In January this year, the world lost one of its brightest musical lights: David Bowie. In January 2017, one year on from his passing and 30 years after the release of one of his most revered albums Low, some of this nation’s best talents will pay tribute to that release and the others immediately following it.

With musical director Mick Harvey at the helm, Kylie Auldist, Dave Graney, Ron Peno, Kim Salmon, and Max Sharam will honour Bowie’s work with the “Bowie in Berlin” concert series. These artists will play songs from Low, Heroes, and Lodger, arguably some of Bowie’s finest and most thought-provoking releases.

Tickets are on sale now for the following shows.

6 January 2017 – Triffid, Brisbane
7 January 2017 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
8 January 2017 – Hamer Hall, Melbourne
14 January 2017 – Regal Theatre, Perth

Image used with permission from DRW Entertainment

While I’ve carved out a great little life for myself as a freelance writer, I haven’t always had the support of people around me. Leaving the corporate world behind can be scary, but I can’t imagine going back to the world of bosses and office politics. So “Dream Catcher’s Life,” a song which the presser calls “an ode to those who chose to chase their goals regardless of what society might say,” really resonates with me.

It’s the brainchild of Melbourne band The Hiding, who’s enlisted the help of guest vocalist Stewart Winchester.

“The song came about after we returned from New York City,” explained Anthony Salce, the band’s lyricist and lead guitarist. “It’s really just about living your dreams, not settling for the mediocre, and hoping that you have that special someone to share it with, someone who wants to share the journey with you.”

The clip, featuring the talents of aerial artists Didj Wentworth and Phoebe Carlson, elevates this already special song. Industrial work has never looked so beautiful.

The Hiding will celebrate the single’s release with an exclusive set at The Grace Darling on December 10 as part of Pennyfest.

Aussie-born songstress Beth Brown is making a splash in her new home of Nashville. She’s just become the first Aussie female signed to the Gretsch Guitar USA family. Not bad for someone who’s only just released a debut single. Although that song, “Easy,” is one of the best I’ve heard.

Penned in collaboration with the sublimely talented Butterfly Boucher, “Easy” has an irresistible groove and lyrics we can all relate to.

“Easy” comes from Beth’s debut EP Dream Coat, which will drop in 2017. She’ll celebrate the release of both with an Aussie tour early next year.

6 January 2017 – Junk Bar, Brisbane
13 January 2017 – Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay
14 January 2017 – Dusty Attic, Lismore
19 January 2017 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
2 February 2017 – Toff in Town, Melbourne
17 February 2017 – Lizotte’s, Newcastle

If you thought summer festivals were starting to feel a little same-same, then you’ll want to head to the Pleasure Garden next month. This is a game changer, with roving performers like a giant hairy snail, carnies performing stunts, and full-scale fantasy models from General Zodd adding to the fun.

Of course there’s also music, with top quality performers like The Cat Empire, Blue King Brown, Dub FX, and Tash Sultana all on the bill. And since it’s in Melbourne, you know the food is going to be amazing. The folks from 400 Gradi, Vegilicious, Dos Diablos, and Kombi Burger will all sell their wares on the day.

It’s all happening on December 10 at Catani Gardens on the St Kilda Foreshore. Get your tickets from the Pleasure Garden website.

Image used with permission from Remedy PR

Unlike most music lovers in Australia, I wasn’t watching the ARIAs last night. I was playing trivia, expecting to catch up on all the action this morning. I managed to avoid learning of the winners until I watched the broadcast, but last night I did learn that a lot of people were fed up with the awards. Perhaps it’s just a symptom of getting older, but my Facebook feed was full of people bemoaning the new acts and insisting things were better in their day.

Watching the broadcast, I think it’s very easy for nostalgia to creep in. We were celebrating 30 years of music awards, and watching the montages of artists that came before I too felt that sense of longing for some of my favourite performers of the past.

But the thing is, that shouldn’t take away from embracing what’s great about the music industry today. I got really excited about Illy’s album this week. I was thrilled about Montaigne’s win because she’s created some of my favourite songs this year. What Flume does isn’t quite to my taste, but he’s clearly dominating right now. Diversity is what the industry has always been about. Hats off to him and his five pointy trophies.

I think the organisers of this year’s ARIAs did a wonderful job of celebrating the past and the present. Watching Jimmy Barnes sing with Jess Mauboy, seeing current acts like Bernard Fanning and Missy Higgins sing Crowded House songs before the act themselves performed, grinning ear to ear as The Veronicas bowed down to John Farnham, these are moments that symbolise not just the great music we’ve made as a country but that we continue to make.

It’s very easy to stay in our bubble and just listen to the music we’ve always loved. But the arts will only thrive if we take chances on something new.

Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird might just have the coolest name on the music scene at the moment. The Melbourne band’s also creating some amazing music. Exhibit A is the band’s latest single “Cool Parties,” lifted from the current EP Melbourne Bitter.

I love the film clip which captures the band doing its thing, without frills or unnecessary fuss.

“The song itself is about the sense of detachment that can sometimes wash over you whilst in social situations. The feeling that nothing occurring around you is quite authentic and the quiet desire for something more substantial,” frontman Lachlan Rose explained. “This performance was shot overlooking Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy, the place where the vast majority of our socialising occurs … so there was perhaps something significant about shooting it there.”

What do you think of this groovy new track?

As we look for the next big thing in music, I think we sometimes forget about the value of classic sounds. Nighthawk reminds us with its debut single “Surely Getting On.”

This is the kind of straight up honest rock music I remember hearing in pubs when I first started seeing bands. We shouldn’t be surprised though, because Nighthawk features members of Motor Ace, who were one of the biggest acts of the early 2000s.

“The fire that compelled me to make music in the first place was extinguished by the end of Motor Ace. I was young and took every kink in the road harder than I should have. I do have some regrets about not enjoying the great music we made and our success a little more,” explained founding member Patrick Robertson.

“Nighthawk comes from a very different place. It was a party before it was a band. There’s a simplicity about the music and the attitude. I haven’t felt as excited about a group of musicians and making music for a very long time. I think you can hear it.”

“Surely Getting On” is our first taste of Nighthawk’s upcoming album. After experiencing it, I’m hungry for more.

I consider myself open to most musical genres, but I haven’t really listened to a lot of rap since the 90s. I had fun with acts like Salt-N-Pepa and The Fugees, but then the genre evolved, as most do, and I felt left behind. It seemed rap was either about the struggle of people from the “wrong side of the tracks” or about the excess of those living it large. Neither type of rap resonated with me, so I found myself listening to the genre less and less. And then came Illy.

It’s hard to believe, considering how Illy seems to have burst onto the scene a relatively short time ago, but his newie Two Degrees is actually his fifth studio album. It’s a highly anticipated release considering the way Australia’s responded to singles like “Papercuts” and “Catch 22.” It’s the strength of those singles that have taken it to number one on debut. But it’s the strength of the other songs that’s going to get people talking and keep it on the charts for many weeks to come.

My favourite songs are the ones where Illy collaborates with other artists. I think he does some of his best work when he has someone to bounce off. The chemistry he has with the artists he’s handpicked here elevates these tracks. “Hazard to Myself,” a collaboration with Sir the Baptist, is so playful and irreverent. “Oh My,” with Jenna McDougall, feels like a summer anthem. “Extra Extra,” featuring Mike Waters, is pure feelgood joy.

While these songs make me smile, some of the album’s most poignant moments come when Illy’s working alone. “Truce” feels very personal, with powerful lyrics that pack a serious emotional punch. The closing track “Highway” is such a perfect way to finish the album. This song closes this chapter in the Illy story by looking forward to the future.

Illy is a rapper, but his music is so much more than that. He effortlessly fuses his rhymes with pop, dance, and electronic sounds to broaden its appeal and make it accessible to people like myself who don’t spend a lot of time listening to rap. If like me you’ve moved away from rap music, Two Degrees encourages you to dip your toe back in to the genre. You won’t be disappointed.

Image used with permission from Warner Music Australia

I can’t remember the last time a music video made an impression on me like the clip for “Being,” the latest single from British-born Melbourne-based muso Millington. It’s a visual feast which takes a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Strap yourself in!

Aside from the outrageous video, the song is pretty special, a charming folk-pop ditty that you’ll find yourself humming for days.

It was always going to take some work for Sheppard to top the catchy “Geronimo.” But it just might have done it with new single “We Belong.” It’s only November, but I can see this irresistible track becoming the feel-good song of the summer.

“We Belong” came from the last year Sheppard spent writing and producing new material between Los Angeles and Brisbane.

“So excited for the release of We Belong,” George Sheppard said in a presser. “Our fans have been very patient, and we finally get to give them something to wrap their ears around. This new single is a great taste of what’s to come on the album next year.”

That album is set for release everywhere in 2017.

Image used with permission from SGC Media