If you have tickets to one of Megan Washington’s upcoming shows, it’s worth getting there early enough for the support act. She’s enlisted the help of fellow Queenslander Greg Chiapello, who has put a big smile on my face with his debut single “Hot Coffee.” Fabulously quirky lyrics, a brilliant falsetto, and irresistible pop hooks: what’s not to like?

If the weekend seems like it’s not close enough, stick this on and I guarantee that it’ll make you feel better. “Hot Coffee” comes from Greg’s debut EP, which should be released later this year.

You can see Greg supporting Megan Washington at the following shows.

13 February 2015 – 170 Russell, Melbourne
14 February 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane
21 February 2015 – Metro Theatre, Sydney
27 February 2015 – The Gov, Adelaide

Image used with permission from Rare Finds

Sometimes a song just hits you like a bolt from the blue. On paper it’s not what you’re into, but there’s just something about it. “Nottingham,” the latest single from Sydney hardcore act Hellions is one of those songs.

I generally struggle with the hardcore thing. I typically like my vocals a little prettier and my music a shade more mellow. But there’s such passion in this number and I can’t ignore it. The honesty, grit, and angst has completely won me over.

“Nottingham is about comparative thinking and jealousy within a relationship,” explained Hellions’ guitarist Matt Gravolin. “The unearthing of the erstwhile in cardiac landfill after incessant inquiry, begetting a mutual resentment.”

“Nottingham” is the latest track lifted from Hellions’ recently released album Indian Summer. To celebrate the album’s release, the band will play the following shows this March.

6 March 2015 – The Lab, Brisbane (ALL AGES)
7 March 2015 – The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
8 March 2015 – YAC, Byron Bay (ALL AGES)
11 March 2015 – Hombre Records, Newcastle (ALL AGES)
12 March 2015 – Magpies, Canberra (LICENSED ALL AGES)
13 March 2015 – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney (18+)
14 March 2015 – Towradgi SLSC, Wollongong (LICENSED ALL AGES)
15 March 2015 – Masonic Hall, Blacktown (ALL AGES)
18 March 2015 – YMCA HQ, Perth (ALL AGES)
19 March 2015 – Last Night, Perth (18+)
20 March 2015 – Black Market, Adelaide (18+)
21 March 2015 – Reverence Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
22 March 2015 – Phoenix YC, Melbourne (ALL AGES)

Some albums grab you from the first notes, shaking you out of your world and demanding to be heard. You know it’s something special and you’re captivated from start to finish. Others sneak up on you, getting underneath your skin gradually until you realise that this album is far better than you ever imagined. Where Did You Come From?, the fifth studio album from Darren Hanlon, is that kind of album.

I initially thought it was just a sweet blend of country and folk. It was pleasant enough to listen to, but also likely to get buried amongst my massive pile of music before too long. And then I heard “Letter from an Australian Mining Town.” The fifth track, a tender slice of Australiana with all of the romance of the bush. Even if you haven’t been there you understand it. And that was when I thought “I get this. This is amazing. I need to go back to the other tracks and pay more attention.”

With my ears wide open I realised that while Darren’s music is fairly small, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Perhaps no song emphasises this point more than “My Love is an Ocean Away.” With only an acoustic guitar, Darren’s voice, and some quirky but poetic lyrics, it draws you in and proves how powerful something delicate can be. As someone who lived through a long-distance relationship, it struck a real chord.

So did “Halley’s Comet, 1986.” As he told the story I recalled my own experiences as a six-year-old, not really sure why we were all looking up at the stars and what we were waiting for, but doing it anyway.

Then there’s “Manhole Cover Tap,” which proves that anything can be a musical instrument. I’m not 100 percent sure whether real manholes were involved in the recording of this track, but I love its organic, back to basics feel. And I’m sure that Johnny Cash would have been proud to pen the rollicking country-rock of “The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot.”

Darren’s spent a lot of time in the United States, but he certainly hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Australian stories are at the heart of every one of these songs, and he sings them in a real Australian voice rather than that generic accent-free one so many performers use. It’s so refreshing to hear. As the first few tracks washed over me I didn’t expect to become so invested in Where Did You Come From? But I’ve found myself going back to it and giving it another spin for a couple of weeks now. It creeps up on you, and when it does it’s so rewarding.

Where Did You Come From? hits stores on March 2. Darren will celebrate the release of Where Did You Come From? with the following shows.

27 February – 1 March 2015 – Nannup Festival, Nannup
2 March 2015 – Mojos Bar, Fremantle
5 March 2015 – Republic Bar, Hobart
6-8 March 2015 – Panama Festival, Panama Forest
12 March 2015 – Railway Club, Darwin
20-22 March 2015 – Yackandandah Folk Festival, Yackandandah
24 March 2015 – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba
25 March 2015 – Gallipoli Legions Club, Newcastle
26 March 2015 – Manning Bar, Sydney
27 March 2015 – Street Theatre, Canberra
28 March 2015 – Candelo Festival, Candelo
2 April 2015 – Jive Bar, Adelaide
3 April 2015 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
9 April 2015 – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
10 April 2015 – The Zoo, Brisbane
11 April 2015 – Majestic Theatre, Pomona
17 April 2015 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Image used with permission from Mucho Bravado

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

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

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

The Voice graduate Julian Simonsz has been a busy bee since his stint on the reality TV how. He released his self-titled debut EP, which features the single “I Do It For You.” The track didn’t exactly set the charts ablaze here, but it reached number two on Sri Lanka’s YESFM, the country’s leading music station, and number 17 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts. Not bad for a song that was released with very little fanfare or mainstream support if you ask me.

After playing second fiddle to Chingy at his recent gigs and a host of festivals, Julian’s ready to step into the spotlight with his own headlining shows. The Get Home tour takes in some of the East Coast’s most acclaimed venues this March.

5 March 2015 – The Toff in Town, Melbourne
13 March 2015 – The Basement, Sydney
19 March 2015 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Image used with permission from 123 Agency

Sydney outfit Siren Lines have me tapping my feet today to their brilliant new single “Always the Same.” It’s got just the right amount of reverb, driving drums, and sublime vocals that remind me a little of Boy George’s honeyed voice. Is it just me?

I’m told Siren Lines are working at a cracking pace on their debut album, but they’ll take a little time out from the studio to celebrate the single’s release. Their East Coast tour kicks off tomorrow night in their home town.

17 January 2015 – Oxford Art Factory Gallery Bar, Sydney
31 January 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane
7 February 2015 – The Worker’s Club, Fitzroy
8 February 2015 – The Espy, St Kilda
15 February 2015 – Bondi Open Air Cinema, Bondi

Image used with permission from Collision Course PR