Wollongong’s annual Yours & Owls Music & Arts Festival is even bigger than ever this year. It’ll be run over two days, rather than just one as in previous years, and when you see the line-up you’ll understand why.

This year the festival will play host to Ash Grunwad, The Preatures, Cloud Control, The Smith Street Band, Saskwatchm and heaps more. There’ll also be a couple of film screenings, DJs, art installations, a twilight food market, and a giant birthday cake to commemorate the festival’s fifth year.

Yours & Owls Music & Arts Festival hits Wollongong’s Stuart Park on October 2 and 3. Tickets are available now through Moshtix.

Image used with permission from Habit Music Company

Melbourne folk singer Anna Cordell has caught my attention with her debut single “I’ll Wait Here.”

Her voice is utterly angelic and the song has a beautiful subtlety about it. It’s introspective and gentle in the best possible ways. She also reminds us just how awesome songs in the minor key can be!

“I love the minor key and unresolved open chords,” Anna explained in a press release. “Writing songs in the minor seems to elicit an unspoken melancholy. The unresolved open chords are moments asking for resolution. They have the possibility of being led in a new direction … eventually this can resolve on a major chord the moment of reprieve, hope, relief.”

You can hear more songs in the minor key when Anna launches her EP in August.

After a busy time where I’ve worked far too many weekends, I’ve had a fairly cruisy day today. I’ve also been lucky enough to find just the right soundtrack for it, “St Petersburg” by Tim Guy. It’s got a lovely indie-pop vibe to it and one of the coolest videos I’ve seen for some time.

“St Petersburg” is the first track lifted from Tim’s fifth studio album, which will hit stores later this year.

I love when an artist isn’t afraid to speak from the heart. It’s for that reason that I’m really connecting to Western Australian songstress Helen Shanahan and her new song “Across the Sea.”

It’s got a lovely country-folk feel to it. I love the addition of the slide guitar and Helen’s warm, easy vocals. But even more than that, it’s the lyrics that speak of Helen’s struggles with anxiety that really resonate with me. As someone who’s also battled the condition, I’m really feeling this one. It’s not about dwelling, but about carrying on and feeling a sense of optimism that life will get better. What wonderful stuff.

Helen won Songwriter of the Year at last year’s Telstra Road to Discovery competition, and she’s clearly making the most of the opportunities. You can bet we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

One good 90s inspired song deserves another right? If Au Dré got you into the ‘90s spirit you’re going to love listening to “What’s On Your Mind” from Sydney singer Josué.

He reminds me so much of Tevin Campbell, for those of you old enough to remember him. Tevin doesn’t seem to be making music like this anymore, so I’m only too happy for Josué to take over his mantle! The song has a great groovy vibe. It’s very soulful, but I can hear some jazz influences too.

If you want to hear more, get yourself to The Vanguard on July 9 when Josué officially launches “What’s On Your Mind.”

I’m really digging “Fool Me,” the funky new single from Melbourne act Au Dré.

Au Dré is a partnership between Melbourne producer JamBau and vocalist and trumpeter Audrey Powne. I didn’t think I’d be writing about a vocalist and trumpeter today, but there you go. The pair were inspired by their love of late 70s and early 80s dance and disco music, but this song seems more like a throwback to early 90s R ‘n’ B. Whatever it is, I’m loving the synths and those soulful vocals.

Au Dré will launch the single for hometown fans at the Worker’s Club on July 2.

With Christine Anu’s new album Restylin’ Up 20 Years now in stores, I figured it was worth taking a look at one of its bonus songs, “Kulba Yaday.”

It’s a beautiful number performed in the language of the Torres Strait Islands. You might not understand the words, but I’m sure you can sense the sadness in Christine’s delivery. It speaks of Indigenous people losing their culture and stories passed down through the generations.

“’Kulba Yaday’ unfortunately did not make it onto the original album, but it was always a song I wanted to be part of Stylin’ Up. It is written in KKY (Kalaw Kawaw Oya) language and is a song of lament,” says Christine. “This wonderful song came to me in a dream and was written with a cultural elder and family member and is a very special song to me. Partly because it is sung in language but also because it speaks to my Torres Strait Islander heritage which I am enormously proud of.”

Remember, if you love Christine you can see her performing this song and others from her Restylin’ Up 20 Years album at the following shows.

13 June 2015 – The Street Theatre, Canberra
14 August 2015 – Lizotte’s, Newcastle
15 August 2015 – The Basement, Sydney
21 August 2015 – The Bean Bar, Taree
22 August 2015 – The Jetty Theatre, Coffs Harbour
11 September 2015 – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong
12 September 2015 – Laycock Street Theatre, North Gosford
24 October 2015 – The Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains

As you might guess after listening to the charming lilt in Áine Tyrrell’s voice, this singer-songwriter wasn’t born on our fair shores. She’s an Irish lass, but she’s living here now and I’m perfectly happy to claim her as one of our own.

After all, her name is pronounced Onya, and you can’t get more Australian than that. And like any good Aussie, she went on a pilgrimage to the Outback to find herself. While she was there she recorded her debut album Queen of Swords in odd places like abandoned mines and under the stars. She did it all after raising an incredible $15k via Pozible, so clearly she’s got a loyal following.

The first track lifted from the album is “Where Were You,” and I love it. It sings of a crisis of faith in the face of deep tragedies, yet it’s ultimately so uplifting. And I never could resist an Irish accent.

Áine will launch “Where Were You” at The Toff in Town on June 25.

I just love Josh Pyke. And after listening to “There’s a Line,” the first song lifted from Josh’s fifth studio album But for all These Shrinking Hearts, I think I love him just a little more. And I love that he loves his fans. His social media followers were the first to clamp eyes on the video for the track, and to get a live link to pre-order the new album.

The fans-first album pre-orders get a deluxe edition of the album plus two exclusive tracks, a collector’s lyric magnet set, and a ticket to one of his special fans first shows. These gigs aren’t ticketed and they’re only available to people who pre-order the package.

“Writing and making this record has been one of the most pleasurable and creatively challenging things I’ve done, and I bloody well love the end result,” Josh explained. “After the making of the record, it’s pretty much up to you guys whether it travels and is shared and becomes part of people’s lives, so please share the news, the music, your thoughts. As always I owe any kind of continued success to you all, so thank you!”

If you’re not pre-ordering, you can get your hands on But for all These Shrinking Hearts on July 31. But seriously, why wouldn’t you pre-order when it’ll get you in to one of these shows?

29 July 2015 – The Soda Factory, Sydney
5 August 2015 – Bella Union, Melbourne
6 August 2015 – Grace Emily, Adelaide
12 August 2015 – The Foundry, Brisbane

Image used with permission from On the Map PR

I am feeling so privileged to come across some gorgeous music from incredible female performers of late. A day after discovering Alanna Eileen, I’m now about to wax lyrical about Montaigne and her stunning song “A Cinematic Plea for an End.”

This is truly incredible. It’s dramatic without being overblown, so honest and angsty and real. I’m really glad that she chose to release a live video, because it captures the emotion so much better than something that’s been tamed in the studio might.

“Cinematic the song basically expresses several issues with idealism, both in platonic and romantic relationships,” Montaigne explained. “It is pretty much a letter to myself which is me trying to ensure that I don’t create unreasonable and idealistic expectations of situations and relationships, so that I don’t hurt myself nor others.”

Do you love it as much as I do?