[NEW MUSIC] MATT WALKER – ‘MAMA GO TELL YOUR CHILDREN’

Photo by Lisa Sorgini

Photo by Lisa Sorgini

Matt Walker has an impressive list of fellow musicians he’s worked with over the years, including touring with Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and The Black Keys amongst others. Aside from all his other projects, Matt’s own musical output is quality stuff too. His is latest EP Mama Go Tell Your Children is a nice handful of laid back, original, Australian country tracks, also featuring his brand new four piece band, The Lost Ragas.

The title tracks bright mandolin lead melody opens the EP on a nice bright note. The instrument’s higher regiester, along with crisp harmonica from Broderick Smith balances nicely with Matt’s lower, grittier toned vocals and the guitars.

Let’s Fall In Love Again‘ and ‘Can’t Sleep‘ have been reworked from solo pieces of Matt’s, to more elaborately instrumented versions with The Lost Ragas. ‘Let’s Fall In Love Again’ slows things down a bit with Matt leading the band into some brief interesting tonal manipulations at points. The final track, ‘Can’t Sleep,’ has calming soft strumming guitars throughout, focusing listeners attention to Matt’s vocals. The pedal steel instrumental from Shane Reilly is really something worth a listen too.

Matt Walker and The Lost Ragas launch ‘Mama Go Tell Your Children’ on Friday the 3rd of May down at the Spotted Mallard.  Joining them is Ponyface who will cover the entirety of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. Also on the lineup is Melbourne quintet Saint Jude.

For more info check the Spotted Mallard website.

 

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[NEW MUSIC] BRIGHTLY – ‘PREFLIGHT NERVES’

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Image courtesy of Brightly

After delivering their clear vinyl 45 ‘Sarah/Doubt’ last year, Brightly are about to release their debut album ‘Beginnings and Endings’ this April . But the boys have shaken things up a bit with this release, developing a way in which listeners can nab the new album for free via the The Beginnings and Endings Project.

The project works like this:

  1. Sign up on Brightly’s website
  2. Download your free copy of their latest single, ‘Preflight Nerves’
  3. Share with your mates, mum, boss, neighbor etc
  4. Once you’ve shared the single with 10 others  (who have also downloaded it) you can download the album, ‘Beginnings and Endings’ for FREE!

So far the single has traveled over 263,323km’s through cyberspace to the ears of listeners worldwide. We think that’s pretty cool.

You can take part too! Just sign up to The Beginnings and Endings Project and let the the little speck of data that is ‘Preflight Nerves’ travel the globe and you’ll be rewarded with a free album from Brightly.

[NEW MUSIC] THE SOUL OF MELBOURNE

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There’s no music genre louder and prouder in Melbourne town right now than soul. Fresh outta the new Northside Records label, The Soul of Melbourne documents this funky, tight and thriving scene.

Who better to narrow down the plethora of Melbourne soul talent than Lance Ferguson (Cookin’ on Three Burners, The Bamboos) and Chris Gill (3RRR’s The Get Down, Northside Records).The shared experience of these two soul buffs, ensures this album delivers the some funky goodness.

The 18 track album features the cream of the Melbourne soul crop. While the choice of some artists are obvious, a decent amount are a pleasant discovery for those vaguely familiar with the scene.

The Bombay Royale’s track, “Monkey Fight Snake,” transports you to a high drama Bollywood motion picture, with electrifying trumpet riffs and equally constant bass groove. It’s clear why these guys were crowned The Age EG Award’s ‘Best New Talent,’ fighting off the likes of Saskwatch, The Cactus Channel and Chet Faker, who coincidentally are all featured on the album too.

There’s a surprisingly upbeat soul number from The Mighty Show-Stoppers on “Hippy Skippy Moonstrut.” Then Clairy Browne and her Bangin’ Rackettes provide the powerful and punchy harmonies on “Love Letter.”

While AXOLOTL opt for a modern electronic sound with “Debris.” A similar sort of electronic influences governs ‘future soul’ outfit Hiatus Kaiyote, yet their sound is something oh-so-unique.

Cookin’ on 3 Burners adds the needed dose of hammond to the mix. Not to mention the funky fretwork of Lance Ferguson on “Skeletor.”

Speaking of Lance Ferguson, no Melbourne soul compilation would be complete without the The Bamboos. “What I know” features vocals from the original Bamboos songstress Kylie Auldist, who also has her own disco infused track “Changes”. On top of this, the band also back Syl Johnson on “Is it because I’m Black?”

Also featured are Deep Street Soul, Electric Empire, The Putbacks, The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Menagerie and Gypsy Brown.

Some are calling it ‘the soul resurgence,’ and that’s fair enough comment. But soul music never fully disappeared, and isn’t something that’s now being regurgitated. These talented Melbourne bands are embracing the soul style and taking it to places the likes of James Brown never would have imagined. There’s no doubt about it; Melbourne’s got soul.

This is a terrific compilation, and true acknowledgement of these artists. Grab a copy, but better yet, go and see these bands live; its the way soul should be experienced.

The Soul Of Melbourne LP is promised soon. After all, vinyl is the way music was meant to be recorded.

[NEW MUSIC] BEN SOLLEE – ‘HALF-MADE MAN’

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Ben Sollee is an American singer, songwriter, political activist, and a classically trained cellist. Spending half his time touring around the states, with his cello strapped to a bike (that’s a push bike not the motor variety.) While the other half is spent dabbling in environmental and political activism, and being a doting father and family man.

I discovered his music by chance earlier in the year at Port Fairy Folk Festival. In my entire life I have never experienced the sensation that listening to Ben Sollee live conjures. I laughed, cried, danced and had goose bumps all in his one hour set. But it wasn’t just me, the entire room was a-buzz in amazement; the feeling is indescribable. This all sounds so corny, but its completely true.

Post-Port Fairy I was so deprived of Sollee’s music I found myself trawling the interwebs to find a speck of his live mastery. Solid gold was hit when I discovered some amazing human recorded the closing song from this life-changing  Port Fairy set.  Please do yourself a massive favor and watch the clip featuring the flawless Abigail Washburn and Krystal Warren by clicking here.

Since returning to the US, Sollee released Ben Sollee – live at The Grocery on HomeA gorgeous letter-pressed cover encases the CD that captures Sollee’s live brilliance. A few months later the born and bred Kentuckian released Half-made Man.

Half-made Man features a full band of guitars, percussion, violins, violas, harmonies and of course cello. Sollee’s other releases had the odd guitar, drum or fiddle part here and there, yet on Half-made Man the band remains a constant.  Its presence was strange to me at first, and something that I really didn’t expect to hear. The powerful rhythms from drummer Jordan Ellis, combined with guitar and fiddle riffs, muffle the sound of Sollee’s cello. Only when you listen closely can you hear the familiar cellos distance rich timbre. Yet after the second and third listening, the songs develop into a meaningful musical message. and the entire album comes together.

Perfectly mixed vocal harmonies between Sollee and Abigail Washburn on The Healer is a welcome addition. There are songs of love and forgiveness in Roam in the dark and Unfinished, while The Pursuit of Happiness reflects on the musicians touring lifeGet Off Your Knees is another standout track that has such a introspective lyric  and a kick-ass instrumental to finish.When he was more than a man/He was as he wished to be,’ are featured lyrics in The Maestro. This track has my favorite ending of the album, with entwining string harmonics, reminiscent of the beautiful sound of an orchestra tuning.

Unfortunately Half-mad Man is not available on Australian iTunes yet, but you can get yourself a tangible edition (CD, 12′ vinyl or both) from Ben’s website here.  If you’re lucky and they haven’t sold out yet, get yourself a ticket to his Northcote Social Club show on January 10th by pressing this here link.