With a new album on the horizon, I figured it was time to catch up with Sounds of Oz favourite Andrew Matters from William Street Strikers. Read on to learn more about the Adelaide rock band’s new music, courting controversy on social media, and Andrew’s scariest time on tour.

Your new single Wrong Way Home got an official release this month giving your fans a taste of the new album. What is it about this song that made you decide to release it as a single?
Our new single “Wrong Way Home” was chosen as a first single for two reasons. Firstly, because it is a straight forward surf rock song it came together really organically in the studio and just sat right straight away so it was easy to mix and produce and get past our discernment. The second reason was that it sounded good to us and we knew that our core group of listeners would like it so we felt comfortable that it would be liked and embraced by those who are already into the band.

How indicative is “Wrong Way Home” of the rest of the music on the album?
The song is probably not that indicative of the rest of the music on this album. We have gone back to what we do best and that is being diverse. With this new album, it is a real hodgepodge, probably more than Keep Left is. It’s time for us to do reach out again and after seven years we really took our time with this one and just went with whatever direction came up at the time of writing with no stylistic limitations.

How has the process of putting the album together this time treated you ?
The process has been a lot of fun but also quite testing at times as we’ve had to spend a lot of time in the studio which doesn’t have the same spontaneity as jamming or playing, nor is it the same process of how we usually record which is more urgent to try and capture a more live feel. This has obviously caused frustrations and creative differences and tested each of our patience at times but we have been in this game collectively for some time so we know when to drop off and shut up and do what we have to do for the greater good, as opposed to throwing tantrums and letting things get in the way of progress.

Your website says the album is forthcoming. When can we expect it in stores?
We are aiming for February. We have to wait for the film clip to be finished so everything is synchronised.

It’s been a couple of years since To the Motel. How have you grown as a band since then?
Well I have started to play guitar live for one. We have started to use a plethora of different instrumentation which will be evident on the new album and we have begun to fuse a few different styles. I think we have grown and are very well oiled which is allowing us to reach out a bit. We are also comfortable with our position within the Australian music community so this is reflected in how we go about things as opposed to when we were scuffling around. We’re more relaxed.

You’ve been doing the occasional gig. When can we expect a national tour?
Yes, that is true. We have just been taking shows that have been offered to us and focusing mainly on this album. We did so many shows for years and where we are situated, there’s a limited audience so we decided to do a few less shows for a while so as not to over do it. After this album we have plans to do an East Coast tour and only think of of gigging for a while as we have quite a back catalogue of recorded material now that gets regular airplay, so we feel comfortable that this body of work combined with the new album should carry us for a while and we want to get out and play as much as possible for a while.

You guys have been around for quite a few years now. What’s your best touring story that’s fit to print?
OK, one night when we were gigging in Sydney. Instead of going to bed I decided to take a drive around the coast in a car I wasn’t very familiar with. I corralled my guitarist and we went along a dirt road on the coast and rolled it into a ditch. We rang the guys to come and get us in the van. They ran out of petrol en route. So we decided to hitch a lift. We got picked up by a complete sociopathic drunk freak in a powerful car. When we got in he hit the door lock, we were hostage and he proceeded to floor it and nearly fish tailed us into various trees. The other guys were trying to appease him with comments like “Don’t wipe us out man! It’s a great car for sure. Just let us out here.” I was paralysed with fear and couldn’t speak. He kept going from ten kms an hour to one hundred and eighty in bursts until he finally got bored and let us out. I think that’s the closest I’ve been to shuffling off this mortal coil.

I love reading your Facebook page because you’re not afraid to tell it like it is. What issues are firing you up at the moment?
Well I like to put up things for the sake of argument for sure. I found the TripleJ Hottest 100 Taylor Swift debate to be very interesting in light of its history and some of the songs that have managed to get a run in previous years that may not have been considered apt. I also find from following music journalists and blogs that there seems to be a lot of sheep. Not too many are willing to run with anything contrary to the pack which defies logic and the whole purpose of critiquing art. On the other hand you have one or two who’ll be deliberately contrarian and go against the tide which is just as ridiculous. So I’ll deliberately post things that highlight this where possible. They’re not a protected species and neither are musicians for that matter, and that’s how it should be.

We just celebrated Australia Day. What’s your perfect way to spend the holiday?
For me, I like to relax and just do something relatively unassuming. I enjoy it for what it is and love this country but I tend to appreciate it rather quietly in my own way as opposed to large gatherings with fireworks. I did eat a sausage sandwich and went to a thong throwing competition by default when I went for to get some food at the pub, so I guess that counts as being a participant.

Is there anything else on the horizon for the band that you can tell me about?
The only other thing that I’ve not mentioned is is that we will be doing a a couple of shows to film with some recruits for a one off. We’ll have piano, a rhythm guitarist, some extra percussion and some singers. It’s important for us to get a really good live document of our band at this time for posterity.

Image used with permission from Andrew Matters

After rocking music lovers with their sophomore album Reality Kicks in 2014, Melbourne’s Sydonia are set to do it all again with number three.
The band are still writing and working on the preproduction for the release, but word is that this one is sounding harder, heavier, and faster than anything we’re heard from Sydonia before. We should see a single released late in the year before the finished product hits stores in early 2016.

If that’s sounding like an age away, then make sure you get yourself along to one of Sydonia’s shows this autumn. They’ll take songs from that forthcoming release in embryonic form up and down the East Coast, so this will be fans first chance to hear what’s coming next. The final Melbourne show will also help the band fundraise for a trip to the United States around May, so make sure you get along to show your support.

19 February 2015 – Colonial Hotel, Melbourne
20 March 2015 – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
21 March 2015 – Grand Hotel, Gladstone
27 March 2015 – The Basement, Canberra
28 March 2015 – Factory Floor, Sydney
18 April 2015 – John Curtin Hotel, Melbourne

Image used with permission from Pricewar Music

Last November, The Griswolds took a boat cruise around Sydney Harbour with some lucky fans and some of their best music industry pals including Pepa Knight of Jinja Safari, Jake Stone of Bluejuice, Nick McKenzie of Deep Sea Arcade, and Castlecomer. If you couldn’t be there, good news. The band’s released an EP, The Good Ship, capturing all of the craziness and killer tunes.

Listening to these live songs is the perfect primer for The Griswolds upcoming North American tour supporting Walk the Moon. If you’re Stateside, make sure you don’t miss these Aussie juggernauts when they visit a town near you.

10 March 2015 – House of Blues, San Diego
12 March 2015 – Palladium, Los Angeles
13 March 2015 – House of Blues, Anaheim (SOLD OUT)
14 March 2015 – Masonic, San Francisco
16 March 2015 – CATALYST, Santa Cruz
17 March 2015 – Ace of Spades, Sacramento (SOLD OUT)
19 March 2015 – Roseland, Portland
20 March 2015 – Neptune, Seattle (SOLD OUT)
21 March 2015 – Neptune, Seattle (SOLD OUT)
22 March 2015 –  Commodore, Vancouver
25 March 2015 – Fillmore Auditorium, Denver
26 March 2015 – Granada Theater, Lawrence
27 March 2015 – First Ave, Minneapolis
28 March 2015 – First Ave, Minneapolis (SOLD OUT)
29 March 2015 – Orpheum Theatre, Madison
31 March 2015 – Egyptian Room, Indianapolis
1 April 2015 – Bogarts, Cincinnati (SOLD OUT)
2 April 2015 – LC Pavillion, Columbus (SOLD OUT)
3 April 2015 – House of Blues, Cleveland (SOLD OUT)
4 April 2015 – House of Blues, Chicago (SOLD OUT)
7 April 2015 – The Fillmore, Detroit
8 April 2015 – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
9 April 2015 – Lupos, Providence
10 April 2015 – Asylum, Portland
11 April 2015 – House of Blues, Boston (SOLD OUT)
13 April 2015 – Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia (SOLD OUT)
14 April 2015 – Terminal 5, New York (SOLD OUT)
15 April 2015 – Terminal 5, New York
16 April 2015 – 9:30 Club, Washington (SOLD OUT)
17 April 2015 – 9:30 Club, Washington (SOLD OUT)
20 April 2015 – Mercury Ballroom, Louisville
21 April 2015 – Orange Peel, Asheville
23 April 2015 – Cone Denim Entertainment Center, Greensboro
24 April 2015 – Cannery, Nashville (SOLD OUT)
25 April 2015 – Tabernacle, Atlanta (SOLD OUT)
26 April 2015 – State Theatre, Tampa (SOLD OUT)
27 April 2015 – Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
29 April 2015 – House of Blues, New Orleans
30 April 2015 – House of Blues, Houston
1 May 2015 – South Side Ballroom, Dallas
2 May 2015 – Stubb’s, Austin
4 May 2015 – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa
6 May 2015 – Sunshine Theatre, Albuquerque
7 May 2015 – Rialto, Tucson
9 May 2015 – House of Blues, Las Vegas

Before writing this review I took a look at those I’d penned in 2011 and 2012 about the music from Kegan DeBoheme’s band The Gypsy Bangles. I remembered them as a bit of a rock and roll throwback, a remnant from music’s heyday. There are certainly elements of that in Kegan’s solo effort Songs of Woe, but this is more than just same old thing.

It’s interesting that The Gypsy Bangles recordings I listened to had just four tracks each. They gave a mere glimpse at an act. I wonder whether in Songs of Woe Kegan had more space to spread out creatively, or whether he’d have always done that if The Gypsy Bangles recordings were longer. At any rate, with 12 tracks to play with Songs of Woe is an album of more diversity. It’s also one that feels a lot more intimate. Kegan’s roughened voice is strong through this album, ably supported by the music rather than fighting through it as he sometimes did with the Gypsy Bangles. The instrumentation is just that bit simpler, and that draws you in.

Kegan’s love of classic rock still shines through, whether it’s on his covers of Jim Croce’s “Operator” and Rodriguez’s “Sugarman” (which is incidentally far better than the dancey version floating around the charts) or original songs that capture the period like “Flowers (For a Brother)” or “Where Has the Summer Gone?” Yet there other forces at play here. “Gone Tomorrow” and “Rose Painted Gold” feel as if they could sit comfortably on a grungy record from the 90s. Despite beginning a lot like a Steely Dan track, “The Setting Sun” sounds like what Dion might have done if he’d gone on to play with Alice in Chains. I really enjoyed the laidback acoustic jam of “Inner City Blues.”

Kegan DeBoheme might be without his Gypsy Bangles bandmates with his solo album, but the music has enough similarities to those earlier recordings to satisfy long-time fans. However, Songs of Woe isn’t just about doing the same old thing. It’s a bit rougher, rawer, and dare I say it, more honest. It’s far from the perfect record. Certain sections feel a bit derivative, and others are a slog. I’m still not sure whether we’re hearing Kegan or simply Kegan’s influences in his music, but I’m enjoying listening to the journey.

Songs of Woe is available now through Kegan DeBoheme’s Bandcamp page.

After wowing crowds across Europe for many years, talented expat Phia is finally coming home for her very first Australian tour. You might remember seeing Phia and her kalimba challenging the contestants on Spicks and Specks last year. Or perhaps you’re a super Sounds of Oz fan and you remember me interviewing her way back in 2012. Or perhaps you’ve never heard of Phia at all, but you want to experience the kind of music that will blow your mind. Either way, get yourself to one of these very rare shows!

30 January 2015 – Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
7 February 2015 – High Tea @ Glebe Town Hall, Sydney
12 February 2015 – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine
13 February 2015 – Babushka Bar, Ballarat
26 February 2015 – The Milk Factory, Brisbane

I had to double-check the date on the Client Liaison music video “Pretty Lovers” after watching it on YouTube. January 19, 2015? Are you sure it’s not 1985? But I’m assured that this is a brand new song and not something from my youth. It might feel like a throwback, but as someone who hasn’t really left the 80s behind I don’t mind one bit. Cheesy lyrics, big synth chords, a saxophone, and questionable fashion sense. Sign me up!

Client Liaison will hit the road in February to celebrate the single’s release. It’s the last time the band will play shows supporting their self-titled EP, so see them while you can!

28 February 2015 – Secret Garden Festival, Sydney (SOLD OUT)
5 March 2015 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
6 March 2015 – Secret Venue TBA, Perth
7 March 2015 – Pirie & Co. Social Club, Adelaide
14 March 2015 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
20 March 2015 – 170 Russell, Melbourne

Jakubi’s song “Couch Potato” was one of my favourite jams of 2014, so I’m thrilled to hear that their EP Holiday gets an official release today. It might have taken some time, but there’s a good reason for that. This talented Melbourne band has been working on world domination.

Last year they kept a frantic touring schedule with shows in Australia, the United States, and Canada. They’re keeping up the pace in 2015 with a string of local shows announced before the band are back stateside.

Who knows when we’ll get them back, so if you’re a fan make sure you check Jakubi out at one of the following shows. More US dates will be announced soon too, so keep your ear to the ground Americans!

26 January 2015 – Globe To Globe World Music Festival, Clayton
30 January 2015 – Cool Summer Festival, Mt. Hotham
14 February 2015 – Beachside Youth Festival, Brighton
26 February 2015 – Latrobe Uni O-Week event, Melbourne
28 February 2015 – Northcider Festival, Brunswick
8 March 2015 – Spirit Bar, Traralgon
21 March 2015 – Warrandyte Festival, Warrandyte
28 March 2015 – Forward Music Festival, Ballyrogan
22 May 2015 – Summer Camp Music Festival, Chilicothe
4-7 June 2015 – Mulberry Mountain, Ozark

Image used with permission from Create/Control

Bay Sessions by Bobby AluThe long weekend’s not here yet, but I’m already getting into that cruisy frame of mind thanks to Bobby Alu’s latest EP, Bay Sessions. I’m really glad that this is my first album review for the year, because this summery release is the ideal soundtrack for this time of year.

It begins with the laidback groove of “My Style,” which is something I imagine that Bob Marley might have laid down if he ever visited Motown. The tempo picks up a little in “Step.” Bobby’s as chilled as ever, but it’ll get your toes tapping.

The instrumental “Mana” references the positive spiritual force its title embodies. There’s no English translation for this term from the Pacific Islands, but if you listen to the track you’ll probably come close to understanding it. Incidentally, this song is the perfect kitchen soundtrack. It sounds weird, but I was grating carrot and zucchini for dinner last night and it was like I was at one with the music. Try it.

Bobby’s back on vocal duties for “The Day,” a gentle number about living in the moment. His ukulele is the only accompaniment for this beautifully intimate song. I struggle to pick a favourite on a recording that’s so solid, but “Something” might be it. It just feels so good: soulful and smooth and sassy.

The EP closes with “Tagi,” a Samoan chant Bobby remembers from his childhood. It’s a powerful number that sounds even more impressive when you realise Bobby doesn’t have any back-up musicians as the Samoan elders would have. It’s just him on his DIY island-style drum kit. Too cool.

I’m so passionate about this recording, so I’m thrilled that you can all hear it. Bobby is offering it for free download throughout the duration of the Bay Sessions tour. The full release will then be available for purchase at the tour’s conclusion. In keeping with Bobby’s generous spirit, the tour also features plenty of free shows too.

5 February 2015 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury (FREE)
6 February 2015 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River (FREE)
7 February 2015 – The Odd Fellow, Fremantle
8 February 2015 – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough (FREE)
13 February 2015 – Landsdowne Hotel, Chippendale
15 February 2015 – Moonshine Bar, Manly (FREE)
20 February 2015 – Motor Room, Brisbane (FREE)
22 February 2015 – Hotel Brunswick, Brunswick Heads (FREE)
1 March 2015 – Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour (FREE)
4 March 2015 – Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne (FREE)
5 March 2015 – Shebeen, Melbourne
7 March 2015 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
8 March 2015 –  Bleach Festival, Coolangatta (FREE)

Image used with permission from Heapsaflash

Australia has such a rich tradition of creating great rock acts, but in recent years the genre seems to have lost its way. Other than the classic acts who are still slugging it out, who was the last pub rock act that you can recall? Sydney’s Bonez and Brisbane’s Barefoot Alley consider themselves to be part of the new breed of rock, so they’re teaming up to bring the genre back to the masses on their Make a Scene tour.

Bonez have really impressed me with their new single “Lemonade,” a cleverly crafted rock track with funky vocal licks and big crunchy chords. The song’s the first lifted from the band’s soon-to-be-released EP Let’s Get Weird.

“Australia’s ready for a new scene,” explained Bonez frontman Tomi Gray. “Think the 90s grunge scene, the 80s hard rock scene. So many great bands underground toiling away around the nation. We want to be at the forefront of the revival”.

Bonez are taking Barefoot Alley along for most of the ride, a bluesy rock act with the hottest brother and sister team since the White Stripes. They recently wrapped up a team with Lepers and Crooks so they’re going to be in fine form when they hit the stage. They’re preparing to release a new single “Take a Guess” in mid-February.

If you’ve missed good Aussie rock in pubs, make sure you get out and support these exciting new acts at the following gigs.

26 January 2015 – Blues Rock Fest @ Redland Bay Hotel, Brisbane
29 January 2015 – Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane (Bonez only)
30 January 2015 – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
31 January 2015 – Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane
5 February 2015 – Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney (Bonez only)
6 February 2015 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney (Bonez only)
7 February 2015 – Dicey Rileys, Wollongong (Bonez only)
19 February 2015 – Transit Bar, Canberra
20 February 2015 – El Topo, Bondi
21 February 2015 – The Pier, Port Macquarie
28 February 2015 – Captain Cook Rooftop Party, Sydney
1 March 2015 – Flow Bar, Old Bar
4 March 2015 – Hamilton Station, Wollongong
5 March 2015 – The Espy, St Kilda
6 March 2015 – Brunswick Hotel, Melbourne
7 March 2015 – The Catfish, Fitzroy
8 March 2015 – The Lucky Coq, Prahran
11 March 2015 – RAD, Wollongong
13 March 2015 – Irish McGanns, Roma
14 March 2015 – Mary’s Commercial Hotel, Dalby
15 March 2015 – Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast
20 March 2015 – Redland Bay Hotel, Brisbane
21 March 2015 – Mojo Burning Festival, Brisbane
22 March 2015 – Sounds of Sunday, Gold Coast (Bonez only)

Image used with permission from Beats Cartel

Sally Seltmann isn’t looking to change the world or even your thinking with her music these days. Her sweet new single “We Are the Music” simply wants to brighten your day.

“It’s where my head’s at right now” she explained. “I just want to make music that makes people happy.”

This is Sally’s first release since last year’s acclaimed album Hey Daydreamer. I love the direction Sally’s taken here. The lyrics are romantic without being corny, and the driving dance beat inspires me to cut loose in my lounge room. I can’t wait to hear more music like this from her.

Image used with permission from Remote Control Music