THE BABE RAINBOW
The Babe Rainbow are just bloody lovely. In 1969, The Kinks released a song called ‘Australia’, which depicts our country as a land of endless happiness and beautiful youth. The Babe Rainbow sound like the realisation of this ideal. Oh, and they also sound a lot like The Kinks.
Thursday July 2 – Black Bear Lodge – Brisbane, QLD
When it comes to putting on a quality live show, Marlon Williams ticks all the boxes. First there’s the diversity of his repertoire, encompassing mournful murder ballads, belting chamber pop and bluegrass stompers. Then there’s his look – slick back hair, wide brim hat and bolo tie. Also, his banter is affably charming and witty enough to not seem ingratiating. But really it’s all about his voice. It’s huge, it’ delicate, it’s harrowing and it’s super sweet.
Thursday July 2 – Jive – Adelaide, SA (w/ Laura Jean)
The conventions of pop songwriting make us feel secure. But music that sheepishly adheres to these conventions can be awfully lifeless. Okenyo doesn’t exactly fuck with the form. Her electronic-laced indie pop tunes contain easy-to-read melodies and stick within a familiar format. But she injects enough personal flair to convey both a sense of comfort and animation.
Thursday July 2 – Newtown Social Club – Sydney, NSW
HARRY HOWARD AND THE NDE
Harry Howard is most famous for being Rowland S. Howard’s brother. He was also the bassplayer in Rowland’s excellent late-‘80s/early-‘90s band These Immortal Souls, and he’s an all-round stand-up gent. But the most interesting thing about Harry is his work backed up by the NDE, which features Dave Graney and Clare Moore. Style-wise, there’s no great surprises (lascivious post punk), but the fact is, these songs deserve to be on the mantle next to the work of his late, and truly great, brother.
Friday July 3 – Tago Mago – Melbourne, VIC
Sometimes it feels like we’re holding onto pretty conservative ideas of what constitutes folk music. Notions such as ‘must have melody and lyrics’ or ‘uses guitar and harmonica’ are a product of what’s been popular, but they’re not strict definitions. Adelaide experimental act Wolfpanther demonstrate this. Wolfpanther mightn’t be purveyors of wordy political boot-stompers, but their borderline-ambient compositions convey a feeling of isolation and distanced melancholy – which we can all relate to.
Friday July 3 – Exeter Hotel – Adelaide, SA
Velociraptor features roughly 600 (OK, ten) familiar faces from the Brisbane music scene. Led by Jeremy Neale, against the odds, the band’s recordings aren’t overloaded with instruments and voices. Velociraptor actually specialise in precise garage pop, which has been known to ignite regular sing-alongs. Neale’s solo work might be a tad more interesting, the stupendous fun of a Velociraptor live show can’t be beaten.
Friday July 3 – The Brightside – Brisbane, QLD
SHINY JOE RYAN
Sizzling Garage Pop
Shiny Joe Ryan makes wonderfully happy music. He devotes a lot of time to another project of outwardly positive guitar-based music (Pond), but where that band trade in punching rock-riffs and exaggerated frivolity, Ryan’s solo work is rich in fuzzy atmosphere that gradually indoctrinates you with its sunny-side outlook.
Friday July 3 – Rosemount Hotel – Perth, WA
You know what, Aldous Harding (who recently left behind NZ’s South Island for the inner suburbs of Melbourne), is one of the most captivating entertainers on the Australian live music circuit. Her self-titled album from last year explores mortality, loneliness and heartache head-on, and her medieval-inflected acoustic guitar playing is reminiscent of an earlier time period. But on-stage, Harding cuts the tension of her songs with blunt banter, which is dry as chips, and just as moreish.
Saturday July 4 – The Gasometer Hotel – Melbourne, VIC
FRASER A. GORMAN
It’s become a lived-with fact that Courtney Barnett is a big deal. But let’s not forget how much of an unbelievably excellent breakthrough this is for Aussie independent music. It’s fair to say Barnett’s pal Fraser A. Gorman (FAG for short) has benefitted from his association. But that’s not enough to hold people’s attention. Fortunately, Gorman has a bag of tunes invoking Nashville Skyline-era Dylan, Bill Callahan and Arthur Russell to ensure he won’t be disappearing from view anytime soon.
Saturday July 4 – Republic Bar – Hobart, TAS
During the new rock revival at the turn of the 21st century, there were a few unlikely bands that slipped through to the frontline. The likes of The Icarus Line and The Blood Brothers might’ve had guitars and a ramshackle handsomeness, but they were groomed on a far less polite variant of rock’n’roll. Melbourne’s Summer Blood would’ve been right at home next to these bands. They’ve got a scathing rock’n’roll sound that’s pretty hard to say no to.
Sunday July 5 – Mojos – Perth, WA (w/ Clowns)