Ben Ottewell will leave his Gomez bandmates behind next month when he embarks on an Australian solo tour. Ben will treat fans to tracks from his 2011 solo album Shapes and Shadows and favourites from the Gomez back catalogue.

As if Ben’s spine-tingling voice wasn’t enough to sucker you in, the venues are stellar. Each one is intimate, all the better for showcasing Ben’s incredible songwriting talent. As an extra drawcard, Melbourne bluesy multi-instrumentalist Matt Walker will serve as the support on all but the Western Australian show.

This video of Ben performing his album’s title track acoustically on Billboard Live Studio Sessions should get you in the mood for the following shows!

26 June 2013 – Mojo’s, Freemantle
27 June 2013 – Grace Emily, Adelaide
28 June 2013 – The Substation, Newport
29 & 30 June 2013 – The Workers Club, Fitzroy
4 July 2013 – The Barwon Club, Geelong
5 July 2013 – Theatre Royal Castlemaine
7 July 2013 – Lizotte’s, Dee Why
10 July 2013 – Lizotte’s, Newcastle
11 July 2013 – The Basement, Sydney
12 July 2013 – Lizotte’s, Kincumber
13 July 2013 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla
14 July 2013 – Old Museum, Brisbane

Perth sister act Blanche Dubois are spreading their wings and taking on North America. The Perth girls will showcase their stirring pop-folk tunes with shows in the United States and Canada next month.

Blanche Dubois are celebrating the release of their most recent recording Young Heart, which features the gorgeous single “The War in Me”.

If you like what you hear America, make sure you catch them on their rare trip to your part of the world.

5 June 2013 – Hotel Café, Los Angeles
13 June 2013 – NXNE Showcase @ Tranzac, Toronto
14 June 2013 – NXNE Showcase @ Czehoski, Toronto
20 June 2013 – Pianos, New York

Image used with permission from The Planetary Group

You might remember Lenka from the early noughties outfit Decoder Ring, or that irresistibly catchy pop song from 2008, “The Show”. Either way, you’re likely to be surprised by the sweet tunes she’s showcasing on her third solo album Shadows.

This album is sure to answer the prayers of parents across the nation. It’s a collection of lullabies that don’t suck! Penned while Lenka was pregnant with her first child, the disc includes the hand-clapping new single “Heart to the Party.” The film clip with footage of a childhood birthday party sets the scene. Lenka’s bound to find a brand new audience with Shadows, which hits stores on June 7.

The Smith Street Band seem hell-bent on world domination. They’ll barely stop to draw breath in the next few months as they promote their Sunshine & Technology album, featuring the infectiously boisterous single “Young Drunk”, all around the world.

Australian audiences will get a chance to see the band before tour fatigue sets in with festival gigs and headliner shows all around the country. After warming up for local fans, The Smith Street Band will be off to Europe and the United States.

There’s certainly no shortage of opportunities to see Australia’s newest pub rock sensations in the coming months!

1 June 2013 – The Reverence Hotel, Melbourne
22 August 2013 – Rosemount Hotel, Perth
23 August 2013 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
24 August 2013 – Adelaide Unibar, Adelaide
25 August 2013 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
28 August 2013 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
29 August 2013 – The Zoo, Brisbane
30 August 2013 – Hotel Great Northern, Newcastle
31 August 2013 – Annandale Hotel, Sydney
4 September 2013 – Transit Bar, Canberra
7 September 2013 – Poison City Weekender @ Corner Hotel, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
11 September 2013 – Birthdays, London
12 September 2013 – Jh JoeNiz, Zoersel
13 September 2013 – Riddim, Venray
14 September 2013 – Tower, Bremen
15 September 2013 – AJZ, Bielefeld
17 September 2013 – Juha West, Stuttgart
18 September 2013 – Circus Maximus, Koblenz
19 September 2013 – Stummsche Reithalle, Neunkirchen
29 October 2013 – Official Pre-Fest, Tampa
1 November 2013 – The Fest 12, Gainesville

Image used with permission from Deathproof PR

Melbourne bluegrass outfit Mustered Courage challenge preconceptions of their much-maligned genre with their exquisite new single “Standing by Your Side”.

Now exquisite isn’t an adjective that I use lightly. However, I just can’t think of another word to describe the rich vocal harmonies and finger-picking guitar melodies celebrated on this track. Sublime? Delicious? I always thought bluegrass was the genre of inbred American Southerners, but this stunning track has seen me change my tune.

The quirky clip only adds to the song’s appeal. Seriously, who can resist a music video that puts street performers in the spotlight?

“Standing By Your Side” is the latest single lifted from Mustered Courage’s brand new album, Powerlines. The band is currently touring the album around the country. Here are all the places you can still see them play, including plenty of free gigs!

31 May 2013 – Clancy’s Fish Bar, Fremantle (FREE)
1 June 2013 – Indi Bar, Scarborough
2 June 2013 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River (FREE)
7-10 June 2013 – Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music, Perisher Valley
15 June 2013 – Royal Mail Hotel, Goodna (12:30 pm – FREE)
15 June 2013 – The Joynt, Brisbane (8 pm)
16 June 2013 – Nimbin Hotel, Nimbin (FREE)
26 June 2013 – Yinnar Pub, Yinnar (SOLD OUT)
28 June 2013 – Molly Malones, Devonport (FREE)
30 June 2013 – Brookefield Margate, Margate (3 pm)
30 June 2013 – Republic Bar, Hobart (9 pm)

Every generation has a woman that makes a difference. She’s the kind of woman who inspires us. She’s the one that girls want to be, and guys want to be with. And for my generation, that woman was Molly Ringwald.

I remember being in awe of Molly as I grew up. I admired her strength as I watched her on screen railing against stereotypes and social classes. I desperately wanted to kiss Andrew McCarthy and Judd Nelson too. All those feelings I had about Molly never went away, so there was no question in my mind that I had to be there when she closed the Sydney Writers Festival with her jazz music.

Honestly, I went to bask in her presence, not to appreciate her music. She could have said she’d be there to read the phone book and I would have bought a ticket. For the first few songs I couldn’t think of anything else other than the fact that this woman who means so much to me was right there, breathing the same air as me, under the same roof as me.

But as the evening wore on, I found that I appreciated so much more than that. Admittedly, Molly isn’t technically the world’s best singer. Her voice is a little thin, and you can hear her struggling to reach the high notes. But her voice has so much character, and the charisma she oozed on the silver screen translates well to the musical arena.

I also appreciated that she really knows music. Her songs were so carefully chosen, jazz classics that aren’t overdone by the countless artists that delve into the Great American Songbook. The influence of her father, a jazz musician in his own right, was apparent. Her knack for telling a story was showcased beautifully in “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)” and “Ballad of the Sad Young Men”.

She also gave so much of herself, chatting in between every song about the music, her family, and her life. By the time she closed her regular set with “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, a tribute to the late great John Hughes, we were all on her side. There was no doubt we’d ask for an encore. She might be best known as an actress, but as a jazz musician Molly Ringwald certainly holds her own.

Image source: own photo

Hey Geronimo really, really love Dan Kelly. They even skirted dangerously close to stalking with the release of their latest single “The Dan Kelly Song”! The quirky song’s currently available as a free download from Bandcamp and iTunes.

“The track was inspired by a dream I had in which Dave McCormack and Dan Kelly were co-writing songs for Hey Geronimo,” explains the band’s vocalist Pete Kilroy. “I woke up, and realising how cool that would be, figured we should just try and write a song in that style anyway. We’re all huge fans and it was either this or get tatts.”

Dan might not become Hey Geronimo’s songwriter any time soon, but he did meet the band and give the song his seal of approval. Buoyed by the experience, Hey Geronimo will take the song on the road this June with musical pals Strange Talk.

See the Strange Geronimo tour at the following venues next month.

14 June 2013 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
15 June 2013 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
19 June 2013 – Beach Road Hotel, Sydney
20 June 2013 – Transit Bar, Canberra
21 June 2013 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle
22 June 2013 – Baroque Room, Katoomba
27 June 2013 – Hi Fi, Melbourne
29 June 2013 – Eureka Hotel, Geelong
11 July 2013 – Newport Hotel, Fremantle
12 July 2013 – Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury
13 July 2013 – Amplifier Bar, Perth

Image used with permission from Stephen Green Consulting

Messrs help you get through your humpday with their latest retro-inspired pop single “Desert.” If the band’s name sounds familiar, you were probably tuning in to Big Brother last season to watch the antics of frontman Josh Moore. Happily this is a band that deserves the exposure a platform like the reality TV show affords. This is a perfect slice of synth-saturated pop that could easily have been produced in the middle of the New Wave movement. As a child of the 80s, I am lapping it up. Are you?

“Desert” comes from Messrs’ Welcome to Nowhere EP.

I’m most impressed by music in its purest form. I don’t care how good you sound after you’ve been auto tuned or drowned out by instruments. I won’t be won over until you can produce a great sound without the bells and whistles. And that’s why I’m flipping over this clip of Thelma Plum recorded recently on a Melbourne tram.

Now a tram’s not the ideal space for a concert. There are no acoustics to work with, and the background traffic noises don’t exactly create ambience. So if you can make amazing music on a tram, I reckon you’re pretty special. And if you can do it at just 18, as Thelma does, you’re guaranteed to have a bright future ahead of you.

Just think what Thelma could do in a real venue! We’ll get a chance to find out the Brisbane native tours her debut EP Rosie, which features that song “Around Here”, next month. She’ll perform in stripped back acoustic mode with her pal Andrew Lowden at the following shows.

4 July 2013 – Transit Bar, Canberra
6 July 2013 – The Vanguard, Sydney
13 July 2013 – Old Museum, Brisbane
25 July 2013 – Grace Emily, Adelaide (supporting Dan Parsons)
26 July 2013 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (supporting Dan Parsons)
28 July 2013 – The Aviary Rooftop Sessions, Perth (FREE)

With their new album Black Dog Barking in stores, Airbourne are preparing to return home for a string of shows.

The Aussie expats should be in fine form when they reach our shores as they’ve scored slots at major European summer festivals including Rock im Park, Rock Am Ring, Metalfest, and Sonisphere. They’ll also play at the United Kingdom’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, where they’re nominated for best live bands.

Airbourne will kick off their Aussie tour in their hometown of Warrnambool before they head up the East Coast. Plenty of Aussie states are missing out at this point, but as this is being called a teaser tour hopefully fans around the rest of the nation will be able to see Airbourne soon.

19 July 2013 – Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool
20 July 2013 – Corner Hotel, Richmond
26 July 2013 – ANU Bar, Canberra
27 July 2013 – HiFi Sydney
28 July 2013 – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay

Image used with permission from Warner Music