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JFK CARTOON

John Kennedy – New Review and Tour Dates

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.

shivers

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.

JFK RT PR

“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.”

 Checkout Shivers Video

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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

JFKRT2

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Slide Milligan Releases Debut Album ‘Blood Red River’

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, and 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’s 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.

Song Descriptions
Feelin’ Fine
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. The up-tempo “Australiana Classic” song rolls along with infectious melody and nostalgic production. Sure to resonate with fans of Classic Australian Pub Rock, Pink Floyd & Waylon Jennings.

Gasoline
Up-tempo drums begin this blues rock/indie tune. Produced by Andy Clockwise, who also did a brilliant job on the kit, this song is peppered with modern sounds but maintains a retro feel. Think Black Keys, Jack White and adding it to your list you can’t go wrong.

Slide Milligan – Blood Red River is out NOW (May 6th)
Foghorn/MGM

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John Kennedy Releases Raining Treasure Vol. 2

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.

JFK RT PR

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.

JFK CARTOON

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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CoverWEBHeavenly Voices

Fiona Joy Hawkins and Rebecca Daniel Present Heavenly Voices

Australian musicians Fiona Joy Hawkins and Rebecca Daniel team up once again to create a remarkable acoustic new age album titled Heavenly Voices. Recorded and mixed by Grammy-nominated producer Cookie Marenco and released under Marenco’s own label Blue Coast Records, Heavenly Voices sounds close and present. The entirety of the album was performed live in Blue Coast’s Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.) and recorded straight to DSD256 (1). Expert recording techniques combined with the high definition audio bring to life every rich keystroke and string vibration. Heavenly Voices is a testament to what great musicianship and audio engineering can accomplish.

2 Portrait LOD Rebecca and Fiona

Pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins has won several awards including Album of the Year by Zone Music Rewards, Best New Age Album by Independent Music Rewards, and her song “Grace” was featured on a Grammy Award winning album in 2014 (2). Violinist Rebecca Daniel has performed around the world. The Australian Chamber Orchestra in Sydney invited her to join their ranks where she held duties as the Orchestra Leader for several of their productions (3). Both virtuoso in their own right, together Hawkins and Daniel make for an incomparable team.

Checkout the video

HV Video

Hawkins’ pensive piano playing lays the foundation for Daniel’s expressive violin work. Listeners will become immersed in the evocative melodies and harmonies, where the piano and violin have their own emotions that they wish to convey. Tracks such as “Sugar Plum Ghost,” “The Lightness of Dark,” and the title song “Heavenly Voices” also feature Hawkins’ and Daniel’s voices, adding a greater ethereal element. Though every part was performed live, much of the album sounds other-worldly, as though Hawkins and Daniel are pulling back the curtain to reveal a glimpse into the afterlife. In a way, Heavenly Voices is a lament. It evokes feelings of grief and loss, though not without a ray of hope, as if the very impermanence that causes our mourning is also the source of beauty upon which we gaze.

Onstage DUO

Expertly crafted in composition, performance, and production, Heavenly Voices is an album that fans of contemporary classical music will not want to miss. We’re sure once you hear the music this will be a MUST HAVE!

This is how the piano and violin were meant to sound!

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Daxton Releases New Album ‘Electric Satellite’

Long Awaited New Electric Blues album from slide and blues man Daxton out today February 18

Daxton releases his new album ‘Electric Satellite’, a twelve-track slide blues album with up-tempo spacious songs produced by Pat Dow and Marshall Cullen. Daxton has worked with Pat on many projects – someone who has a keen ear for Daxton’s rustic blues mixed with psychedelic pop/rock sounds.

The new album is Daxton’s seventh following the release in 2018 of ‘In Verses’ which features songs covering his favourite themes: life and death, the yin and yang of life, love and loss, while still keeping his always positive and up-tempo vibe.

Producing and playing music since his early teens, Daxton’s passion has kept him continually creating new material both for his band and solo career. On stage, Daxton comes across like he was born to play, his unique guitar style blending perfectly with heart-warming vocals.

Daxton has appeared at major festivals including the Sydney Blues & Roots and Tamworth Country Music Festival where he supported artists such as Kasey Chambers and Beccy Cole. He also has had one of his tracks ‘Moody Liz’ featured in the popular American TV series Doll House.

Based in Sydney, Daxton is best described as a blues/rock artist with a twist of pop and rock. He plays slide guitar rock/blues songs with a fresh and innovative sound. The new album ‘Electric Satellite is a heavy, rustic blues rock album with psychedelic pop/rock sounds.

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Song Descriptions

Electric Satellite
The title track to the new album is a frenetic up-tempo post punk folk blues anthem. A full band and all the rocking bells and whistles to make it work.

High As A Kite
Bluesy slide guitar starts this classic Daxton tune. Catchy backing vocal ‘ooh ahs’ and full band including the classic Hammond organ, complete this mid-tempo tune.

Bad Tmes 
Down and dirty blues from Daxton, featuring blues harp, slide guitar. Mid-tempo drums and bass, snappy guitar licks and riffs and the whole thing comes in at a rockin’ 2mins 47seconds.

Daxton – Electric Satellite is out NOW February 18th
Foghorn/MGM

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Peter Sterling’s Latest Album ‘The Winding Way’

I worked on this record for over one year during the time of the global pandemic and lock down. Tucked away from the world in my home studio, these songs came forth from my heart and soul during this difficult time for all of us. As in music so in life says the back cover. I have found as many others have that our life is not a trek from point A to point B, but rather a meandering journey down the Winding Way with many unexpected twists and turns along the path to the destination of our hopes and dreams. My wish is that this music will uplift and bring joy to your heart and soul as you journey forth. - Peter Sterling

About Peter Sterling
Born in Santa Monica, Peter began playing the piano at 6 years old, first accompanying his brother who was practicing violin. When he was 33 Peter moved to Sedona, Arizona, drawn to its energy vortices, its natural beauty, and its powerful connection to a higher purpose in life. It was in Sedona that Peter discovered his affinity for, or more accurately, his mystical connection with the Celtic harp. It was 1993 and he took to the instrument, without any formal training or lessons, like the proverbial fish to water.

His career as a recording artist began in 1994 with his first album, Harp Magic, released on the World Disc label. Success came almost immediately as the recording was nominated for the Best Instrumental Album award by NAIRD (now A2IM), an organization for independent musicians. His acclaim continued and grew exponentially in the 2000s with multiple nominations from the prestigious website New Age Reporter/Zone Music Reporter, including several nominations for Album of the Year. His albums consistently charted high up in their top 100, including grabbing the #1 spot for his 2013 release, Twilight Serenade. While his recent works are released on his own Harp Magic label (including his 2018 album, Magic Kingdom), Real Music, one of the giants of new age music, released his Shadow, Mist and Light album in 2005. His most recent recognition came in 2017 when he shared the Hollywood Music and Media Award for Best New Age song. In addition, Divine Reflection from Sanctuary of Light won the HMMA for Best Ambient/New Age song of 2021 and Sanctuary won the 2021 COVR Silver Award in the Visionary Music category.

When he is asked, “What is the best part of being a musician?” Peter answers, “Creating music that touches the heart and soul of listeners… bringing peace and healing to people all over the world. I love receiving letters about how my music has touched peoples’ lives.” Peter looks back at his path to the present now and humbled at his worldwide success. Back when he was recording his first 8-track compositions on a cassette tape in Byron Bay, Australia, and then marketing it by going door-to-door to Sedona’s stores, he could scarcely imagine that one day his music would reach people across the planet through international airplay (Pandora, SiriusXM, Soundscapes) as well as on major airlines (United and American).

Composed & produced by Peter Sterling for Harp Magic Music (BMI)
Peter Plays a custom made Lyon and Healy electric Troubador, keyboards, vocals, percussion, freenote chimes, G-Dov Gertzweig/violin, Richard Hardy silver and bamboo flutes, Hans Christian Cello
Mastered by Eric Boulanger, The Bakery Sony studios Culver City

The Winding Way is OUT NOW – via Harp Magic Music

Spotify album link:

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Gareth Koch New Reviews

GARETH KOCH

ELIZABETHAN JANGLE

A CHRISTMAS ALBUM

Foghorn Records

 The past couple of years has seen the recorded output of classically trained guitarist Gareth Koch rise exponentially to match (almost) that of his most recent musical collaborator, Steve Kilbey, releasing two solo albums, an EP, Code Blue, and now a second EP, Elizabethan Jangle – really a mini-album, its seven pieces succinctly and elegantly arranged and performed – all instrumental, as well as two albums with Kilbey within the past 20 months. This time around, Koch has returned to familiar territory, the music for lute composed by John Dowland (1563-1626), some of whose catalogue he’s recorded for ABC Classical. This time around he’s “reimagined” some Dowland, as well as Henry VIII’s ‘Greensleeves’, and rearranged some pieces from the Elizabethan era for a contemporary audience, the solo lute replaced by flamenco, classical and steel-string guitars, occasionally accompanied by Hofner and Rickenbacker basses as well as the odd bit of bodhran (I think), the additional instrumentation, all played by Koch, never overwhelming the central melodies, which drift between feisty and celebratory and liltingly romantic. ‘Tis pity ‘tis so short a time one gets to share with this remarkable minstrel in this context. Another dozen pieces please! Ensuring some sort of continuity with his even more prolific collaborator, the pastel portrait of Koch gracing the CD’s cover is by Steve Kilbey. Just for good measure, Koch released a third solo album just before Christmas 2021, his take on a variety of Christmas music from medieval through traditional to ‘Little Drummer Boy’, again all beautifully arranged and performed, nothing saccharine, so keen readers might want to grab a copy of A Christmas Album to put away for Christmas 2022.

MICHAEL SMITH

Stream Elizabethan Jangle here:

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Gareth Koch Releases ‘A Christmas Album’

Imagine timeless European Christmas music played instrumentally, as if upon a choir of lutes. Ancient & exquisite songs, deep within the human psyche, are now newly arranged by ARIA Award winning guitarist Gareth Koch. The interpretations reveal his signature blend of contemporary flair laced with medieval sensibilities.

The arrangements are both elegant & appealing, sidestepping any notion of commercialised Christmas clichés. Re-imagined as troubadour-like ballads or tender Austrian folk songs, each carol receives a unique treatment. The listener is invited into an array of soundworlds, ranging from the early medieval to English folk-revival.

The music of this album leads us away from the bustle of many modern realities. Instead, we are drawn into a gentler universe, filled with subtlety & nuance. In any year, at any time, this album presents a Christmas message we all need to hear.

Song Description
Little Drummer Boy
This timeless mid-tempo classic Christmas carol is dealt with not just using multiple classical guitar parts but with hand percussion and rice shakers.

Ding Dong Merrily On High
An up-tempo and superbly played Christmas piece dating right back to the 1800’s. Even some 12 string electric features in Gareth’s new arrangement.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
A very old piece, dated to the 16th century and referred to in Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’. Gareth recreates the vocal melody perfectly and becomes a terrific hum along piece. Bass guitar rounds out the arrangement featuring multiple guitars: acoustic, nylon string and electric creating a lush sonic tapestry.

About Gareth Koch
Gareth Koch is an ARIA Award winning recording artist, guitar soloist, composer & songwriter. He has recorded a diverse repertory across multiple albums spanning works for classical guitar, flamenco, original compositions, arrangements, medieval projects & song writing. He has appeared at major festivals within Australia, Europe, Asia and North America.
Gareth is involved with many cross genre projects. Over the past two years he has released two collaborative albums with ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Steve Kilbey (The Church). Earlier this year a third collaboration with Steve saw the release of double album ‘The Hall of Counterfeits’ which was nominated in this years AMP Prize.

A Christmas Album is OUT NOW  November 26th – via MGM
Pre order CDs in shrink wrapped double gatefold package below

Order CD from the Official Store or stream/download below

CD’s Also available at good retail record stores across Australia

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Jack Nolan Gabriel album launch Live Show

‘The GABRIEL Album Launch

Book here – Tickets

Friday 12 November,
8pm
The Red Velvet Room
Upstairs at The Coogee Diggers
2 Byron Street Coogee

Support Australian music & musicians 

After all these crazy months, we’re finally live again.

Join me and the band at the Red Velvet Room – upstairs at the Coogee Diggers, 2 Byron Street, to release and celebrate the critically acclaimed LP ‘Gabriel’, released earlier this month.

Get your VINYL copy at the show.

Come and support Australian music and check out my great band.

Jack Nolan – Acoustic & electric Guitars

Travis New – Electric Guitars – Andrew Farris INXS, Mi-Sex, Imogen Clark

Andy Horvath  – Drums – Casey Donovan, Adam Brand, Boney M, O’Shea, Jack Vidgen, Cyrus, Vanessa Amorosi, Kate DeAraugo, to name a few.

Tim Sampson – Base – Andrew Farris /Christine Anu

Check Out Jack Nolan’s New Website

Gabriel is Jack Nolan’s fifth solo album, and the first album he’s yielded to someone he trusted enough to produce: This is an album that mines its own carefully sculpted acoustic world with a profoundly atmospheric sense of place, and a depth of self-knowledge that speaks of arrival after a lifetime of sometimes hard, sometimes tender experience.

The genesis, Gabriel came to Jack a few years ago, sat at his side on a long desert drive that he wasn’t sure he’d come back from. The title track, in its own unhurried and roundabout way, eventually found itself in Nashville, USA, on an album completed just before COVID-19 wrought its havoc on the world.

Atonement is upfront in titles like The Hopeless Son and Restitution Song. Others — Tomorrow Came, Faster Than the Speed of Change, A Fool Would Follow Me — are deeper stocktakes, songs from life’s rear view mirror. Ghosts of people and places and other, maybe darker things, receding for sure, but too close to ignore.

Produced by Justin Weaver and captured on two-inch tape in the aptly named ‘Welcome to 1979’ Studios by engineer Chris Mara, the assembled band included drummer Jimmy Paxson, bassist Chris Autry, keys player Phil Towns and pedal steel player David Spires who were joined by backup singers Terri Lynn Weaver & Siobhan Maher Kennedy. Justin himself applied the deeply textured lead and electric guitars.

Gabriel, is a record offering up evocative, ethereal stories, perhaps best signalled on the album’s title track, with Nolan singing “Endless lanes /endless cars // In the absence /of stars” reminding us of this new world, turned on its axis in 2020/21.

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Gabriel is OUT NOW Oct 8 Quay Records/MGM.
Vinyl LP, CD and Digital

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