll’s face was staring back at me. I should have guessed he wasn’t simply getting patriotic; there’s a Nollsy tour a-brewing.

He’ll head back on the road next month to support the release of “Living in Stereo,” the latest cut from his newish album A Million Suns. Never one to do things by halves, the tour will run for five months and take in more than 30 cities across six states and territories.

Shannon is promising to play new tracks and plenty of old favourites backed by a full band. As he’s been performing in acoustic mode for some time it’ll be great to hear him really rocking out.

“Really looking forward to getting back out on the road to play in front of my fans, it’s been too long,” Shannon said in a statement. “I’m really happy with the new show, and I think my set is the strongest it’s ever been. Bring on the first gig!”

Tickets are on sale now for the following shows.

24 February 2012 – Charles Hotel, Perth
25 February 2012 – Endeavour Tavern, Lancelin
26 February 2012 – Ravenswood Hotel, Ravenswood
17 March 2012 – Hallam Hotel, Hallam
23 March 2012 – Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi
24 March 2012 – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill
30 March 2012 – Castle Hill RSL, Castle Hill
31 March 2012 – North Sydney Leagues Club, North Sydney
13 April 2012 – Mounties, Mt Prichard
20 April 2012 – Canberra Southern Cross Club Events Centre, Canberra
21 April 2012 – The Cube at Campbelltown Catholic Club, Campbelltown
27 April 2012 – Dapto Leagues, Dapto
28 April 2012 – Penrith Panthers, Penrith
4 May 2012 – Urban Country Music Festival @ Queensland State Equestrian Centre, Caboolture
5 May 2012 – Yamba Bowling Club, Yamba
9 May 2012 – Nautilus Theatre, Port Lincoln
10 May 2012 – Middleback Theatre, Whyalla
11 May 2012 – Keith Mitchell Theatre, Port Pirie
12 May 2012 – The Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide
13 May 2012 – Sir Robert Helpman Theatre, Mt Gambier
19 May 2012 – Wentworthville Leagues Club, Wentworthville
25 May 2012 – Taren Point Hotel, Taren Point
26 May 2012 – Belmont 16FT Sailing Club, Belmont
9 June 2012 – Bathurst Panthers, Bathhurst
10 June 2012 – Dubbo RSL, Dubbo
22 June 2012 – Albury Entertainment Centre, Albury
23 June 2012 – Wagga Wagga Civic Centre, Wagga Wagga
29 June 2012 – Fitzy’s Loganholme, Logan
30 June 2012 – Twin Towns Services Club, Gold Coast

Image used with permission from Universal Music

Did you enjoy last night’s broadcast of Straight To You – Triple J’s Tribute to Nick Cave? Well if so you’re in luck, because the ABC is about to release the double CD and DVD.

The show was a fitting homage to Nick’s career, from his early outfits Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party to his celebrated work with The Bad Seeds and newish outfit Grinderman. He’s the most continually played artist on Triple J, an incredible feat that’s a testimony to his longevity.

Triple J assembled an amazing collection of artists who showed a clear appreciation for the material they tackled. I particularly loved Bertie Blackman and Muscles take on “Do You Love Me?,” Lisa Mitchell’s gorgeous version of “The Ship Song,” and Kram, Dan Sultan, and Lisa getting together on “There is a Kingdom.”

I can relive all those moments and more when the double CD hits stores on February 10. The DVD will follow on March 2.

Image used with permission from Universal Music Australia

With Australia Day celebrations in full swing it seems an appropriate time to mention that one of our most dinky-di performers, John Williamson, will release his new album The Big Red tomorrow.

The Big Red is actually John’s 48th studio recording, which is a fair effort by anyone’s summation. It features songs penned by John over the past three years about our country and its people. You know what you’re getting here; John’s always reliable and that’s exactly why we love him.

The album features the first single “Hang My Hat in Queensland,” which is an autobiographical tale of John’s life in the Sunshine State.

“At last The Big Red is out of the box. I think those who know my music will think ‘Yes! This is what we’ve been waiting for from Willo.’ For those who don’t know; clear the mind of American influences. This is purely Australian. I hope it makes you as proud as I am of the place,” he said in a statement.

John will see plenty of his beloved country over the coming months when he embarks on The Big Red tour. Tickets are available from the venues for the following shows.

27 January 2011 -  Tamworth Town Hall, Tamworth
16 February 2011 -  Wellington Entertainment Centre, Sale
17 February 2011 -  Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, Wonthaggi
18 February 2011 -  Frankston Cultural Centre, Frankston
19 February 2011 -  West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul
22 February 2011 -  ’99 on York’, Sydney
24 February 2011 -  Swan Yacht Club, East Fremantle
1 March 2011 -  Redlands Performing Arts Centre, Cleveland
2 March 2011 -  Logan Entertainment Centre, Logan Central
3 March 2011 – Empire Theatre, Toowoomba
4 March 2011 -  Caloundra RSL, Caloundra
21 March 2011 -  ’99 on York’, Sydney
29 March 2011 -  Shepparton Eastbank Centre, Shepparton
30 March 2011 -  Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat
31 March 2011 -  Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, Hamilton
1 April 2011 -  Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Geelong
11 April 2011 -  Brolga Theatre, Maryborough
12 April 2011 -  Pilbeam Theatre, Rockhampton
13 April 2011 -  Mackay Entertainment Centre, Mackay
14 April 2011 -  Townsville Civic Theatre, South Townsville
18 April 2011 -  ’99 on York’, Sydney
19 April 2011 -  Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Cessnock
20 April 2011 -  Newcastle West Leagues Club, New Lambton
21 April 2011 -  Nelsons Bay Diggers, Nelson Bay
22 April 2011 -  Toronto Workers Club, Toronto
4 May 2011 -  Campbelltown RSL Club, Campbelltown
5 May 2011 -  North Sydney Leagues Club, Cammeray
6 May 2011 -  Castle Hill RSL Club, Castle Hill
16 May 2011 -  Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany
17 May 2011 -  Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, Bunbury
18 May 2011 -  Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Mandurah
19 May 2011 -  Queens Park Theatre, Geraldton
23 May 2011 -  ’99 on York’, Sydney
24 May 2011 -  Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst
25 May 2011 -  Orange Ex-Services Club, Orange
26 May 2011 -  Dubbo Regional Theatre, Dubbo
27 May 2011 -  Condobolin RSL Club, Condobolin

Image source: John Williamson media room

Buckley Ward have set the scene for a cracking new album with the release of the sophomore single “Into the Darkening Blue.”

I love the track’s natural, almost accidental harmonies and the casually lush meeting of guitars and keyboards. It’s got just the right amount of optimism for a summer single.

“Into the Darkening Blue” comes from Buckley Ward’s second album So Pretend, which will hit stores soon. Until then music fans in the major capitals can satisfy their fix with a blink and you’ll miss it single launch tour. Buckley Ward will play Sydney’s FBI Social Club on February 11 before moving on to Melbourne’s Buffalo Club on February 18.

Image used with permission from Show Off Recordings