With Ash Grunwald preparing to launch his new single “Hammer” with shows around the country, I thought it was about time that I brought it to you.

I love the rootsy, swampy, old-school bluesiness of this track. It’s like a throwback to John Lee Hooker or Muddy Waters with a fresh 21st century twist.

“Hammer feels like a rebirth for me in some ways,” Ash explained. “I’m not a new artist trying to find my niche or prove myself. I don’t want to be a certain kind of artist fitting into a certain kind of box. I went in to record Hammer knowing the musical boundaries I wanted to push as well as the traditions I wanted to respect and tried to create something my fans would love… a signpost to the future in some ways, with ties to the past.”

This is our first taste of Ash’s forthcoming 10th studio album. You can hear more of his new material as well as your old favourites at the following shows.
1 March 2017 – Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide
3 March 2017 – SS&A, Albury
31 March 2017 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
1 April 2017 – Bleach Festival, Coolangatta
7 April 2017 – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
8 April 2017 – “Revamp the Amp” Kuranda Amphitheater, Smithfield
15 April 2017 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney
16 April 2017 – Crafted Live, Wollongong
27 April 2017 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
28 April 2017 – Boston Brewery, Denmark

Image used with permission from SGC Media

I have well and truly got the travel bug. I had barely set foot on dry land after my last cruising holiday before I was suffering withdrawals. We were booked on another one within a week. If you love travelling too, then why not combine your wanderlust with your love of music and take up one of the tour packages provided by new Aussie company Sweat Tours?

Sweat Tours make it easy to see some of the hottest festivals on the planet with their all-inclusive tour packages. Think the the New York’s Governors Ball in May or the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas in June. When I say all-inclusive I mean all-inclusive too. Your accommodation, private transfers, meals, drinks, sightseeing, and even VIP experiences are all taken care of, so all you have to do is soak it up.

“Sweat Tours was created because I have an intense passion for live music and travel – however, the majority of tour companies in the market today place a heavy emphasis on sightseeing, which means most of the time spent on the tour is in transit.  They have never particularly interested me!” explained Sweat Tours founder Eli Akerlund, who is really doing something different with his company.

If you have the urge to see the world and some amazing bands at the same time, check out Sweat Tours.

Image used with permission from On the Map PR

I’ve had such a busy day, but I couldn’t leave it before congratulating Busby Marou on claiming the number one spot with Postcards from the Shell House. I love this album, as I do everything Busby Marou has released, so I’m thrilled to see the Queensland duo claiming their first number one. It’s a good thing they were representing the Aussies too, because they’re the only local act in the top 10 albums charts.

Ed Sheeran’s dominance doesn’t leave a lot of space for too many other acts, but we do have a few Aussies on the singles charts. Pnau leads the charge with “Chameleon” at number eight, just a couple of spots ahead of “Adore” by Amy Shark.

Top 10 Albums
1. Postcards from the Shell House – Busby Marou
2. Fifty Shades Darker – Soundtrack
3. Prisoner – Ryan Adams
4. 25 – Adele
5. Trolls – Soundtrack
6. X – Ed Sheeran
7. Human – Rag’n'Bone Man
8. Greatest Hits – Guns N’Roses
9. MoanaSoundtrack
10. 24K Magic – Bruno Mars

Top 10 Singles
1. “Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran
2. “How Would You Feel (Paean) – Ed Sheeran
3. “Castle on the Hill” – Ed Sheeran
4. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” – Zayn and Taylor Swift
5. “Issues” – Julia Michaels
6. “Chained to the Rhythm” – Katy Perry feat. Skip Marley
7. “Paris” – The Chainsmokers
8. “Chameleon” – Pnau
9. “It’s Ain’t Me” – Kygo & Selena Gomez
10. “Adore” – Amy Shark

I’m ashamed to write that Seven Long Years by Aussie expat Musketeer has sat in my inbox since late January. I’ve listened to it from time to time but I couldn’t quite get the words together to articulate my thoughts on it. So I left it there, knowing I wanted to write about it but waiting for the right time. As March approaches, I’ve decided there may not be a right time and it’s best just to push that writer’s block out of my mind and write.

Seven Long Years is such an interesting EP. It’s the short form of a concept album really. I’d thought that in four songs that might not work, that you’d need more material to really present a story without glossing over it, but Musketeer handles it beautifully. The EP tells the story of a 19th century British convict sent to Australia’s prison camp. It’s a tale anyone familiar with Australian history is well acquainted with, but one that should resonate with modern listeners in light of the ongoing asylum seeker debate.

The opening song and title track is the most upbeat number on the EP. It has a Mumford & Sons vibe that I really dig, plaintive but rollicking good fun. “Hollow” brings a more sombre and reflective tone to the EP. The following track “Johnny Red” is a stirring epic, a real highlight. “Ticket of Leave” rounds the EP out, leaving us on just the right note.

Musketeer’s raw, rich vocals and the lush orchestral arrangements bring the historic tale to life. The music has an interesting blend of nostalgia and new-folk vibes that instantly drew me in.

Seven Long Years is available for streaming and download on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp. You can also get a physical copy from Musketeer’s online store.

Tour dates are yet to be announced, but Musketeer promises to take the EP to audiences in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia.

Image used with permission from Musketeer

After impressing me with the self-titled debut EP last year, the lads from West Australian indie-pop act Pacific prove they’re no one-trick ponies with the release of a brand new single “Dawn.”

The band effortlessly blends shimmery synth sounds with a rock feel here. It’s epic and angsty, yet hopeful. You can check it out via TheMusic.com.au.

“We wanted this song to sound and feel different to anything we’ve written before,” Callum Byrne explained in a press release. “Darkness is the absence of light, and I feel like it’s a place where we are stretched and refined. With dawn being the first appearance of light, it breathes change. We wanted to try and reflect this sentiment both musically and lyrically throughout the song.”

“Dawn” takes everything I loved about Pacific and builds on it beautifully. You can hear more new songs when the trio launches the single at Albany’s White Star Hotel on March 3 and Perth’s Amplifier on March 4.

Image used with permission from Ditto Music

If you love your music turned up to 11, read on. Legendary local rockers The Choirboys are currently paying tribute to another iconic Aussie act, AC/DC with a string of shows around the country.

Mark Gable and the boys promise to play High Voltage and Highway to Hell cover to cover to celebrate AC/DC’s musical legacy and the 40th anniversary of Bon Scott joining the band.

Get ready to sing along to all you favourites at the remaining shows.

24 February 2017 – Parkwood Tavern, Gold Coast
25 February 2017 – Villa Noosa Hotel, Noosaville
3 March 2017 – Astor Hotel, Goulburn
4 March 2017 – The Oaks Hotel, Albion Park
10 March 2017 – Blue Cattle Dog, St Clair
1 April 2017 – Ettamogah Hotel, Rouse Hill
8 April 2017 – Wentworthville Leagues, Wentworthville
21 April 2017 – Dee Why RSL, Dee Why
22 April 2017 – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill

Image used with permission from DWM Entertainment

Firstly, I want to apologise for the lack of postings lately. I recently took a cruise and made sure I had some content to drip through while I was away. But I didn’t account for my husband taking sick on the ship and all the time I’d spend at the hospital over this last week. It takes some doing to juggle that with paid work, and something has to slide. I need the music though, so I’m going to try to somehow find time for this too.

I’m easing my way into it to let you know about Katie Noonan’s latest collaboration with Karin Schaupp, Songs of the Latin Skies. The talented women last worked together on Songs of the Southern Skies in 2012, a record which saw them nominated for an ARIA. This time around they’re turning their attention to the great South American songbook with covers of iconic songs from Heitor Villa-Lobos, Luis Bonfa, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and more.

“In this, our third release together, I feel like Karin and I have made our best work yet,” Katie confirmed in a press release. “Playing with Karin is like floating on a gorgeous cloud – it is such a pleasure to make music together and this new selection of beautiful songs has been our most comfortable musical home yet. We can not wait to share this music with you around the country!”

Songs of the Latin Skies is in stores now. Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp will play shows around the country from March to support its release. Tickets are on sale now.

17 March 2017 – The Spiegeltent, Hobart
18 & 19 March 2017 – The Spiegeltent, Adelaide
23 March 2017 – Quarry Ampitheatre, Perth
24 March 2017 – Bunbury Entertainment Centre, Bunbury
11 May 2017 – City Recital Hall, Sydney
12 May 2017 – Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford
13 May 2017 – IPAC, Wollongong
19 May 2017 – A & I Hall, Bangalow
20 May 2017 – Queensland Conservatorium @ Griffith University, Brisbane
8 June 2017 – Bendooley Estate, Berrima
9 & 10 June 2017 – Street Theatre, Canberra
11 June 2017 – Joan Sutherland PAC, Penrith
30 June 2017 – Melbourne Recital Hall, Melbourne

Image used with permission from Revolutions per Minute

There was arguably no better time to be a music fan in Australia than the late 70s, the 80s, and the early 90s. Pub rock was at its peak, with bands like Cold Chisel, The Angels, Men at Work, Australian Crawl, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Mental as Anything, Rose Tattoo, and stacks more playing around the traps. That heady period is celebrated in the upcoming album The Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock, Volume 2.

Despite this being the second Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock release, the series has lost no steam. There are 4 CDs here all jam-packed with killer cuts from the period. In addition to the songs you get new cover artwork by Ian McCausland, detailed liner notes (remember when you read through liner notes?), and some great images.

Travel back to a time when our pubs hosted some of the finest acts you’d find anywhere with The Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock, which will hit all good music stores on February 24.

Image used with permission from Warner Music Australia

As you’re reading this review, I’m relaxing on Kangaroo Island. I’m in a far more chilled out mood than I was when I wrote this, because I’ve been cruising down the East Coast for five days now. There’s something about taking a cruise, where I have nothing to do and an obliging crew of staff keen to take care of me, that just helps the stresses of the everyday melt away. I imagine Tom Busby and Jeremy Marou were in a similar mindset, albeit probably without the premium beverage package, when they recorded Postcards from the Shell House.

The Shell House that Busby Marou’s third album refers to is an old building on Great Keppel Island. The duo used to play songs there sitting around a campfire early in their careers, so it’s only fitting that they return to their roots and to the Shell House on this recording.

The duo doesn’t veer too far from their usual path with this recording. If you loved the cruisy acoustic folk-pop of their first two releases, this will be right up your alley. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve heard it all before.

While the duo is typically upbeat, some songs play in the shadows. There’s a real sadness and longing to the opening track “Best Part of Me.” I heard wistfulness in “Every Last Day in Between” that really tugged on the heartstrings.

“Paint This Land” has a stirring, epic quality to it. I can imagine it becoming the signature song for Australia Day. It just has that right amount of gravitas without feeling overly grandiose. The duo is collaborating this time around too. We’re used to Nat Dunn playing in the electronic space, but her appearance on the dreamy “Sleep On It” is one of the album’s highlights.

Postcards from the Shell House delivers easy, breezy, good vibes with just a hint of melancholy. It’s another solid release from this accomplished Queensland duo.

Postcards from the Shell House drops on February 17.

Image used with permission from Warner Music Australia

The Clouds were such a force in the ‘90s, fronted by the vocal talents of Jodi Phillis and Patricia Young. But they went their separate ways after releasing just three top 50 albums.

When they reformed in 2014 to tour the nation, fans all wondered whether it was about nostalgia or the desire to create something new. Now we have the answer.

On February 14, The Clouds will release the EP Zaffre, the first new material from the band in 20 years. The awesome lead single “Mabel’s Bookshop” gives you a tiny taste of what’s in store.

The Clouds will launch the EP at Newtown Social Club on 31 March 2017. If you’ve had withdrawals Sydney, it’s time to get your fix.