Awesome American alt-country singer Sharon van Etten has announced sideshows in the East Coast capitals to coincide with her visit for Golden Plains. I must admit, I wasn’t aware of Sharon’s music until I caught her performance of “Every Time the Sun Comes Up,” from her most recent studio album Are We There, on Letterman.

Something tells me it’s only a matter of time before Sharon enters the mainstream consciousness, so if you love her music make sure you catch her playing intimate venues like these while you can.

1 March 2015 – Factory Theatre, Sydney
3 March 2015 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
4 March 2015 – The Zoo, Brisbane
7 March 2015 – Golden Plains Festival, Meredith

Is Monday kicking your arse right now? Then take a listen to Nahko and Medicine for the People’s “I Mua” in preparation for their Aussie tour this week. The Oregon act is all about good vibes. I think it’s probably scientifically impossible to feel down when you’re listening to this song.

It wasn’t that long ago that the band were here for Bluesfest, but it seems they can’t stay away from our fair shores. The upcoming shows give you a chance to see Nahko and Medicine for the People in more intimate venues, without all the festival sweatiness.

14 November 2014 – AWME @ The HiFi, Melbourne
18 November 2014 – Byron Bay Brewery, Byron Bay
19 November 2014 – The HiFi, Brisbane
20 November 2014 – Byron Bay Brewery, Byron Bay
21 November 2014 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
22 November 2014 –Tanks Art Centre, Cairns
23 November 2014 – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby (Nahko solo)
25 November 2014 – The HiFi, Sydney
26 November 2014 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
29 November 2014 – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff
02 December 2014 – The Governor, Hindmarsh
04 December 2014 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River
06 December 2014 – Fly By Night, Fremantle

Most of us know Guy Pearce as Aussie acting royalty, but he’s actually a pretty decent musician. This Jack of all Trades has just released his debut album Broken Bones. It features a brand new single “Taste,” which showcases his husky vocals and knack for catchy melodies beautifully.

“‘Taste’ digs into that illusive thing we call “identity”, and who we think we are, versus who we actually are – whatever that even means,” he explained in a press release. “We’re so malleable and contradictory at times, it’s often hard to be objective.”

Guy will play two launch shows to promote the release of Broken Bones. Wednesday’s show at The Toff is all sold out, but there are a handful of general admission tickets for The Basement on Wednesday, November 19, still available.

It was a sad day for local music lovers when Philadelphia Grand Jury parted ways. Their single “Good News” was one of my favourite feel-good tracks for 2009. So I was thrilled to hear that Simon Berkfinger, Dan W Sweat, and MC Bad Genius have kissed and made up, and are ready to do it all again.

The Philly Jays are preparing to tour along the East Coast this month. If you’ve missed them, you’re going to want to get to these shows, not just to bask in the nostalgia but to give them the funds they need to record a follow-up to Hope is for Hopers. So dig deep folks and get yourself along to these reunion shows.

8 November 2014 – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
12 November 2014 – Beach Road Hotel, Bondi (FREE)
13 November 2014 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
14 November 2014 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane https://www.facebook.com/philadelphiagrandjury

New Zealand born, Melbourne based singer-songwriter Sean Kirkwood released his debut EP Tales for the Barman way back in April, but it didn’t exactly break through. It’s a shame, because the songs I’ve heard are incredible, including the gorgeous “Don’t Want to Own You.” I just love the way he marries folk, roots, and blues, and his no frills vocals. There’s something so compellingly raw and organic about what he does. If you love it too, you can grab a free download on Sean’s Bandcamp page.

Hopefully more people will sit up and take notice when Sean takes his songs on the road this month. If you like what you hear check him out at the following venues.

13 November 2014 – Grace Darling, Melbourne
14 November 2014 – Exeter Hotel, Adelaide
15 November 2014 – Babushka Bar, Ballarat
17 November 2014 – The Phoenix, Canberra
22 November 2014 – Cambridge Sidebar, Newcastle
23 November 2014 – Pacific Hotel, Yamba
28 November 2014 – Cardigan Bar, Brisbane
29 November 2014 – Bohemian Bungalow, Eumundi (afternoon)
29 November 2014 – Upfront Club, Maleny (night)
30 November 2014 – Milk Factory, Brisbane
2 December 2014 – The Rails, Byron Bay
4 December 2014 – Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga
7 December 2014 – Menagerie, Sydney

It takes a special someone to score the support slot for a legend like BB King. Someone like Melbourne born guitarist and songwriter Hamish Anderson.

Before he warms up the stage for BB, Hamish will be back on home soil to support the release of his swampy, sexy new single “Burn” and his new EP Restless, which hits stores on November 7. Hamish said he “wanted the recording to capture the sound, to be like a Polaroid. Imperfections and all.” And isn’t that refreshing in this day of autotune?

Hamish is basing himself in the U.S. now, so this is a rare chance to see this Australian-born talent performing. Tickets are on sale now for the following shows.

13 November 2014 – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
20 November 2014 – Side Bar @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
21 November 2014 – Oaf Sydney, Sydney
26 November 2014 – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane (FREE)

I’ve got to tell you, the last few days have pretty much sucked. I’ve got the cold that I mentioned which is darkening my mood. And yesterday my mum’s cat, who she’d entrusted to my sister’s friend while she went overseas, went missing. Miss Prissy’s deaf, and about 40 minutes from home, so my thoughts are consumed with wondering about how the poor thing’s coping and whether we’ll be able to find her. Novacastrians, if you come across a pretty, small but adult, long-haired white cat, please shoot me off an email.

So needless to say, I needed something to break out of the funk, and I found it in the form of The Twoks and their recently released EP First Light. The Melbourne duo have created something really fabulous here. There’s a real ’80s pop vibe running through the songs, with their positivity and hooky melodies, but the addition of violins gives them a real twist. There was almost a Dave Matthews Band feel to the instrumentation whenever those fiddles kicked in.

The Twoks grabbed me with the opening song and title track “First Light,” a cheerful poppy number which just makes you feel good. I wasn’t quite feeling all the party chanting of “Hey,” but I’m making a mental note to give it another spin when my mood’s less dark. I was back on board for the breezy island ditty called “Hold On.” The lush layers of “Step Slide” are exquisite. By the closing number “My Place,” I wanted to reach for my hairbrush and dance around my living room.

The Twoks have such a great infectious energy. The songs are fabulous, anchored by the driving drumbeats of Mark Leahy and Xani Kolac’s angelic vocals and violin prowess. Her voice is sweet with just a hint of edge, a little like Susannah Hoffs of The Bangles. First Light was just what I needed to immerse myself in today.

If you like what you hear in that nifty widget, you can catch them at the following shows.

30 October 2014 – New Globe Theatre, Brisbane (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
31 October 2014 – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
5 November 2014 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
6 November 2014 – The Vanguard, Sydney (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
7 November 2014 – The Heritage Hotel, Wollongong (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
8 November 2014 – Bella Union, Melbourne (EP launch)
14 November 2014 – Grace Darling, Melbourne (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
20-23 November 2014 – Mullum Music Festival, Mullum
28 November 2014 – Yay Ya’s, Perth (supporting Ezekiel Ox)
5 December 2014 – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide
13 December 2014 – Major Tom’s, Kyneton

Kristy Lee Peters is KLP, a Sydney electro diva who’s bowled me over with her debut single “Medicine.” The song has a cool easy groove, but Kristy’s heartfelt vocals give it just the right amount of edge.

You might not have heard of her before now, but KLP’s actually had an amazing year playing SXSW, Field Day, Splendour in the Grass, and Big Sound. She’s also the tastemaker behind triple J’s Saturday night House Party. Not bad for a girl who’s only just released her first track!

KLP is celebrating the release of “Medicine” with shows along the East Coast and WA. Catch her at the following venues over the next month or so.

2 November 2014 – Shebeen, Melbourne
13 November 2014 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
14 November 2014 – Stranded Festival, Stradbroke Island
15 November 2014 – The Factory, Sunshine Coast
22 November 2014 – Bayside Festival, Perth
29 November 2014 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
5 December 2014 – Why Not @ Fitzgeralds, Bunbury
6 December 2014 – You’re Welcome @ Toucan Club, Mandurah

Image used with permission from Rare Finds

I was really impressed with Citizen Kay when he burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. Rap isn’t usually my genre of choice, but I loved the way he blended it with big funky brass and created tracks brimming with positivity. He’s gone a bit darker with his latest song “Freedoom,” but I really appreciate the message behind it. I don’t normally post big slabs of quotes but I think Citizen Kay explains how the song came about better than anything I could write.

“’Freedoom’ is a song I’d actually written around the same time as Manage but it was so, so different to anything else I’d ever written around that time because it was inspired so differently to any other track I’d written,” Citizen Kay explained in a press release. “I was searching the net pointlessly one day, watching news reports around the world and random videos etc. when I clicked on a news story from America about some gang on gang/black on black shootings that had happened in a local area and how they’d escalated to the point where innocent people were being shot and killed simply because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Now being someone that’s lived in Australia for most of my life, I’ve always found these things almost unbelievable. As I was watching this news documentary there was one guy in particular being interviewed about his thoughts on everything and how the community could better itself and absolutely everything he talked about he used the word ‘we.’ After a bit the reporter picked up on it and asked why he kept saying ‘we’ and if it implied that he had any part of it and he responded with something along the lines of ‘Yeah, I have a part in it … you have a part in it and everyone on the planet has a part in it.’ He went on to explain that these things will never stop until ‘we’ make the true and conscious effort to strive for peace.

“There were more specifics about black people killing fellow ‘brothers’ as well for the most part of the video and from that I began writing lyrics but doing so from their perspective (particularly the one guy in the interview). I thought about what he might say if he was the one writing the song and ‘Freedoom’ is what came from it. It’s heart-breaking to see any sort of unnecessary violence anywhere or to anyone so although the song really had nothing to specifically do with me, it actually meant a lot more to me that a lot of other songs I’d written and that’s simply because it’s probably one of the only songs I’ve written completely from someone else’s shoes but still somehow, at the same time felt like it could have been me.”

“Freedoom” comes from Demokracy, a mini-album set for digital and CD release on November 7. Citizen Kay will celebrate its release with his own shows ahead of supporting Ice Cube on his sold-out shows around the country.

1 November 2014 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
7 November 2014 – Cats @ Rocket Bar, Adelaide
8 November 2014 – Laundry Bar, Melbourne
21 November 2014 – Academy, Canberra
28 November 2014 – The Roller Den, Sydney
29 November 2014 – CoLAB Festival @ Oak Lawn, UWA, Nedlands

With their debut self-titled EP in stores now, the supremely talented Little May are preparing to wing their way around the country to bring its songs to music fans in the flesh. Those include the dreamy lead single “Dust,” which is available for your listening pleasure here.

Little May have earned their live chops playing such high-profile gigs as Splendour in the Grass, Laneways, and Big Sound, so fans are in for a real treat at these shows.

6, 7, & 9 November 2014 – Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth (supporting Rodriguez)
16 November 2014 – Rad Bar, Wollongong
21 November 2014 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
22 November 2014 – The Front Gallery & Café, Canberra
27 & 28 November 2014 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney
29 November 2014 -  Gorgeous Music Festival, McLaren Vale
5 December 2014 – Solbar, Sunshine Coast
6 December 2014 – Black Bear Lodge,  Brisbane