Ngaiire has been around for several years, always enchanting, but never quite getting a big break through. I suppose that’s not exactly cause for outrage – there’s not enough space for everyone to be a superstar. Fortunately, Ngaiire’s output hasn’t suffered as a result. In fact, her electro-laden take on neo soul has gone from strength to strength, and her latest single ‘Once’ burns with emotion as it infects you with melodic finesse.
Thursday August 6 – Newtown Social Club –Sydney, NSW
Garage-y rock is a cluttered domain. Ain’t nothing wrong with that – I can think of far less healthy hobbies than getting sweaty in the garage with mates. But it’s somewhat perplexing how few manage to squeeze something of ear-grabbing substance out of the form. Enter Tyrannamen: the Melbourne band pack blues, punk, and even a dash of soul into their tunes, which lifts them high above the murky mass of garage noise.
Thursday August 6 – Grace Darling – Melbourne, VIC
Perth collective Ladywood features the combined power of three leading woman vocalists, backed up by airtight, dirty soul instrumentation. It’s a viscerally engaging formation, perfectly suited to live performance.
Thursday August 6 – The Bird – Perth, WA
There’s a lot going on in your typical Leon Osborn production – drops of water entwine with chopped up vocal samples, siren sounds, scatterbrain percussion and penetrating sub bass. It could very easily jar, but Osborn’s vision stays clear and he manages to hold your attention, eager to hear where it turns next.
Friday August 7 – Flyrite – Perth, WA
Sydney’s Caitlin Park exudes an almost icy cool. The organic-versus-processed dynamic of her folktronica offerings conjures up a busy swirl of intrigue, but Park remains composed and in charge, which serves to lure you in even further.
Friday August 7 – Darwin Railway Club – Darwin, NT
Unlike conventional singers, MCs aren’t expected to sound ‘nice’ or ‘pretty’ or even necessarily ‘good’. For many, an ugly vocal style is that which gives their words persuasive power. But there’s also MCs who’re really quite slick and extend a charm akin to melody-centric vocalists. Melbourne’s Dylan Joel exemplifies the latter, and on his latest jam ‘Swing’, Joel’s vocals sit perfectly over a busy jazz-band arrangement.
Friday August 7 – Club 54 – Launceston, TAS (w/ Seth Sentry)
Look, there’s no escaping the fact that Brisbane’s Cassette Cathedral have listened to, obsessed over and absorbed the music of The Church. But that’s not all they’re into – the use of heavy guitar distortion, kraut-y drum motifs and fragile vocals gives the band an identity of their own.
Friday August 7 – Bearded Lady – Brisbane, QLD
You’ll often here old mates talking about how contemporary musicians don’t make strong messages of protest in the way musicians did in the ‘good old days.’ It’s a pretty safe bet these old mates don’t listen to much hip hop. Adelaide MC Jimblah is dedicated to underlining gross hypocrisy and injustice. And on his new collaboration with Urthboy, Horrowshow and Thelma Plum, ‘Any Other Name’, Jimblah shines a floodlight on the blatant racism that pervades Australian society. It’s powerful stuff.
Friday August 7 – The Lighthouse – Darwin, NT
Sometimes it’s nice to hear somebody else extrapolating on sadness. It allows you to feel a bit of pain without having to descend all the way into your own anxieties, fears, neuroses and sensitivities. It’s also nice when there’s an element of humour involved – an ironic self-awareness that suggests, while sadness is real, nothing’s too serious to stop laughing. Billy Shears does this, with guitars and awfully maudlin melodies.
Saturday August 8 – Some Velvet Morning – Melbourne, VIC
Dumb Punts make dirty noise, conveying an image of falling out of bed, getting fucked up, grabbing a guitar and thrashing around. It’s the sort of thing anyone’s capable of – and these guys don’t seem too bothered about gaining integrity, at least not in a conventional sense. But damn, led by an impressive vocal howl, some of their songs make for a mighty good time.
Sunday August 9 – Frankie’s Pizza – Sydney, NSW