New Music Through Old Ears: Australian Music Showcase

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It’s new music time as entertainment editor John Turnbull checks out the best new Australian releases, including folk-rockers Chris Cavill & The Prospectors, pop princes Savage Garden, IA favourite Chris Coleman and next big thing, Greta Stanley.

New Album from a New Artist

Chris Cavill & The Prospectors Know Your Destiny

Chris Cavill has been playing the laneways and bars of Melbourne since 2006, releasing his debut album Distance in 2009. He has travelled extensively across the USA, Mexico, Laos and Vietnam, building life experience and honing his sound, all the while building a network of talented friends who supported him as The Long Weekend.

After receiving support from Triple J unearthed for their track Feelin’ The Love, Chris and The Long Weekend toured relentlessly and continued to develop their Blues/Rock chops, drawing larger crowds and rapturous receptions at every gig they played. Eventually the band drifted apart, and from the ashes rose The Prospectors, made up of Dave Cafarella on Drums, Peter King on Bass and Tom Braham on lead guitar.

With influences including Neil Young, Ben Harper and Eddie Vedder, the Prospectors take a more Folk Rock approach than The Long Weekend. Don’t think this is all mandolins and scarves though — Know Your Destiny is one of the best Australian rock albums you’ll hear this year.  

The album opens with instrumental Cooktown Sunrise, followed by the country-tinged Across The Border and soulful and sparse Midnight Train. Highlights include the harmony-laden Undone, the bluesy Out On the Water and the rocking Lov’em Till You Die, which starts out with one of the best guitar riffs and rhyming couplets that I’ve heard in years.

Chris Cavill & The Prospectors are currently touring the East Coast of Australia as part of the Midnight Train Tour, culminating in their Single launch at The Toff in Town on July 18th. Check them out if you get the chance.

Standout tracks: Lov’em Till You Die, Undone, Out On the Water

Sample Lyric: ‘Sometimes we all get angry at another, such is the way, it’s just the way we are.’ (Lov’em Till You Die)

Verdict: 8/10 — highly recommended.

New EP from a New Artist

Greta Stanley Bedroom City

Born and raised in Mena Creek, Far North Queensland, Greta Stanley does not come from a musical family. Despite this, she discovered music early and started writing and recording songs in her early teens, and it is from this reservoir that the tracks from Bedroom City are drawn.

With a versatile voice that recalls singers like Regina Spektor, Bjork and Kate Miller-Heideke, Greta finds her own sound across half a dozen tracks on Bedroom City. At only 20 years old you might think that she lacks the life experience to write a moving song, but the EP is packed with insightful and moving tales of life, love and loss.

Following a successful 2014 which included support slots for bands including British India, The Beautiful Girls and Kingswood, Greta has also received significant airplay on Triple J and a crowd-voted invitation to join the Sunny Daze festival in Cairns.

If you’re a fan of well written, emotionally raw songs that don’t conform to the cookie-cutter pop archetype, Greta Stanley is well worth your listening time. Regular readers should also keep an eye out for the Greta Stanley IA interview, coming soon.

Standout tracks: Lakes, Somebodies, Bedroom City

Sample lyric: ‘Tell me you love me just to take it back.’ (Somebodies)

Verdict: 8/10 — a stunning debut from a talented artist

Retro Reissue

Savage Garden The Singles

Full disclosure: I did not really care for Savage Garden when they were a thing. In my naïve, too-cool-for-school arrogance I dismissed them as disposable pop, suitably perhaps for tween girls but not sophisticated music connoisseurs like myself. What a wanker…

Anyway, some 14 years after Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones went their separate ways, some considerate record company exec has decided to release The Singles, a collection of the duos hits over their seven years of togetherness. And do you know what? It’s not half bad.

Singles like I Want You, To The Moon and Back and Break Me Shake me display a perfect pop sensibility, and Darren Hayes has a versatile and powerful voice, displaying power and subtlety as required. It’s a shame that his solo career hasn’t really lived up to the promise shown by Savage Garden, but he’s only one hit single away from being back on top. You can do it, champ.

While Hayes gets most of the credit for Savage Garden’s success, the contribution of multi-instrumentalist Daniel Jones should not be underestimated. After inviting Hayes to join his cover band Red Edge, Jones and Hayes struck out on their own and formed Savage Garden, with Jones playing guitar, keyboards and piano.

Savage Garden eventually split up in 2001 when the pressures of touring and life in the media spotlight became too much for Daniel Jones. He went on to set up his own music label Meridien Musik, while Darren Hayes released four solo albums before apparently retiring from music and pursuing a career in improv sketch comedy and podcasting. Good luck with that one… 

Standout tracks: I Want You, Truly Madly Deeply, The Animal Song, Affirmation

Sample lyric: ‘You abuse me in a way that I’ve never known.’ (Break Me Shake Me)

Verdict: 7/10 — well-crafted pop sung by one of the best voices in Australian music

New Single from an IA Favourite

Christopher Coleman Collective Just Like A Needle

Recorded in a barn in the south of Sweden, Just Like A Needle is the new single from Christopher Coleman Collective, a collaboration of up to 27 musicians formed in Fern Tree, Tasmania. The song is an evocative stream-of-consciousness journey that eschews the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure and encourages repeat listens.

Back in April of 2014, Chris Coleman took the time to talk to IA about his upbringing, his influences and his approach to songwriting. Check out that interview here.

Christopher Coleman Collective will be touring in support of the single, playing in Hobart on July 24th at Republic Bar and in Melbourne on August 1st at Northcote Social Club. Just Like A Needle is available for "pay what you like" download from his website  

Like what you read? John’s books are now available on Amazon and Kindle. For about the price of a cup of coffee you can take a journey deep into the disturbed psyche behind columns including Screen Themes, Think For Yourself, New Music Through Old Ears and JT on NXT. There’s supernatural thriller Damnation’s Flame, action/romance Reaper, black comedy City Boy and travel guidebook Bar Trek: Europe. Check them out!

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