Ordinarily I tape shows and fast-forward through the ads, but the NRL Grand Final is one of those rare occasions where I watch it live. I just can’t risk hearing spoilers. And it’s a good thing too, because if I were skipping through I would have missed the ad for Channel Nine’s upcoming series Gallipoli. The war drama itself doesn’t really interest me, but I was struck by the haunting version of “Amazing Grace” playing during the commercial. I couldn’t wait to find out who was behind it.

Now I have my answer. The cover is by Lucy Mason, a local independent singer-songwriter who’s spent the last few years touring in the United Kingdom. This song is her first effort to break into the Aussie music scene.

“The opportunity to contribute to a piece of television that will likely embed itself as a piece of Australia’s history is something I am so grateful for,” she explained in a press release. “The story is integral to our nation’s story and to be given this platform to start introducing myself to my home market is really special to me.”

The song features on Lucy’s debut EP White as Snow, which is available now from iTunes.

Image used with permission from SGC Media

It’s Friday! The weekend is so close you can almost taste it, along with that beer you’re bound to treat yourself with once you knock off this afternoon. So I figured I’d spread more good vibes with “Dancehall Days,” the latest single from The Beautiful Girls and the title track from their recently released album. It’s not a cover of the Wang Chung song, but it’s every bit as fun. You’re welcome!

It takes a special someone to score the support slot for a legend like BB King. Someone like Melbourne born guitarist and songwriter Hamish Anderson.

Before he warms up the stage for BB, Hamish will be back on home soil to support the release of his swampy, sexy new single “Burn” and his new EP Restless, which hits stores on November 7. Hamish said he “wanted the recording to capture the sound, to be like a Polaroid. Imperfections and all.” And isn’t that refreshing in this day of autotune?

Hamish is basing himself in the U.S. now, so this is a rare chance to see this Australian-born talent performing. Tickets are on sale now for the following shows.

13 November 2014 – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
20 November 2014 – Side Bar @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
21 November 2014 – Oaf Sydney, Sydney
26 November 2014 – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane (FREE)

Julian Simonsz is refusing to be another of those reality TV contestants we never hear of again. The Melbourne soul singer has just dropped his debut single “I Do It For You” ahead of the November 21 release of his self-titled EP.

It’s a smooth slice of soul that’s got a great pop vibe sure to appeal to fans of Justin Timberlake. There’s not really anyone on the local scene making this kind of music, so I reckon if he sticks in this lane he could be big. What do you think?

Some of Australia’s most eco-friendly musicians are joining forces for Rock the Gate, a massive fundraising effort for Lock the Gate, the alliance behind Australia’s anti-fracking movement. The Rock the Gate show will see the diverse talents of Pete Murray, The Herd, Ash Grunwald, Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses, Natalia Pa’apa’a Trio, Diesel n’ Dub, Nahko, Trevor Hall, and heaps more rocking Sydney’s Enmore Theatre to support this important cause.

If you don’t know, fracking is unsafe coal seam gas mining. More than half of Australia is under fracking exploration license, despite the international community condemning the practice. But this isn’t the sort of thing archvillain Tony Abbott’s going to worry about, is it? Thankfully we’ve got awesome musos and lobby groups that can shine a light on this important issue.

Tickets are dirt cheap at $75 a pop and all proceeds go directly to Lock the Gate, so snap yours up and support this great cause.

Image used with permission from Heapsaflash

Let’s face it. Once the G20 Summit hits Brisbane, locals are going to want to get as far from the CDB as they can. So why not South Stradbroke Island? This picturesque spot is hosting the second round of the Stranded Festival on November 14, the G20 public holiday.

The organisers have assembled an impressive line-up including Golden Features, Tkay Maidza, The Kite String Tangle, KLP, Taiki Nulight, Doorly, and many more acts that are infinitely more entertaining than the bulk of the world’s leaders.

Tickets, which include the boat ride from Marina Mirage on the Gold Coast to the Straddy, are available now from Moshtix.

Image used with permission from Mucho Bravado

I’ve got to tell you, the last few days have pretty much sucked. I’ve got the cold that I mentioned which is darkening my mood. And yesterday my mum’s cat, who she’d entrusted to my sister’s friend while she went overseas, went missing. Miss Prissy’s deaf, and about 40 minutes from home, so my thoughts are consumed with wondering about how the poor thing’s coping and whether we’ll be able to find her. Novacastrians, if you come across a pretty, small but adult, long-haired white cat, please shoot me off an email.

So needless to say, I needed something to break out of the funk, and I found it in the form of The Twoks and their recently released EP First Light. The Melbourne duo have created something really fabulous here. There’s a real ’80s pop vibe running through the songs, with their positivity and hooky melodies, but the addition of violins gives them a real twist. There was almost a Dave Matthews Band feel to the instrumentation whenever those fiddles kicked in.

The Twoks grabbed me with the opening song and title track “First Light,” a cheerful poppy number which just makes you feel good. I wasn’t quite feeling all the party chanting of “Hey,” but I’m making a mental note to give it another spin when my mood’s less dark. I was back on board for the breezy island ditty called “Hold On.” The lush layers of “Step Slide” are exquisite. By the closing number “My Place,” I wanted to reach for my hairbrush and dance around my living room.

The Twoks have such a great infectious energy. The songs are fabulous, anchored by the driving drumbeats of Mark Leahy and Xani Kolac’s angelic vocals and violin prowess. Her voice is sweet with just a hint of edge, a little like Susannah Hoffs of The Bangles. First Light was just what I needed to immerse myself in today.

If you like what you hear in that nifty widget, you can catch them at the following shows.

30 October 2014 – New Globe Theatre, Brisbane (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
31 October 2014 – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
5 November 2014 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
6 November 2014 – The Vanguard, Sydney (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
7 November 2014 – The Heritage Hotel, Wollongong (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
8 November 2014 – Bella Union, Melbourne (EP launch)
14 November 2014 – Grace Darling, Melbourne (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
20-23 November 2014 – Mullum Music Festival, Mullum
28 November 2014 – Yay Ya’s, Perth (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
5 December 2014 – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide
13 December 2014 – Major Tom’s, Kyneton

Kristy Lee Peters is KLP, a Sydney electro diva who’s bowled me over with her debut single “Medicine.” The song has a cool easy groove, but Kristy’s heartfelt vocals give it just the right amount of edge.

You might not have heard of her before now, but KLP’s actually had an amazing year playing SXSW, Field Day, Splendour in the Grass, and Big Sound. She’s also the tastemaker behind triple J’s Saturday night House Party. Not bad for a girl who’s only just released her first track!

KLP is celebrating the release of “Medicine” with shows along the East Coast and WA. Catch her at the following venues over the next month or so.

2 November 2014 – Shebeen, Melbourne
13 November 2014 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
14 November 2014 – Stranded Festival, Stradbroke Island
15 November 2014 – The Factory, Sunshine Coast
22 November 2014 – Bayside Festival, Perth
29 November 2014 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
5 December 2014 – Why Not @ Fitzgeralds, Bunbury
6 December 2014 – You’re Welcome @ Toucan Club, Mandurah

Image used with permission from Rare Finds

If ever there was a story about perseverance, it’s the story of The Riptides. The Brisbane-born band are preparing to release their debut album Tombs of Gold this week, 30 years after it was recorded.

That’s no typo. The band finally got the financing they needed to take their music to the masses after a successful PledgeMusic campaign. It’s stories like this that make me love the capabilities of the internet.

For those of you who don’t know, The Riptides quickly became darlings of the Sydney music scene when they relocated in 1980. They drew big crowds and gained a reputation as one of the nation’s best live music acts. They did it old school, funding time in the studio, booking and running their live shows, and even building their own PA system in their own truck. Then they signed a record deal and the metaphorical wheels fell off. Mark Callaghan moved on to GANGgajang and The Riptides became a distant memory.

Thankfully now it’s 2014, and the internet has helped musicians and their fans forge connections outside of the industry. Mark reacquired the rights to that album and set about finally getting it into the hands of those loyal fans. The PledgeMusic campaign helped not just to distribute the album, but to transfer those analogue tapes to a digital format for remixing.

“The album is finally finished and sounds just like I always wanted it to,” Mark explained. “It was recorded in our prime but thanks to these great mixes, it also sounds like it could have been recorded this year”.

The release of Tombs of Gold on October 31 should appeal to fans new and old, with digital, CD, and limited edition gold vinyl LP versions available. You can preorder your preferred version on the PledgeMusic campaign page.

Image used with permission from Revolutions per Minute

Oh Lisa Mitchell, how I’ve missed you. I didn’t even realise quite how much until I heard your new song “Wah Ha” and felt instantly at peace. Its melody is so beautiful and you sing it so sweetly and its lyrics are so relatable.

And to you, dear readers, I’m sorry I stumbled across this one so late. Apparently Lisa unleashed it ages ago and life’s been moving at such a frantic pace that I didn’t realise. And sadly now there are only a couple more days where you can download it for free on Soundcloud. So click-click-click without delay!

Lisa’s going to play a couple of shows in London next month (oh you lucky Brits!) before she heads to country Victoria to record album number three. At least we Aussies know more music’s on the way. If you’re in the UK, you can catch Lisa at the following shows.

12 November 2014 – The Islington, London
13 November 2014 – The Slaughtered Lamb, London
15 November 2014 – Rough Trade West, London