Summer is here and with it comes some of my favourite Australian music festivals. I’m heading along to Falls Music and Arts Festival in Byron Bay over the new year so here are a few records from some of the amazing acts that are top of my list.
This Is All Yours | Alt J, 2014
The 2012 debut album from Alt J, An Awesome Wave, was so well received I was a little worried about where they could go from there. The album was filled with hits like Tessellate, Breezeblocks and my personal favourite, Matilda; earning Alt J the reputation of the ‘new Radiohead’. A title that every English alt-rock group is after!
This Is All Yours kicks off with Intro, a dramatic and integral start to the album before flowing on to the first in a three part song series, Arrival in Nara (Nara and Leaving Nara are the other parts). It has this soft, apprehensive guitar and keys to open with and moves into a heartbreaking tale of a woman drowning.
Left Hand Free is the second single and comes as a welcome increase in tempo. It has this cool blues-rock sound and a catchy chorus – a very good choice as a second single. After a lull in tempo with Garden of England and Choice Kingdom comes the first single, Hunger of the Pine. The single strangely features a sample from Miley Cyrus (a name I never thought I would type) on her hit 4×4. It does not work for me. Not even a little bit.
This Is All Yours came as a double LP on 180gram, translucent, coloured vinyl, without knowing which colours you would get, I got blue and green.
Gon’ Boogaloo | C.W Stoneking
I’m pretty new to C.W Stoneking (pictured), having heard his smooth sounds at Byron Bay Blues Festival 2014 for the first time. My jaw dropped. He has such an old sound I was not expecting a middle aged man from Northern Territory to produce.
Gon’ Boogaloo is the third studio album from Stoneking and the first in six years. It’s also the first album to be long-listed for the Coopers Australian Music Prize before its actual release date. It is unbelievably addictive and it’s impossible to concentrate on anything else when it’s playing; you don’t want to miss a thing! Gon’ Boogaloo is perfectly balanced with ‘50s rock’n’roll and a female choir providing a whole new depth.
The album flows effortlessly but listening to it out of order is really strange, you can see just how different every track really is. A great deal of thought went into the track listing for Gon’ Boogaloo. My absolute favourite song on this rekkid is Tomorrow Gon Be Too Late (if I had to only choose one, otherwise I’d be listing the entire album). Check this album out, it’s in my Top 10 of 2014. C.W Stoneking has recently toured this album on the back of its release in October and is playing the Marion Bay leg of Falls Festival only.
Some Days the Rain May Fall (single) | Kim Churchill, 2014
I picked up this little gem earlier in 2014 at Blues Festival after seeing Kim Churchill play. It had been a few years since I’d seen him around this neck of the woods, with his success supporting Billy Bragg in Canada and recording his album, so when I saw this single at the merch tent I snavelled it up.
Some Days the Rain May Fall is definitely sleepy morning music. It has a solid, gradual build and seems to fit perfectly with the kookaburras in my backyard. The blues harp pleasantly echoes the lyric melody and then softens this tune again as it fades out.
The B side, Fear The Fire, starts with this almost oriental string arrangement before Churchill comes in with his flawless phrasing. As the track builds Churchill sings with strength and conviction before fading off into the same, oriental-style string motif as the start.