Illy’s album Two Degrees was one of my unexpected favourites last year. I loved the way he blended urban influences with straight up pop in tracks like the latest single “Oh My,” The track features guest vocals from Tonight Alive frontwoman Jenna McDougall, who was thrilled to work with the platinum-selling hip hop act.

“I really admire Illy’s artistry. Collaborating with him on the track was super natural and we had a great time on set together!” she said. “I loved singing on a song that praises women but has nothing to do with love. That’s bad ass to me. It was actually freezing the day we shot the video in LA but ‘Oh My’ brings the Aussie summer vibes.”

The LA clip saw Illy reteaming with Mark Staubach, who shot the “Catch 22” clip and has also made videos for Charlie Puth, Simple Plan, Lupe Fiasco, and heaps more.

If your day needs some brightening, this song and music video should do the trick!

I’m running on empty this morning. Working until 2:30 am will do that to you I suppose. I needed something to wake me up for another day, and caffeine just wasn’t cutting it. Thankfully I found Brisbane pop-punk act Shorelines and their brand new single “New Heights.”

The band hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, but if you loved bands like Blink-182 and Good Charlotte back in the day you’re going to eat this up. The song also articulates beautifully what it’s like to look forward to a new chapter while you close the door on the past.

“I wrote this song about my old band breaking up and having to start again with Shorelines,” explained lead singer and bass guitarist Harry White. “New Heights definitely shows off our positivity towards the new band, but also displays some anger towards people that brought us down in the past.”

“New Heights” isn’t just the name of Shorelines’ new single. It’s also the title track from their brand new EP which drops tomorrow. You’ll find it on all your favourite digital services.

Eagle & The Wolf’s debut album dropped last year, but with the release of the third single “Lost But Not Alone” it’s the perfect time to revisit the Central Coast duo’s music, or discover it for the first time.

This is straight up country-folk music, honest and earnest, without any bells or whistles. It’s incredibly sad, but there’s also a note of optimism about it too.

“I wrote ‘Lost But Not Alone’ in true country music fashion just after I’d lost my marriage, house, dog, car … Basically everything except my guitars,” explained Kristen Lee Morris aka Eagle. “The one thing I had to cling onto was a special love I’d found in my Wolf [Sarah Humphreys]. Despite the darkness I could see a way through. Thank goodness. I have a hope for this song that it will encourage folks to be honest about where they are at and open up to folks around them. No matter how lost you feel you never have to be alone. These days I play this song for my departed friend Simon who felt too alone to continue. I wish you would have known that you were not alone my friend.”

Whatever you relate this song to in your own life, it’s powerful stuff.

I have a real passion for old school soul music. I spent my formative years listening to a lot of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, bemoaning the fact that no one makes music quite like that any more. Anyway, it seems I was wrong, because Melbourne’s The Teskey Brothers sound like they’ve come straight from Stax.

It’s unsurprising really, because Sam and Josh Teskey were listening to a lot of the same music I was as teens. They wear the influences of their parents’ record collection on their sleeve, and they’ve shared that soul sensibility with their brothers from another mother, Liam Gough on drums and Brendon Love on bass guitar. Their current single “Pain and Misery” from the album Half Mile Harvest gives you just a taste of what these guys are all about.

The Teskey Brothers will support Busby Marou on their Aussie tour before embarking on a run of headlining gigs in July.

24 May 2017 – Heritage Hotel, Bulli (with Busby Marou)
25 May 2017 – 48 Watt Street, Newcastle (with Busby Marou)
26 & 27 May 2017 – Leadbelly, Sydney (with Busby Marou)
1 June 2017 – Southern Cross Club, Woden (with Busby Marou)
3 June 2017 – Wrest Point Casino, Hobart (with Busby Marou)
8 June 2017 – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast (with Busby Marou)
9 June 2017 – Triffid, Brisbane (with Busby Marou)
11 June 2017 – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay (with Busby Marou)
15 June 2017 – Fat Controller, Adelaide (with Busby Marou)
16 June 2017 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne (with Busby Marou)
17 June 2017 – Workers Club, Geelong (with Busby Marou)
18 June 2017 – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave (with Busby Marou)
30 June 2017 – Caravan Club, Oakleigh (with The Meltdown)
1 July 2017 – Triffid, Brisbane (with Busby Marou)
6-9 July 2017 – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen
13 July 2017 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
14 July 2017 – Junk Bar, Brisbane
22 July 2017 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
27-30 July 2017 – Echuca Winter Blues Festival, Echuca
4 August 2017 – Music on the Hill, Red Hill
5 August 2017 – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan
12 August 2017 – Ed Castle, Adelaide

I must admit, I’ve never been what you’d call a Shannon Noll fan. I thought he was very good at producing radio-friendly music for the masses, but his songs rarely stood out to me as anything above average. But I’ve been forced to eat my words after hearing his latest track “Southern Sky.”

The track is every bit as patriotic as you’d want a Nollsy song to be. But it’s got an epic anthemic quality to it that puts it a cut above his other singles. The song’s video is also gorgeous, although since it was filmed around some of my old NSW stomping grounds – Pokolbin and Nobbys Beach – I may be a little biased.

“We had a beautiful few days in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle filming the Southern Sky video,” Shannon said. “As an Aussie who grew up in the bush, I love being able to show the beauty of our country in my music clips. We travelled from cliffs to the coast, with each scene giving just a taste of the amazing Australian landscapes out there beyond the cities.”

“Southern Sky” is the second single from Shannon’s fifth studio album, which will be released later this year. Expect to hear a preview of more new material at Shannon’s shows all around the country.

19 May 2017 – Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide
20 May 2017 – Coopers Alehouse, Wallaroo
21 May 2017 – Fleurieu’s, Goolwa
25 May 2017 – Bar on the Hill, Newcastle
26 May 2017 – Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong
27 May 2017 – Taren Point Hotel, Cronulla
2 June 2017 – Parkwood Tavern, Gold Coast
3 June 2017 – Racecourse Hotel, Ipswich
4 June 2017 – Beach House Hotel, Hervey Bay
9 June 2017 – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville
10 June 2017 – The Jack, Cairns
15 June 2017 – Friends Restaurant, Perth
16 June 2017 – Wild Goose Restaurant, Gidgegannup
17 June 2017 – Charles Hotel, Perth
18 June 2017 – Ravenswood Hotel, Ravenswood
23 June 2017 – Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart
24 June 2017 – Launceston Country Club, Launceston
14 July 2017 – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill
15 July 2017 – Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi
21 July 2017 – The Blue Cattle Dog Hotel, St Clair
22 July 2017 – The Ettamogah Hotel, Rouse Hill
27 July 2017 – Club Old Bar, Old Bar
28 July 2017 – South West Rocks Country Club, South West Rocks
29 July 2017 – Casino RSM, Casino
11 August 2017 – Hamilton Hotel, Brisbane
12 August 2017 – North Leagues Club, Brisbane
18 August 2017 – York on Lilydale, Mt Evelyn
19 August 2017 – Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights
25 August 2017 – Shoppingtown Hotel, Doncaster
26 August 2017 – Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave
10-12 November 2017 – Airlie Beach Festival of Music, Airlie Beach

If there was a contest for the best band name, I think The Dollar Bill Murrays would win hands down. But this Brisbane rock act has more than a catchy moniker on its side. The quartet shows it knows how to craft some real earworms with the release of its second EP, Always On.

The guys from The Dollar Bill Murrays embrace old and new music technology, releasing the EP as a digital download and on cassette. It features the infectious track “The More You Know” and the lead single “I Want Everything,” which has clocked up more than 3,000 streams.

What do you think of The Dollar Bill Murrays?

Tasmanian producer Akouo has played it smart, teaming up with one of Australia’s most exciting, dynamic vocalists Montaigne for his new single “Feel That.” Her voice is just sublime, and her passionate performance on this gives the track real heart which is often missing in the electronic genre.

Montaigne doesn’t just sing on the track; she’s also responsible for its lyrics.

“It’s a rare occurrence to have a chance to work with people who are rich in artistic ability but also have a strong passion for the entire creative process from start to finish,” Akouo explained. “True to the nature of art, the lyrics came to Montaigne very quickly and naturally, but it took months to wrap them carefully into this cosy blanket of sound that we both love. ‘Feel That’ is about a yearning for love, and the hopeful uncertainty that comes with it.”

Do you think Akouo and Montaigne have a hit on their hands?

I think most of my readers would believe Trump’s presidency hasn’t had a lot of positives. But for me the silver lining in his election is watching how inspired young people have become to take an active role in politics. Not since the late 60s can I remember a time when younger generations stood up to try to make the world a better place.

It’s in that vein that Perth singer Olive has released her first single “Changing the World.” It sounds far too polished than any debut cut should, with flawless sweet vocals and a soulful spirit that reminds me Motown would be proud of. The lyrics, which speak of the way we can all make a difference if we just play our part, are so persuasive.

If this single is any indication of her talents, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Olive.

Sometimes songs draw you in immediately. Others are slow burners that sneak up on you when you least expect it. “Let Me Down” by Andy Ward fell into the latter camp for me. I heard it last week and thought it was a little sleepy. On receiving another email about it, I thought perhaps I should give it another chance. I’m so glad I did.

It’s such a haunting song, mesmerising in its stillness. Brisbane singer Andy’s voice is so beautiful, and the restraint with which he delivers this song is magic. I have no idea why I didn’t hear all this before!

Andy Ward will soon announce some live show for later this year, which will feature “surprising visual elements.” Colour me intrigued!

It was just a couple of months ago that I was sharing Polish Club’s pub rock tune “Come Party.” Now I’ve discovered a very different side of the band with their latest single, “Divided.”

While I loved “Come Party,” I think “Divided” is so much better. It’s soulful with a rock edge, passionate and raw. I played it once, then again, then again. Then I shared it on my personal Facebook page while I played it again. And now I’m here, telling all of you about it.

“It’s about being stubborn and internalising in a relationship. Not being able to admit things aren’t working and lying to yourself,” explained singer-guitarist Novak in the presser. His vocals are sublime here, but don’t underestimate the impact of drummer John-Henry and those crashing cymbals.

I should also take the opportunity to remind you that Polish Club is touring the country. Here are the remaining dates. Plenty of shows have sold out now (you should have got on it when I told you about the gigs in March!), but there are limited tickets for the remaining dates. They’ve also just announced some New Zealand dates, so Kiwis take note!

11 May 2017 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle
12 May 2017 – Rad Bar, Wollongong (SOLD OUT)
13 May 2017 – Republic Bar, Hobart
19 May 2017 – Rocket Bar, Adelaide (SOLD OUT)
20 May 2017 – Amplifier, Perth
25 May 2017 – The Foundry, Brisbane (SOLD OUT)
26 May 2017 – Elsewhere, Gold Coast
27 May 2017 – Big Pineapple Festival, Woombye (SOLD OUT)
1 June 2017 – The Transit Bar, Canberra
2 June 2017 – Workers Club, Geelong
3 June 2017 – The Corner, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
4 June 2017 – The Corner, Melbourne
30 June 2017 – Whammy Bar, Auckland
1 July 2017 – Meow, Wellington