We’re used to hearing punk acts turning their speakers up to 11. But Columbus is going the opposite route with its new five-track EP Next to Me, which drops today. It features a brand new song, the EP’s title track, and acoustic reimaginings of some of the Brisbane band’s past tracks.

“Next To Me is a melancholic falling out, which reminiscences about moments with a past lover,” explained the band’s frontman Alex Moses. “I wrote the song about the feeling of knowing you’re drifting apart from someone and there’s nothing you can do.”

It’s a softer song for the band, and one which marries perfectly with these new arrangements of classic Columbus tracks. Alex said reinterpreting the old songs in an acoustic way was “a very creatively fulfilling process.”
“We’re really proud of the songs and think they stand on their own in contrast to the heavier versions.”

The Next to Me EP is available now.

I meant to write this post a couple of times but instead I found myself falling down a rabbit hole of Pierce Brothers music. The first time I found myself going back through the Melbourne folk-pop duo’s back catalogue, and time got away. Then I received an advance stream of the very EP I meant to write about and listening to it put this article on the back burner again.

That EP, The Records Were Ours, is wonderful by the way. The lead single and opening track “Take Me Out” is a swampy foot stomper, but it shows just one side of this talented duo. There are more sombre moments in “Only One” and “Rhodes.” “Keep in Mind” is the real standout for me. What a song. Alongside the studio tracks there are two live numbers: “Take a Shot” recorded on the Sydney Opera House Forecourt” and “Brother” captured at Paradiso in Amsterdam. Listening to the crowds heaping so much love on the Melbourne siblings is a reminder of the global reach of this phenomenally talented pair.

The Records Were Ours is the first in a trilogy of Pierce Brothers EPs. It drops on May 19, the day after the brothers launch their Australian tour. After that they’re off to Europe and the United Kingdom before winging their way to North America to support Tash Sultana. No matter where in the world you are, there should be a show near you.

18 May 2017 – Metro Lair, Sydney
20 May 2017 – Lorne Hotel, Lorne
25 May 2017 – The Academy, Canberra
26 May 2017 – The Croxton, Melbourne
27 May 2017 – Big Pineapple Fest, Sunshine Coast
3 June 2017 – Pinkpop Festival 2017, Landgraaf
4 June 2017 – Melkwege Oude Zaal, Amsterdam
5 June 2017 – Prinzenbar, Hamburg
6 June 2017 – Feierwerk/Kranhalle, Munich
7 June 2017 – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
9 June 2017 – The Garage, London
8 July 2017 – Cornbury Music Festival, Oxfordshire
9 July 2017 – Linton Music Festival, Ross-on-Wye
10 July 2017 – Thekla, Bristol
11 July 2017 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
13 July 2017 – Studio 2, Liverpool
14 July 2017 – The Deaf Institute, Manchester
15 July 2017 – Zwarte Cross 2017, Lichtenvoorde
16 July 2017 – 4 Daagse, Nijmegen
22 July 2017 – Colours of Ostrava 2017, Ostrava
27 July 2017 – Dr Koncerthuset, Copenhagen
29 July 2019 – Stonerock Festival 2017, Bad Bentheim
6 August 2017 – Festival Esperanzah! 2017, Floreffe
11 August 2017 – Fairports Cropready Convention 2017, Banbury
28 September 2017 – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
29 September 2017 – Metropolis, Montreal
30 September 2017 – Paradise Rock Club, Boston
2 October 2017 – The Bowery Ballroom, New York
3 October 2017 – Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn
5 October 2017 – Union Transfer, Philadelphia
6 October 2017 – 9:30 Club, Washington
7 October 2017 – Newport Music Hall, Columbus
9 October 2017 – Thalia Hall, Chicago
10 October 2017 – Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
11 October 2017 – The recordBar, Kansas City
16 October 2017 – Ogden Theater, Denver
18 October 2017 – The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix
20 October 2017 – Fonda Theater, Hollywood
21 October 2017 – The Fillmore, San Francisco
23 October 2017 – Wonder Ballroom, Portland
24 October 2017 – Neptune Theater, Seattle
25 October 2017 – Commodore Theater, Vancouver

As my husband and I rounded the corner on Saturday night we both asked the same question at the same time: “Is that it?” The building in front of us had a sign advertising Bob Evans’ gig out the front, but it looked more like a beach house than any RSL. The parking lot was packed and families spilled out on the wooden deck, making the place look more like someone’s private party than somewhere we’d see a gig. Walking inside I was still a little confused. There were no poker machines, a decision by management apparently to make this place a little different, and only a flimsy curtain separated the “auditorium” (and I use the word loosely) from the restaurant. Hardys Bay RSL isn’t like any club I’ve been to, but the more I thought about it the more I realised it was the perfect place for an unassuming artist like Bob Evans to play.

We tried to grab dinner but the frazzled waitress told me they were far too busy to take our orders just yet. I joked that we didn’t think to book because everything is usually a bit casual on the Coast. She agreed and said she didn’t anticipate the rush either. As word of this place and its intimate gigs spread, perhaps she’s going to have to get used to it.

So instead we took a seat in the main room, a space that felt more like a nanna’s loungeroom than the venue for a gig. Plush sofas lined the walls which were decorated with framed photographs and ornate lamps. It was all very charming. Food came soon enough, the perfect accompaniment for the wine which was better than I expected from a small RSL.

When Bob Evans stepped on to the stage, which was really just a slightly elevated platform, there was little fanfare, save for the Christmas lights adorning his acoustic guitar. I have the feeling that suits a guy like Bob down to the ground though.

I must admit, I’m nowhere near as familiar with his music as many of the transfixed members of the audience were. But in such an intimate setting, you don’t need to know the songs. It’s a setting which lets you hear lyrics and appreciate new music. Not that I was completely in the dark. I was surprised to hear “Nowhere Without You” come out relatively early. He saved “Don’t You Think It’s Time” until much later in the set, but I don’t think the crowd would have minded what songs came out when.

Watching them singing along to all the words, you could see the adoration in their eyes. A few women were so taken by the music, or perhaps the wine, that they got up to dance. It’s no mean feat to boogie along to a guy playing folky music with an acoustic guitar, but I admired their enthusiasm.

It seemed the admiration was mutual, as Bob came out for encore after encore. At the very end he insisted we’d need to be quiet for this one, unplugged his guitar, and stepped off the stage. He did a slow lap of the room, charming each and every one of us, whether we knew the song as most did, or were hearing it for the first time like myself.

Sometimes when I see a show because I was offered tickets, I feel a little disconnect. I can see the way other people love the artist and wish I could be in the moment as they are. But instead I left Hardys Bay RSL feeling privileged that I’d seen a gig I wouldn’t ordinarily see that was so special. Fans catching Bob Evans as he winds his way around the country, you won’t be disappointed. Here are the remaining shows:

3 May 2017 – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba
5 May 2017 – Camelot Lounge, Sydney
6 May 2017 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla
7 May 2017 – Heritage Hotel, Bulli
11 May 2017 – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
12 May 2017 – 5 Church St, Bellingen
13 May 2017 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
1 June 2017 – Baha, Rye
2 June 2017 – The Croxton Front Bar, Melbourne
3 June 2017 – Workers Club, Geelong
8 June 2017 – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide
9 June 2017 – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine

It’s been some time since we heard anything new from Meg Mac, but I think it’s been worth the wait. Her new single “Low Blows” is an absolute cracker.

“Low Blows” tells an intimate story, as you might expect from a track that started its life on Meg’s piano in her Melbourne bedroom.

“The song is about the need to stand up for myself – I don’t speak up or stand up for myself when I really need to,” she explained. “Since releasing it I’ve received lots of messages suggesting I’m not the only one who struggles with this.”

While it had humble beginnings, Meg recorded the track at Fort Worth’s Niles City Sound Studio. It sounds amazing, which is a great sign for the rest of Meg’s forthcoming debut album.

Drum and percussion enthusiasts, this one is for you. The Sydney Drum and Percussion Show rolls into town next month, and you won’t want to miss it.

The live performance program is particularly impressive, with Thomas Lang (George Michael, Tina Turner), Virgil Donati (Steve Vai, Tommy Emmanuel), and Michael Schack (Netsky) all on the bill. Lang and Donati also promise to play together for the first time ever.

It’s also the perfect place to buy, with a range of vendors selling drum kits, cymbals, traditional, orchestral, hand, and electronic percussion instruments, and accessories, as well as plenty of items exclusive to the show. Attendees can also take part in drum circles and percussion workshops during the event. If you love drums, this is the place to be.

“There’s so much about percussion, it’s the world’s most accessible form of music – people take their first steps in music through percussion,” explained Australian Music Association CEO Rob Walker. “We are excited to showcase our industry’s products and the wealth of local talent that Sydney and Australia has to offer, as well as international guests – three of the best in the world! We seek to educate and entertain, and showcase and grow our drum and percussion community.”

The Sydney Drum and Percussion Show hits Rosehill Gardens Grand Pavilion on May 27 and 28. Tickets are on sale now from the event’s website.

Image used with permission from On the Map PR

Kirsty Lee Akers continues to show plenty of sass with her latest single “Ain’t That Kinda Girl.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek song exploring the expectations placed on modern girls that Kirsty refuses to meet. It’s a spirited single that’s loads of fun.

The song was released while Kirsty is on a bit of a hot streak, hitting number one on the Country Music Channel (CMC) charts for her previous four successive singles. CMC named “Ain’t That Kinda Girl” its “country pick” on release, so no doubt it’s also destined for greatness!

It’s hard to believe The Ten Tenors have been making music for the last 20 years. To celebrate the milestone, the acclaimed Aussie group has just released its first album for Sony Masterworks, Wish You Were Here. The album pays tribute to some of our most loved, dearly departed performers of our time, including David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Jon English, and Prince.

I must admit, listening to it, I thought I knew what to expect. I expected music to please the oldies, the big torch songs with operatic leanings. And this album certainly delivered that with epic performances of tracks like “Hallelujah” and “Six Ribbons.” But there’s also some really funky contemporary stuff, like stellar versions of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and the title track “Wish You Were Here.”

After recently completing yet another sold-out tour of the United States, the lads are in fine form and ready to wow Australian crowds at the following shows.

1 August 2017 – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide
2 August 2017 – Hamer Hall, Melbourne
3 August 2017 – Albury Entertainment Centre, Albury
4 & 5 August 2017 – State Theatre, Sydney
6 August 2017 – Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra
10 August 2017 – The Events Centre, Caloundra
11 August 2017 – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane (Matinee & Evening Shows)
12 August 2017 – Empire Theatre, Toowoomba
17, 18, & 19 August 2017 – Regal Theatre, Perth

Image used with permission from SGC Media

It took just a matter of hours for the guys from Grinspoon to sell out multiple venues on their upcoming Guide to Better Living 20th Anniversary tour. I didn’t even have time to get a news announcement out before tickets were snapped up. So I’m getting in quickly this time and letting you know more shows have been announced to meet demand.

The Grinners promise to play Guide to Better Living in its entirety, start to finish, for their ardent fans. They’ll be ably supported by Hockey Dad at all shows except Darwin and the Gold Coast.

To coincide with the shows, Grinspoon will release a 20th Anniversary edition of Guide to Better Living, expanding the original 16-track album to a 49-track extravaganza with live tracks, unreleased recordings, and other rarities. You can also get a limited edition vinyl pressing for the first time. This comes packaged with a second disc recorded at New York City’s legendary venue, CBGB’s.

So there’s plenty for Grinspoon fans to get excited about, especially these shows!

23 June 2017 – Kay St Entertainment Complex, Traralgon (18+)
30 June 2017 – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne (Licensed All Ages)
1 July 2017 – Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave (18+ SOLD OUT)
6 July 2017 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Licensed All Ages NEW SHOW)
7 July 2017 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Licensed All Ages SOLD OUT)
8 July 2017 – The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane (18+ SOLD OUT)
9 July 2017 – The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane (18+ NEW SHOW)
29 July 2017 – One Tropical Day @ Darwin Ski Club, Darwin (Licensed All Ages)
3 August 2017 – The Wool Exchange, Geelong (18+)
4 August 2017 – Pier Bandroom, Frankston (18+)
5 August 2017 – Granada Tavern, Hobart (18+ SOLD OUT)
6 August 2017 – Granada Tavern, Hobart (18+ NEW SHOW)
10 August 2017 – The Jack, Cairns (18+)
11 August 2017 – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville (18+)
12 August 2017 – Magnums, Airlie Beach (18+)
17 August 2017 – Villa Noosa, Noosaville (18+)
18 August 2017 – Redland Bay Hotel, Redland Bay (18+ SOLD OUT)
19 August 2017 – Shaka Fest @ Miami Tavern, Gold Coast (18+)
24 August 2017 – Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough (18+ SOLD OUT)
25 August 2017 – Metro City, Perth (18+)
26 August 2017 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide (All Ages)
31 August 2017 – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (18+ SOLD OUT)
1 September 2017 – Lismore City Hall, Lismore (18+)
2 September 2017 – Racecourse Hotel, Ipswich (18+ SOLD OUT)
14 September 2017 – The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay (18+ SOLD OUT)
15 September 2017 – Waves, Wollongong (18+ SOLD OUT)
16 September 2017 – UC Refectory, Canberra (18+)
20 September 2017 – CSU, Wagga Wagga (18+)
21 September 2017 – Barooga Sports Club, Barooga (18+ NEW SHOW)
22 September 2017 – Beer Deluxe, Albury (18+)
23 September 2017 – NEX Newcastle, Newcastle (18+ NEW SHOW)

With the album Head in the Trees, Heart on the Ground set to drop in just a few days’ time, I figured I should introduce you to The Singing Skies’ beautiful new single “Mountains.”

This is one of those songs that stopped me in my tracks. It’s achingly beautiful, with a haunting quality that draws you in and doesn’t let go. Take a moment to really listen, because it deserves way more than becoming background music for whatever it is you’re doing.

Head in the Trees, Heart on the Ground
is released on April 21. The Singing Skies will play the Red Rattler in Marrickville on that night before hitting Golden Age Cinema in Surry Hills for Vivid Music on June 2.

Separately Dustin Tebbutt and Lisa Mitchell are creating some of the most beautiful music coming out of this country. So you just know that when they join forces, it’s going to be special. After both packing in crowds at venues across Europe, this talented twosome is coming home for the Distant Call National Tour.

Dustin and Lisa will share the same band and combine their collective energy for a truly unique 100-minute show each night. Dustin said he was inspired to perform with Lisa while touring Europe.

“Lisa and I have known each other for a few years, and we’d started looking at doing a tour together. I was in Amsterdam doing some shows and happened to be talking through it all with my keys player who also plays for Lisa. I think at one point we were joking that they could just stay on stage for both of our sets, and then the Idea to share a band started making more sense. It kind of grew from there,” he explained. “What we’re looking at now is a really collaborative show, where we share the stage, songs, and musicians; weaving our songs together. I’ll be playing some of Lisa’s music with her and she’ll be adding her magic to some of my songs. I think it’s going to be a really special run of shows.”

Tickets are available from the venues and through Dustin and Lisa’s websites.

10 June 2017 – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
11 June 2017 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
15 June 2017 – The Triffid, Brisbane (Early 5pm show)
16 June 2017 – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
17 June 2017 – Solbar, Maroochydore
23 June 2017 – Newport Hotel, Fremantle
24 June 2017 – Badlands, Perth
30 June 2017 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
1 July 2017 – The Gov, Adelaide

Image used with permission from Mucho Bravado