Luke Escombe’s personal and professional life reached a high point in 2019, culminating in him moving into a new home with his young family in one of Australia’s most sought-after postcodes. Everything was going great. Then the world ended.
A giant cloud of bushfire smoke descended on his Northern Beaches paradise, and the excitement of 2019 was replaced by a creeping sense of anger and despair. “Whale Beach Road”, the first single from Luke’s upcoming album, his first in over five years, came at the start of an intense period of song writing and soul-searching fuelled by his desire to reclaim a sense of love and hope.
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Recorded at Damien Gerard studios on the Central Coast in 2020 and then added to in stolen moments between lockdowns, the track features soaring strings and Luke’s fiery electric guitar over a tense rock-reggae groove laid down by some of Australia’s most acclaimed players, drummer Evan Mannell, bassist Zoe Hauptmann, guitarist Aaron Flower and organist Clayton Doley.
“Luke Escombe is a rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter, and very good at them all” – Sydney Morning Herald
Luke Escombe is an ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter who combines his blues, rock and soul influences with subversive humour, poetic lyrics and heartfelt storytelling. He is the creator of the internationally acclaimed one-man show “Chronic” and the writer and front man of multi award-winning Aussie kids band The Vegetable Plot.
Checkout The New Single OUT NOW on Foghorn/MGM
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Heres the most recent review of John Kennedy’s Raining Treasure Volume 2 (More Australian Indie Gold Covers) by none other than Michael Smith – a bit of an Aussie Icon himself
Before the creative juices are once again unleashed in order to explore the next musical chapter, John Kennedy found there was still a little unfinished business from his past few years of activity, taking stock of various aspects of his back catalogue either as selections from across several releases with 2018’s compilationSecond Best, or remastering his most successful album,Always the Bridegroom, recorded with his band Love Gone Wrong, which topped the Australian Independent Music charts in 1987. Then there was his bit of fun, a collection titled Raining Treasure, loving reinterpretations of his favourite post-punk indie Australian pop singles.
Well, before he and the band kick into recording an album of new material, Kennedy felt that there was still some fun to be had from those classic singles – and some you would never have imagined crossed the defiantly defended “frontier of cool” that ruled in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Though, “I don’t think you can beat ’66, ’67 quite frankly,” he admits, “but ’72 gives it a good run.” Enter Raining Treasure Vol. 2. “In terms of engagement with music, it was really the punk, New Wave and then the DIY explosion that followed that which led me to get involved in my first garage bands after school, and then, after an old school friend (singer and guitarist) James Paterson returned from an overseas trip, we formed JFK and the Cuban Crisis and got involved in the Brisbane indie scene. We were the wave behind the Go-Betweens and the Riptides. So all of that was in the background, that early ‘80s golden period of Australian indie and of course there was a lot of great stuff that happened in the late ‘70s and all through the ‘80s on independent record labels, so that’s what was really the inspiration behind these two Raining Treasure albums.
“The first time around it was pretty much going through my own seven-inch vinyl collection, just picking my favourites or absolute ‘stone-cold’ classics of the genre, and then trying to find our own interpretation, or super-charging them. This time round I did look further to some acts that I would never have been into in that period. I also looked at those two compilations Do The Pop and Tales from the Australian Undergroundand then I was asking other people what they thought would make coolselections. One of the key examples of throwing a wider net for Volume Two came from the band’s bass player Phil Hall. He had noted my aversion to Radio Birdman the first time round and said, ‘Well, here’s one that we might be able to do something with,’ and pitched Radio Birdman’s ‘Hand of Law’. Apart from two or three songs I don’t know much of Radio Birdman’s catalogue, but he played it to me and I liked it but it’s pretty simple and doesn’t go anywhere. It just gets in a groove, which is a good groove, and he suggested that perhaps I could amend the melody and push it a little further – which is what I did – added a few chords to the chorus, and then rather than putting in the ‘Theme from Hawaii Five-O’, we put in ‘Pipeline’, so a little homage to Birdman’s surf-punk genre.”
The least likely song Kennedy could have chosen has to be The Angels’ ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’. “We have done it as a waltz live, in the past; not very often but in the wake of Doc Neeson’s death as a little bit of a tribute. It’s a great pop song in the original version but it was nice to actually to bring a completely different vibe to it – that’s Phil Hall playing vibes in the background! He’d provided the horns on a couple of songs on Raining Treasure Volume One. The Cruel Sea’s ‘The Drift’ was an interesting choice, and ‘My Pal’ by GOD was a left-of-field selection, but then Phil just worked them and worked them and turned those two into epics.”
And if you’re going to cover The Sports’ ‘Who Listens to the Radio’, why wouldn’t you kick it off with the riff behind Mental as Anything’s ‘Nips Are Getting Bigger’. “It just occurred to me that they’re not too far apart in the groove,” he chuckles. “In our band me and (guitarist) Murray Cook especially are both huge Sports and Mentals fans. And why the reggae groove? If you listen to the rhythm guitar in the Sports original, that’s the rhythm that’s being played. So I just sort of latched onto that with the proviso that we were not making ‘mock’ reggae. We just wanted to touch that flavour.”
Then there’s the upbeat country take on ‘Shivers’. “It’s odd, because I’d call this a classic, but for the Young Charlatans it might have sold in the hundreds, so it’s not a best-seller” – Kennedy perhaps tastefully ignores the fact that The Screaming Jets scored themselves a #19 hit single with it in 1993 – “but it’s still somehow iconic, so how do you take it and offend as many of its original fans as possible?! So we thought we’d go with a country song with banjo to the fore.”
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Raining Treasures Vol. 2sees Kennedy performing his first duet, on a tune titled ‘Face with No Name’. “Phil played in the last reformation of Flaming Hands about two years ago – he was actually playing sax. I obviously knew of them from back in the day but it was also obvious that Julie Mostyn still has a fantastic voice, so when we were thinking about how we would approach the song I asked Phil if Julie would be up for a duet, and happily she was.” And Kennedy unleashed his inner Jim Morrison as the song breaks out into The Doors’ ‘Do You Love Her Madly’. MICHAEL SMITH
Sydney Upcoming dates
Egg Records Instore, Sat 4 June
Golden Barley Hotel, Sun 5 June
Melbourne Tour Dates
Lomond Hotel, Brunswick East Thurs 16 June (Melbourne album launch)
Dogs Bar, St Kilda on Fri 17
Post Office Hotel, Coburg on Sat 18
Stream or Download the album here
Volume 2 of Raining Treasure from John Kennedy – iconic Aussie Indie Covers from the golden age – Physco, Shivers, The Nips are Getting Bigger to name a few
John Kennedy’s 2019 album Raining Treasure Vol.1 celebrated the golden era of Australian independent music from the late ‘70’s and the 80’s. This album, Raining Treasure Vol.2, goes both deeper and wider into the world of Australian indie music. Kennedy compiled a list of classic indie songs (and some obscurities) from that era and with his band, John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special, has covered songs from Radio Birdman, The Riptides, The Cruel Sea and more.
Some selections covered are likely to create controversy with indie music diehards. The Sports and Mental As Anything? Indie? Really? The Mentals released their records on Regular Records, the Sports on Mushroom; both Australian independent labels. The Angels ?!?! They were on pioneering Australian independent label Albert Productions. Weddings, Parties, Anything (WPA) were on major label WEA. What defines these songs as indie for Kennedy is the independent spirit of the music and the bands who originally recorded them.
An enthusiastic young music journalist once described John Kennedy as a humble genius. Kennedy is neither a genius nor particularly humble. He is the writer and performer of many fine songs, some of which have found a place in the hearts of music fans of the golden era of Australian independent music. Kennedy started his music career in Brisbane in the ‘80’s with his band JFK and the Cuban Crisis. The band moved to Sydney and after establishing itself on the indie music scene, broke up, leaving Kennedy to pursue a solo career with his band vehicle, John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong.
Despite numerous indie hits, commercial crossover proved to be elusive leading to his decision to leave Australia. Kennedy spent the ‘90’s living and playing music in Berlin, Hong Kong and London before returning to Sydney’s Inner West in 2000. He formed a new band, John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special and continues to perform and produce independent releases.
Over the years Kennedy has shared stages with many of the acts covered on this new album. His band members have come from or gone on to The Triffids, the Go-Betweens, Pop Mechanix and the Lime Spiders. The current line up of the band boasts its own fine indie pedigree. Long time drummer, Peter Timmerman was an original Love Gone Wrong member before moving on to the Widdershins.
Bassist Phil Hall played with Sardine v and the Dropbears. Guitarist Murray Cook started out with indie hopefuls Finger Guns before going on to form what is probably Australia’s most successful independent band, the Wiggles. Together with Kennedy they have created versions of these Australian indie classics, reinterpreting some, expanding some and celebrating them all.
The tracklist is:
The Album Launch Show is on the 6th of May @8pm
At the Petersham Bowling Club
Raining Treasure (Australian Indie Gold Covers Vol.2) is out now 22 April 2022,
on Foghorn Records through MGM.
Stream or Download
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The new single and video for Drawing Arrows is Out Now on Foghorn/MGM
Have you felt like you in the same space as someone, but somehow a thousand miles apart? ‘This Space Between’ focuses on the feeling of how we are more connected and yet more isolated than ever.
The song itself feels like a rock anthem hiding inside a more radio-friendly track. Building to an amped up reprise at the end.
Drawing Arrows is a love letter to rock music. Not one band, not one decade, but the whole effect. With multiple influences – from Australian rock’n’roll, US grunge and flamenco guitar to Britpop rock and amped-up punk.
With band members from Spain, the UK and right here in Australia, each member brings their own unique influences. Sidney (vocals) and David (bass/guitar) have previously worked on an experimental dubstep project (Milo Firewater). Drawing Arrows is a creative outlet – a way to channel all their experiences – not just musically influences. The aim – to create music that feels good to play and to listen too.
Powderfinger, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Nothing But Thieves and Queens of the Stoneage all inspired an authentic live sound that sits as well on stage as it does in your headphones.
This Space Between OUT NOW(Fog/MGM)
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For fans of Classic Australian Pub Rock, Pink Floyd & Waylon Jennings, ‘Feelin Fine’ is the first single from Slide Milligan. The track is an undeniable summer anthem in the vein of the Sunny Boys, Australian Crawl & The Church and features vocals by Slide’s daughter Lani.
Slide Milligan’s musical journey has been half a life in the making but sounds as exciting as the latest Australian Rock & Roll export being paraded around the world. After years and years of playing in bands through the late 80’s/90s, Dave “Slide” Milligan gave up his musical dreams to pursue a trade in rural fencing and woodworking. To unwind after working all day in the paddocks of rural Australia and his sawmill Dave built himself a lap steel guitar.
Over the years he started to write a collection of exceptional songs that weren’t your usual “roots” music fare, mixing his hard rock background and his ability to tap into that authentic Australian sound. Despair and dread mixed with sunshine and water he caught the ear of local producers and with some help with production from Indie impresario Andy Clockwise (He was working on a fence on Clockwise’ farm when he was back from LA and the two lit a bonfire in the paddock) “Slide” has produced a psychedelic slide guitar masterpiece called “Blood Red River”. A pastiche of outlaw country, psychedelic post-punk & a different approach to the slide guitar. This music sounds familiar yet fresh in the current musical landscape. At the ripe old age of 52, this new artist is sure to make a splash in the country-indie-rock crossover here and abroad. Blood Red River will be released later this year.
Feelin’ Fine is OUT NOW on Foghorn/MGM
Stream or Download below
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Created during the longest lockdown in the world –
Melbourne’s irrepressible One Man Band records a full album
“From February to September of this year, with the pandemic still belligerently stomping through the living room like a toddler with a bucket on its head, I managed to use music as a way to “remain indoors” and focus on something that wasn’t terrible news in an attempt to preserve my sanity.
Ducking’ begins and ends with comic ‘bookends’ an almost Las Vegas lounge singer introduction and ‘Gateway Song’ that abruptly gives way to ‘Everything Is OK’ (something we all want to hear). A positive and up-beat acoustic guitar and glockenspiel tune with cheerful whistling that reassuringly squeezes your shoulder and says everything will be ok. Aaaahhh yes … I do hope so.
It’s an eclectic mix of up-beat rock, down-beat moody rock, tongue-in-cheek segues, power pop (and whatever Paranoia Grande is), that moves quickly in spite of the rather long 47-minute total playing time. Song durations range from 27 seconds to the cinematic and sprawling 5:07 of ‘Don’t Forget Me’ which is appropriate because it was actually written for a movie. “The Problem Y” was shot in California a few years ago and is yet to be released. Written & directed by Joe Bizarro with whom I spent 5 years making music for The Brides Of Satan grindhouse indie slasher which is now available to stream and buy.
‘Ducking’ is a fun, light hearted and amusing album in places but gets serious and even a little scary in others – all part of the emotional rollercoaster of the pandemic era. I feel the title sums it all up. We all know what we meant to say when we tried to text ‘Ducking’ but autocorrect had other intentions … our frustration becomes humour and we find that we can still laugh at ourselves. ” –
Jamie Coghill September 23, 2021
As a band I am called The Jimmy C. As a human person I am called Jamie Coghill and am possibly known for (by people with very good memories specifically within the Melbourne pub rock scene) playing drums with The Devilrock Four, Fez Perez and Luxedo – going back more than 20 years now to the very late 90s so to be familiar with me is super niche and you would have to have very good taste!
Sometime around 2005 I decided to make an album of songs I’d recorded on a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder. I’d been experimenting with writing and recording since my teens but until then I hadn’t recorded anything I wanted people to hear.
Over the past 16 years I worked on my song writing, playing and recording techniques and released 7 albums, 4 soundtrack albums (2 for an American web series: The Adventures Of Superseven and The Sandra West Diaries, and one for an American indie grindhouse film: The Brides Of Satan), and a few EPs and singles. I also made a sort of 10 year anniversary live album/video roping in a few friends to play and record my songs live, which lead to the formation of Lava Fangs, a garage power pop punk band with an EP, an album and some singles – we’re very good and you should check us out!
As a one-person band I have found the pandemic era to be quite productive, and a welcome distraction from almost two years of terrible news (I’m writing this the day after the Melbourne earthquake – who saw that coming?!?!). From February 2021 to mid-September I worked on a new collection of songs as well as upgrading my recording setup – still with quite out of date gear but a huge step forward from the stuff I used to record my previous albums!
Super Furry Animals, Ween, Queens of the Stone Age, Sloan,
Ducking is out now on Foghorn/MGM.
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