I am such a sucker for a big emotive ballad. So “Start Over,” the lead single from Aussie expats O’Shea’s new album 61-615 hits just the right note for me.

O’Shae’s Mark and Jay penned the song with Alex Lloyd, who they have known since their early days in Balmain. “When we got together in Nashville to write, we just started talking about relationships and the ebbs and flows that any married couple goes through,” said Mark. It’s something Mark has first-hand experience with, as his O=Shea bandmate Jay is also his wife!

“’Start Over’ is about feeling off track with the communication in a relationship and wanting to get back to the connection that pulled you together in the first place,” Jay added.

O’Shea will leave Nashville behind for a while to return home to celebrate 61-615’s release on July 28. The band’s Aussie tour kicks off the same day in Sydney.

28 July 2017 – Leadbelly, Sydney
29 July 2017 – Centro CBD, Wollongong
30 July 2017 – Lizotte’s, Newcastle
3 August 2017 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
4-11 August 2017 – Tunes in the Tropics, Fiji
12 August 2017 – Mt Isa Rodeo, Mt Isa

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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

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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?

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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?

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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.

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When I first heard music from J▲M▲T▲R last October, I was really excited about his creativity, yet wondering if he could be a one-trick pony. Creating music with a Gameboy is so cool conceptually, but there was always a chance it would become gimmicky. However, since I first heard from this Victorian artist, J▲M▲T▲R has gone from strength to strength. He’s played sold-out shows in London, signed a UK record deal, and appeared on the bills of leading local festivals like NYE on the Hill and The Hills are Alive.

His latest single is “Reflect,” a fantastic vehicle for showcasing J▲M▲T▲R’s unique approach to music-making and the vocal talents of his long-time pal Natalie Foster. It was inspired by an Alice Carroll animation depicting a girl lost in space. She feels fearful when her reflection leaves her, but she soon overcomes her doubts and discovers a new strength on her journey.

J▲M▲T▲R will play Sydney’s World Bar on June 9 and Melbourne’s Yah Yahs on June 16 to support the release of “Reflect.”

Image used with permission from Little Giant Agency

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The guys from Aussie band Dune Rats know a good thing when they hear it. They’ve just signed Rockhampton punk act Pandamic to their label, Ratbag Records.

You can discover what Pandamic is all about with the release of the raucous new single “Sam,” which comes from the quartet’s EP Archer, due for release on June 2.

Dune Rats’ support of Pandamic continues next month, when they’ll take their latest signing on their regional tour. Make sure you arrive early to catch Pandamic’s set at the following shows.

9 June 2017 – The Cambridge, Newcastle
10 June 2017 – Entrance Leagues Club, Central Coast
11 June 2017 – Uni Bar, Wollongong
14 June 2017 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
15 June 2017 – The Wool Exchange, Geelong
16 June 2017 – Pier Bandroom, Frankston
17 June 2017 – Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough
18 June 2017 – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury
24 June 2017 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
30 June 2017 – Dalrymple, Townsville
1 July 2017 – Magnums, Airlie Beach

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I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for big anthemic rock music today. “Hugo,” the latest track from Brunswick band Neighbourhood Youth, fits the bill. It might be far too early for such behaviour, but it has me punching the air in solidarity.

“’Hugo’ tells the story of an old man reminiscing about the war, and his feelings and regrets from that experience. It also touches on how humans don’t learn from their past mistakes,” the band’s bassist and the wordsmith behind the song, Sam Nathan, explained in a press release.

Neighbourhood Youth will play a couple of shows to celebrate the release of “Hugo.” Keep in mind that these guys sold out the Workers Club last year when they launched their sophomore EP, so you can expect these shows to be big! Catch them at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory in the Gallery Bar on May 26 and at Melbourne’s Yah Yah’s on June 2.

Image used with permission from Habit

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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!

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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

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