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

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.

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 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)

Port Douglas muso Bobby Maguire has knocked my socks off with his new single “Breathe.”

The presser calls him an indie rocker, but there’s so much more going on here than that descriptor suggests. It’s as catchy as any pop song, but there’s a punky attitude in that heavy bassline that I really like. It’s that got that epic feel that a song by Kings of Leon or Naked and Famous might have, but it doesn’t feel derivative either.

I’m really looking forward to hearing more from this talented newcomer.

Even when winter seems to be prematurely setting in, I can always rely on San Cisco for summery vibes. The Fremantle band’s latest pop gem is “Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?” a new track lifted from LP number three, The Water.

Like everything San Cisco touches, this track is super infectious, in the best possible way. The lyrics, which explore the dissolution of a friendship, are also really relatable.

As I hear more from The Water, it’s clear it’s going to do great things when it’s released later this month.

There are few things I enjoy more than a strong female rock voice. So I’m all over “Someone,” the new single from Perth indie act Essie.

There’s a great earthy bluesiness about her brand of rock. And that voice, wow! Essie wrote the track while at university, and while it traverses familiar themes of the aftermath of a breakup, I find it so compelling.

Despite being a Perth girl, Essie has become a staple on the UK club scene. If you’re living in London, you can catch her at the Islington tonight or Vinyl Bar on May 19.

Matt Joe Gow’s Seven Years was one of my favourite albums released in 2016. So I’m thrilled to see he’s released one of the tracks from this impressive release, “Flowers in Your Hair.” Featuring guest vocals from Katya Harrop, a member of Matt Joe’s touring band, this song is a real charmer.

The video is lovely too, with Matt Joe and Katya both starring as they sing about a relationship that’s broken down. It was shot in North Melbourne last year and directed by Joanna Strong.

With a classic rock sound that hearkens back to INXS and Powderfinger comes MDRN LOVE. The Geelong quintet has just released the debut single “Bring Me Down” and it’s a cracker. Instantly accessible with a melody you’ll be humming for days, it’s the first taste of the band’s forthcoming EP.

If you like what you hear, make sure you get out and support these guys as they travel around Victoria in the coming months.

8th April 2017 – The Courthouse, Geelong
19th April 2017 – The Workers Club, Fitzroy
22nd April 2017 – The Barwon Club, Geelong
5th May 2017 – The Loft, Warrnambool
9th May 2017 – UMSU, Melbourne
20th May 2017 – The Torquay Hotel, Torquay
7th June 2017 – The Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave