With the recent release (1 June) of Sydney Celtic Folk Rockers Medusa’s Wake’s debut album ‘Rascals & Rogues’ with a very uptempo and energetic style of music that will have you raising your beer glasses and showing off your skills on the dance floor. Rooted very much in a Celtic Rock style based on Australian and Old Ireland folklore, Medusa’s Wake has been described as a love child of The Pogues and Australia’s own Roaring Jack.
Their debut album portrays lots of characters of time past who in fact where Rascals and Rogues hence with the naming of the album. The band spent quality time in Damien Gerrard Studio’s in Balmain with the brilliant Russell Pilling adding his magical touch to the recording.
The debut single: ‘Seldom Sober’ was a late inclusion to the album. It is an ode to, lead vocalist Eddie Lawlor’s, love of whiskey. It is a hard and fast lively drinking tune to get you in the mood for a party! With band members John, Zane, Ben, Ron and Frank all fond of a drop of whiskey this song certainly shows the fun-loving high energy that this band is all about.
Seldom Sober (video) In the bands own words ‘It’s fairly lively as all good Irish Whiskey drinking songs should be’, and we heartily concur, with full band backing and great production this one will have ‘ye dancin’ a jig’ in no time at all. Band quote word for word “1. Seldom Sober. This is a song wrote as an ode for my love of whiskey with the origins being a young boy drinking with a friend up till my adult years. It’s fairly lively as “all good drinking songs should be”
Link to Scenestr Article with Seldom Sober video
Band Questions; Eddie Lawlor lead frontman
1. Your bio mentions your sound is a “lovechild of The Pogues and Australian’s own Roaring Jack” High praise indeed.
It is a comparison and I think that’s where it stops! We have a similar edge but In my view, if we were to be half of what both those bands where we would be doing alright. I think the Irish/Celtic influence is there. I have gotten to know Steph Miller who used play in Roaring Jack and he truly is one of the most gifted musician’s and performer’s I have ever seen. Big boots to fill! We can only stay doing what we do and see how we go.
2. Favourite artists of all time?
Did I mention The Pogues! Luke Kelly Folk singer with The Dubliners and Paul Kelly.
3. What current Australian acts inspire you and why? What international acts?
I also play with The Handsome Young Strangers Driza, Looch, Adam, Dave and Na na are really top muso’s and have been doing it so well for such a long time. International acts always have been and will always be The Pogues!
Medusa’s Wake launch ‘Rascals And Rogues’ at Norton’s Irish Pub in Leichardht (Sydney) 16 June.
Sydney based Alt-Country/ Rock/ Soul band Big Merino released their debut album Suburban Wildlife on the 13th of May 2018, all recorded and engineered by Russell Pilling over three weeks at Damian Gerard Studios.
Big Merino songwriters Alex and Stuart write socially and politically-charged song lyrics that are sometimes gentle and nostalgic and at other times nothing less than a fierce cry for revolution.
Big Merino’s music has a handmade quality to it, they try to blur the lines between Rock, Country, Blues, Roots, Soul, Funk, Grunge occasionally and make their way into lesser known genres. Stuart’s passion for New Orleans second lane and Cuban music has its influences in the bass lines and rhythms of several songs.
How did the Big Merino start Alex?
It just grew like topsy, at first it was Stuart and I we went to school together and we played in bands together for years. It was just two old friends jamming and making up tunes then suddenly there was a bass player and finally we found a drummer (We did manage to explode another drummer along the way) and my wife had a birthday coming up so we played a few songs and after that we just kept going.
What was the first record you bought? And what drove you to make music Alex?
My first record I think it was “Night at the Opera”. It was awesome but I remember ABBA being on high rotation a lot back then or it may have been something deeply uncool.
It’s hard to walk past something as beautiful as a guitar and not want to pick it up. I was your regular earnest, spotty, undateable 15 year old when I first started playing the guitar. I never lost the passion and my early influences were all those sixties and seventies bands.
What was the first record you bought? And what started your journey to make music Stuart?
My first record was The Monkees “Someday Man”. I loved that song! It was classic 60’s pop song written probably by Neil Diamond or some other great songwriter. The B side was a Mike Nesmith song called ‘Listen to The Band’.
In my early 20’s I lived in London with a friend who introduced me to the infamous 100 Club. At that stage it was a Jazz/ Blues venue and I was lucky enough to see several old Blues legends like Memphis Slim, Nina Simone and Slim Gaillard. The night I saw Memphis Slim my whole world changed and I was going to be a performer.
My other big influence is Black Gospel Music. I spent years listening to the great Gospel groups like The Soul Stirrers and The Swan Silvertones – trying to emulate that sometimes ferocious, sometimes tender vocal delivery.
What are the future plans for Big Merino?
Get our album done and out there, get some gigs at festivals and play to bigger audiences, more travelling and playing & singing!
Other cameos on the album include:
Featuring guest performances from the creme de la creme of Australia’s musical talent, including:
Musician of the Year at Tamworth Music Festival Clare O-Meara, player extraordinaire Jonathan Zwartz double bass, Johnny G from Johnny G and the E-Types on piano, organ and accordion, Australia’s most sought after percussionist Jess Ciampa, Living legend James Greening on trombone, sousaphone, euphonium, trumpet, flugelhorn and pocket cornet, the pedal steel player of choice for Australia’s leading country performers Michel Rose from theband The Catholics, a string quartet from the Sydney Chamber Orchestra. Stuart’s wife Alice is featured on 2 songs for vocals.
Beach sloth – “Big Merino goes for a powerful, heartfelt sound on the symphonic folk musings of Suburban Wildlife.”
Dancing About Architecture (by Dave Franklin) – “The art of pinning down a band in just a few generic descriptions or a handy soundbite is the stock-in-trade of the music reviewer but I have to admit that it will take a better man than me to concisely pin down Big Merino.”
Middle Tennessee Music.com (by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman) – “Comprising of a team of seasoned music makers, Big Merino is the culmination of various musical styles, years of various experiences and the talented personalities which have come together like Voltron to form an appealing, soul-infused rock record that can be listened to from beginning to end…multiple times…without getting old.”
Sydney is a long way from Mexico but The Mezcaltones still know a thing or two about sultry nights and dangerous days – not to mention sultry man and dangerous woman.
Inspired by tunes from Tito and Tarantula, Dick Dale, Link Wray, Los Lobos, Santana and other artists with a sizzling Mexican sound.
The Mezcaltones latest Album Second has sounds only described as Tex Mex, 60’s, cowboy rockabilly surf guitar style of twang and incorporating Mimi’s spellbinding dance moves they are hard to pigeonhole.
But one thing everyone does agree upon is The Mezcaltones are highly entertaining! It’s more than a band: it’s a show, a journey… with ATTITUDE!
October Update – With some great live reviews behind her such as
“With acoustic in hand the beautiful singer/songwriter sang her way through well-constructed songs about life, love, ups and downs and everything in between. Coming across as the Australian equivalent of Alanis Morissette, the alternative rock/pop on display is world class.”
“First up, the wistful and edgy, rebellious and arty, relentlessly creative Diana Anaid delivered a set of tracks from her new album My Queen and older favourites relying solely on her acoustic guitar and amazing voice.”
Diana has had a great tour and now starts on her headline shows.
The Cruelty Free Festival in Sydney went off last weekend, not to mention her very revealing chat on 2SER ‘s Dirt Music with the mighty Stuart Coupe, and her next date is Australian Music Week performing with her backing band.
Nov Wed 1st- Fri 3rd Australian Music Week Cronulla Sydney BAND SHOWCASE SET (TRIO)
Friday Nov 3rd at the Brass Monkey Cronulla at 9pm.
Then she heads to Melbourne to finish up headlining for one of her heartfelt causes–
Nov Sun 12th World Vegan Day Melbourne Headline act (SOLO)
Diana will return in the new year with a headline national Tour.
Be sure to catch this dynamic live act while you can as she will no doubt be heading overseas to promote the new album sooner than the local fans will like.
Pic from Adam and The Ants Tour courtesy of Overdrive mag.
Checkout this article/interview with Diana below
Described as “the cover girl for self-made, heart-warming, gut-vomiting indie chicks” (Village Voice USA), alternative singer/songwriter Diana Anaid returns with the highly anticipated catchy 1st single Can’t Apologise from the Forthcoming album My Queen, produced by Steve James (Screaming Jets/Skunkhour/Sex Pistols).
The video clip for Can’t Apologise was directed by Rock N Roll Hall of Fame recipient Nick Egan (Oasis, Duran Duran) and shot on location in Los Angeles at Topanga Canyon.
The Video was premiered by TheMusic in August - here
Diana Recently spoke to Foghorn Media about the new album, her early influences and what inspires her
This album of thoughtfully chosen songs was written during a brief hiatus from the industry, time that I spent reconnecting with family and with my love of writing. The first song Into Your Heart speaks of my never-ending love for my transgender sister and my wish for a more compassionate world for her. This is my first real falsetto attempt since 1999’s Blues Singer.”
First single “’Can’t Apologise’ relates to the dilemma faced by friends tempted to take it to the next level. What happens when he/she gets with someone else, sacrificing both the relationship and the friendship? How DO you have your cake and eat it too??”
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer- Having creative older siblings I was encouraged to listen to different styles of music and was always singing and picking up different instruments. What did your family have to say about it? My dad was supa supportive, even buying me my first guitar- although he did hock it a week later.
What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences? Inspired by the cathartic nature of music, lyrical songwriting in particular, it was the poets of the 20th century who influenced me the most; Loeonard Cohan, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan.
Your bio mentions that you took a lot of lyrical inspiration from your sisters transgender journey, can you tell us a little more about that? More than half of the songs on My Queen are dedicated or inspired by her recent inspiring transformation
What current Australian(or Local) acts inspire you and why? What international acts?-Sia is a fantastic inspirational act to me, as are sooo many Australian artists like Courtney Barnett, The Waifs and John Butler. International acts like Lily Allen, Lorde and Patti Smith.
Fave film? I love watching comedy and Australian made movies.
Fave Book? The Thesauraus, followed closely by the dictionary, but I pretty much LOVE the thesaurus.
Fave place? Melbourne; funky cafes with great food, awesome venues, can’t get enough.
Fave animal or pet? I love wild animals, wildlife and even feral city critters. I always have some sort of connection with the animals in the area where I am touring; We saved a possums life that was stuck under our car, hurridly rushing it to the Bondi vet before it closed at 9pm, and just missing the start of our gig down the road. I was also offered a miniature horse in Tasmania, with full intention to bring it back on the plane as my seeing-eye-horse
Diana’s career highlights include US Billboard Top 40 placement, 5 ARIA nominations, 2 inclusions in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and sets at the BDO, Falls, Vans Warped, Woodford and Byron Blues Fest.
Anaid is a stand-out musician who “continues delivering authentic, original music” (Kathy McCabe)”, and is a pioneer of a “Different kind of girl power” (Music Network) “There’s only one Diana Anaid”. (Iain Sheddon)
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer/writer? What did your family have to say about it?
I actually got into music from a very early age. I did the obligatory recorder and piano lessons, and my older sister and I used to make up songs and put on shows for our parents. However, the turning point for me was when my sister started taking guitar lessons when I was 8 years old (she was 11 at the time) and because I wanted to be just like her I begged my mom to let me go as well. I did acoustic lessons for 4 years and then went on to learn electric with another teacher, who encouraged me to record my first EP at the age of 12. My parents have both been extremely supportive of me throughout, driving me to gigs when I was a teen and coming along to cheer me on.
What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences?
I was very lucky to grow up with parents who loved music. My mother has always been into her rock music like the Stones, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, while my dad loves his soul music. I loved the classics like Etta James and Dusty Springfield but my passion always lay in rock music. I greatly admire Joan Jett, I’m a huge fan of Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac are an all time favourite of mine.
Tell us a little about your writing process, how does a song come along? What gets you going creatively?
When I’m writing solo stuff I usually start from the vocal melody up. I find a phrase or a line that really speaks to me and then I write around it. While in the band however it’s a lot more collaborative. Either Raff has a really good idea and fleshes it out or he gives it to me to do the vocal lines, as well as some great tunes that were born out of a jam session and a killer riff that we’ve just run with, much like Cheating Heart our current single (LISTEN HERE)
What current Local acts inspire you and why? What international acts?
I love Alpine because they’re quirky and fun. They mirror a lot of the attitude that I loved so much in No Doubt so it’s a throwback to my teens. Internationally I’m heavily influenced by The Donnas and Adele.
What are your future plans for 2017/2018?
At the moment we’re focussing on Aurora and getting some good mileage out of it because to be honest it’s a pretty solid album. We have already started tentatively looking at some new songs for the next album but we’re also bringing some old songs from Ascendancy and Autonomic out for our sets to keep things new and exciting for our fans.
If you haven’t yet, read through a QnA with the boys to kick off their latest EP The Door –
Q & A with Jack and Curtis………
What inspired you to become a singer in a band?
The meticulous strain of learning covers and not playing them perfect and or well. If it’s your own song you get to decide what’s perfect and what’s right. It’s a pretty good feeling playing your own music and seeing people in the crowd enjoying themselves as much as you do. Kinda if we get you off then we’ll get off kinda thing.
My old man played guitar when I was young and I always wanted to play. He got me a nylon string and off I went (he still has that guitar). Dad loved James Taylor, Paul Simon, Dylan, and all of those singer song writers, so I guess that is where it started. My teen years in the 90’s in the UK started the band/rock music for me. It was a great time to be around the music scene in England: Oasis, Blur, The Verve even The Spice Girls – ha ha.
Who are your early influences?
As I came to the understanding that I wanted to be a musician I really liked musicians that were unique and matter what they were doing you kinda knew it was them. Early on I was influenced by a lot of bands. I try and steal something from everybody. I am a bit of a guitar pedal addict so if they are using some sort of effect they are an influence. It’s my way of hiding that I actually have no idea what I am doing.
Tell us a little about how you write, how do the songs come? What gets you going creatively?
Usually Jack or someone would come in with an idea, then we try to flip it on its head and make it good, ha ha. No, we jam it out in the room with the boys try new and interesting ideas over the old ones. Really the songs only come together with us pushing each other to be different. I work really hard on them on my own, but no matter how hard you plan and think your idea is right everyone else’s is usually better. That’s the great thing about a band its amalgamation of lots of ideas.
What gets us going is being in that room together, when everything clicks and we all get a little smirk knowing this feels right; probably the beers as well.
Sometimes they just happen. The good ones just flow. It’s usually something I’m angry about. I get some chords going but the melody and lyric is what I find most important. Someone once told me to write what I know and feel don t try to fake it. Which is so true and the best tip I ever heard.
After that I take it to the band. Then they make some noises and change some parts and boom we have a new song. I would say one in every three we write makes it to the live set. One in four get recorded.
Your bio mentions “newsworthy angle/funny story or event’ tell us what went on there.
The Gibson Guitar endorsement was amazing. We had finished pre-production on our album ‘Burning In The Sun’ and we are hanging out in the studio. Marshall, our Publisher & Label) and all round Legend said ‘You guys need anything else for recording?’ Yeah some good guitars, we said and laughed it off. Next day phone rings, it’s Marshall – ‘Go down to the pro shop, they’ve got some GIBOs for you to use’. I jump in the car, the exhaust pipe falls off on the way over, get to the shop meet the Rep, top bloke, we walk out with a Thunderbird Bass, Nikki Sixx Signiture (took it out of the display case for us) an SG and a Vintage Les Paul.
Put about 15 grands worth of guitars in the back of my 1000 dollar car next to the broken exhaust I recovered from the road. A few months after that I was added to the Gibson Artists list. Now I put my fancy guitar into the back of my 1000 dollar car next to the broken exhaust.
What is the first record you bought and why?
It was a Wiggles tape, I was 7.
The one and only, Chesney Hawks, went halves with my brother it was a vinyl single, I have no idea why.
What current OZ acts inspire you? Ditto for international acts?
I am inspired by a lot of bands and artist we play with. The hard work they put in and the amazing talent that goes mostly unnoticed. Australia has a massive music community waiting to be heard. Tune into some community radio is my advice. International acts – at the moment I can’t stop listening to Jason Isbell’s last two albums.
Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect at a live show?
I like to think or music is always evolving, I’m pretty sure we don’t play anything the same twice, we kinda feel each other out and hope that us having a good time shines through. We can get pretty loud but we love it that’s why we do it.
We really enjoy the live shows and I hope people see that when we play. As for the crowd we will take anyone who shows up, ha ha
Favourite artists of all time?
For me, it’s Radiohead , NIN, Queens of The Stone Age, Tool and the two Jimmys’ (Page and Hendrix) with a notable mention to Dave Gilmore. It’s hard though, I’ve been influenced by a heap of bands that I still listen to today. I could be hear all day naming people. Once you find an artist you go and find out who influenced them, it’ a never ending cycle.
Van Gogh. Can’t pick just one for music
You are backstage with ‘insert artist you adore or hate’, what do you say?
Kanye West can you please shut the fuck up
Where do you see Aussie music heading?
I’m really not sure, I’m hoping away from the computer. Hopefully, more performers and lesson button pushers. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of talent in some of them and I enjoy it, wish more of them would use it as an instrument and less of a cheat.
I think we might be on the bottom of a cycle. The music industry is playing catch up with the internet and more home production and electronic music is flying around. We also have the reality music TV shows that are finally loosing their appeal. I believe that one band will come along and start up a big music movement again like Oasis did for the UK in the 90 s. Maybe it’s time for the smaller independent labels to rise as the big ones struggle. It’s music so you just have to wait and let it do its thing.
What are your future plans for 2016/2017
We are looking at playing as many shows as possible, doing what we love. Work on new material continue to work on us as band and just do what we do.
Tour Drink Sleep Repeat. Play shows keep writing and most importantly, enjoy it.