- Birds of Tokyo
Birds of Tokyo and their insistent, bittersweet, rock sounds have resonated deeply with Australian critics and fans. Following two acclaimed albums, the indie band’s self-titled third studio release spent over eight months in the Australian Top 20. The double platinum album received the 2010 ARIA Award for ‘Best Rock Album and in early 2011 the band’s anthemic breakthrough hit ‘Plans’ ranked #4 in Triple J’s Hottest 100. The album’s follow up single, ‘Wild At Heart’, reached #1 on the country’s National Airplay Chart and won the band an APRA Award. Birds Of Tokyo also received the publicly voted Rolling Stone ‘Readers Choice’ Award and ARIA Award for ‘Most Popular Australian Artist’.
In March 2012, Birds of Tokyo partnered with Los Angeles’ based producer, Dave Cooley (Silversun Pickups, Darker My Love) to work on a highly anticipated follow-up to their breakthrough release. After a month’s pre-production in Sydney, they took up residence at Oceanway Studios in Los Angeles to begin recording in a room that turned out to be right next door to where The Beach Boys were crafting their comeback release with Brian Wilson. To the amazement of the band the Californian legends happily spent time hanging out and giving advice.
It was just one of many remarkable moments which have shaped the band’s new music. Creating the new album, ‘March Fires’ was a journey of exploration and reinvention for Birds of Tokyo. It’s a story of burning down the old and coming together to build something new. Spearheaded by the album’s first two singles ‘This Fire’ and ‘Lanterns’, the band’s fourth studio album ‘March Fires’ debuted #1 on the National ARIA Album Chart – the band’s first ever #1 record. The album was certified gold within four weeks of release, while triple platinum single ‘Lanterns’ is the most played song on Australia radio in the first six months of 2013.
- Cold Chisel
Beginning in Adelaide in 1973, it wasn’t until 1975 that Cold Chisel consolidated into its definitive line-up:
Jimmy Barnes (vocals): born in Glasgow, Scotland
Ian Moss (guitar/vocals): born Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
Steve Prestwich (drums): born in Liverpool, UK.
Phil Small (bass): born Adelaide
Don Walker (piano): born in Ayr, Queensland.
Cold Chisel moved to Sydney via Melbourne in 1976. Impassioned hard rock covers got the band gigs while Don Walker developed original songs. He zeroed in on the hopes, fears, anger and alienation, as well as the humour, of the working and student under-classes. Appreciative Cold Chisel armies formed. They followed the band from venue to venue, appearing just before Cold Chisel played and leaving directly afterwards. In late 1977 WEA (now Warner Music) signed the band to a modest contract, just in case there was a hit record somewhere in the mayhem.
LIGHT A LONG FUSE: 1978-9
The first two albums, Cold Chisel and Breakfast at Sweethearts presented the live classics “Khe Sanh”, “Home and Broken Hearted”, “One Long Day”, “Merry-Go-Round”, “Shipping Steel”, “Breakfast at Sweethearts” and “Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)”. But the band was happy with neither album. Cold Chisel suffered from studio debutante nerves. Production difficulties on Breakfast left a bitter aftertaste. “Khe Sanh”, originally banned from commercial radio for its lyric content subsequently became Australia’s ‘unofficial national anthem’ and the Australian cricket team’s victory song. In late 1979, they found studio satisfaction recording “Choirgirl” with young producer/engineer Mark Opitz.
#1 WITH A BULLET: 1980/82
The 1980 Top 10 single, “Cheap Wine”, previewed the album East, where all band members contributed songs. East peaked at #2 then stayed in the Top 10 for 26 weeks and in the chart for a record 63 weeks. “Choirgirl”, “Cheap Wine”, “Star Hotel”, “Rising Sun”, “Standing on the Outside” and “Four Walls” became embedded into our national identity. The double live Swingshift hit #1 in 1981. Two months later the band toured America. Live performances rattled headliners including Joe Walsh and Cheap Trick but Eas went missing from the charts before the band arrived and it never returned. Back in Australia, the band recorded Circus Animals, which was led-out by Barnes’ vehement “You Got Nothing I Want”. Walker’s songwriting advanced into the compelling, spleen-venting rock of “Taipan”, “Houndog” and “Letter to Alan”. The melodic uplift of Prestwich’s “Forever Now” and “When the War is Over” and Moss’ “Bow River” became radio staples. “Forever Now” made #4, Cold Chisel’s only Top 5 single.
UP & DOWN: 1983
1983 began with a triumphant headlining performance at the Narara Festival before a jubilant crowd of 30,000. But by August the band had begun to splinter, with Prestwich the first to go and tensions between the other members reaching breaking point. Cold Chisel decided it was ‘time gentlemen please’ and recalled Prestwich to complete a final album and for a 26-date arena tour, The Last Stand. The album, Twentieth Century, added the title track, “Saturday Night”, “Painted Doll”, “No Sense”, “Hold Me Tight” and “Flame Trees” to the Cold Chisel paradigm. The album debuted #1 early 1984.
CHISEL BY CHOICE: 1984/2010
Barnes hit the ground running with 1984’s Bodyswerve, the first of eight consecutive #1 albums. Walker, Moss, Prestwich and Small took time to reaffirm themselves. In 1989, Walker formed Catfish and released Unlimited Address while Moss debuted #1 with the album Matchbook, the majority of songs written by Walker. Prestwich joined Little River Band for a period and developed his songwriting. Small forsook music for family life. “I’d been in the best band in the world,” he said. But radio and record buyers kept Cold Chisel as present tense. As Barnes’s solo output hit sales of 3 million, so did the Chisel catalogue. The band agreed to reunite in 1995. In 1998, after traversing many speed humps a new album, The Last Wave of Summer, debuted #1 with 100,000 presales. The title track, “Yakuza Girls”, “Way Down” and “Things I Love in You” stood tall next to the band’s earlier work. The triumphant Last Wave arena tour drew 150,000. Lingering disputes within the band were resolved in 2003/4 by 16 Ringside shows that exhilarated band and audiences. “It’s been fun darlings,” said Barnes, “Let’s do it again sometime.” One-off performances ensured: In 2005, Cold Chisel headlined the Melbourne benefit for Boxing Day tsunami victims. In December 2009, Cold Chisel played to 50,000 at the Sydney V8 Supercars event and in October 2010 the band headlined the Deniliquin Ute Muster to 25,000.
FOREVER NOW, 2011… AND BEYOND
The most recent chapter in Cold Chisel’s compelling story began in 2010 when the band secretly started recording new material. Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Don Walker, Steve Prestwich and Phil Small got together and wrote and recorded a handful of songs and realised that the magic was there. With plans to continue performing and recording, the band was gutted in January 2011 when drummer Steve Prestwich passed away suddenly as a result of complications from a brain tumour. With Steve’s performances and some of his songs captured on tape, the band ultimately felt compelled to continue with the plans they had begun. Recording continued through May and June with drummer Charley Drayton.
In July 2011, the band rolled out the biggest archival release in Australian music history, remastering all of their extensive catalogue and unearthing 56 new or rare live and studio recordings. It was the first time ever that the band had released their music digitally and it saw 8 of their albums hit the ARIA Top 100 Albums chart and numerous songs hit the singles chart. In a strange twist of fate, almost 35 years after it was first released “Khe Sanh” hit the Australian Top 40 for the first time!
Cold Chisel then announced their most extensive tour in 30 years and when tickets for the Light The Nitro tour were released in early August, the band was overwhelmed by the massive public reaction, selling over 160,000 tickets in the first day and ultimately going on to sell over 285,000 tickets across Australia and New Zealand.
But the stats are just the background… when the band stepped onstage for the first of the shows of the Light The Nitro tour the music did the talking. Across the country, the tour was met with unanimous raves reviews from the critics and the public alike. Meanwhile their compilation album, “The Best of Cold Chisel – All For You”, which features 2 of their new recordings, debuted at #2 on the national ARIA Albums chart and is officially double platinum.
In April 2012 Cold Chisel released its 7th studio album. Titled, No Plans, the album featured 13 songs drawn from recording sessions in 2010/2011 and includes the final recorded performances by drummer Steve Prestwich. No Plans, which debuted at #2 on the national ARIA chart, was the band’s first studio album in 14 years.
- Daniel Johns
Daniel Johns is ready.
8 years after his last new music. Finally ready.
His first step back is “Aerial Love”; an airy piece of modern pop he created with Lorde and Broods collaborator, Joel Little. The opening lines tell the story.
Synthetic but sensual, the song is in a different sonic universe from Daniel’s other work. And yet the unexpected is exactly what people should expect from this musical chameleon.
“I try not to look backwards”, he says. “Too many ghosts.”
He continues to be a moving target and now he’s moving on.
From 1995 through 2010 Daniel enjoyed five consecutive #1′s with his band Silverchair. They won more ARIA Awards than any other artist in history and sold over six million albums. Daniel became the only person to be voted APRA’s “Songwriter Of The Year” three times.
But what really mattered was his deserved reputation for constant artistic reinvention. From heavy grunge through dark orchestral stylings to baroque pop and then the epic rock of “Straight Lines” - Daniel lead his band on a sprawling voyage of discovery matched by few, if any, Australian artists.
Since putting Silverchair on “indefinite hiatus” a few years back he’s been working nonstop on solo material with a surprising array of collaborators. Later this year a full album will be released which unveils the scope of that work. But as a first taste we’ve got this “Aerial Love”.
The song is just one of four tracks on an EP that’s designed to give a genuine sense of what he’s trying to do.
“It’s not a single plus three bonus tracks – it’s four songs designed to be heard as a complete piece of work”, Daniel explains.
In many ways the opening track - “Preach” - is actually the artistic cornerstone of the release. Underground electronic duo Damn Moroda co-produced the song. A bold and raw public confession it answers the question “where have you been?!” better than any bio.
Listen to it.
“I’m prouder of it than anything I’ve ever written”, says Daniel.
And then there’s the similarly soulful “Surrender”. Crafted with urban icon Styalz Fuego (360, Owl Eyes, Seth Sentry) the soaring beats-driven track sees Daniel entering new vocal and rhythmic territory. Constantly pushing at the edges - seeing what else is possible.
Rounding out the EP is a second Joel Little collab – the wee small hours cruising of the aptly titled, “Late Night Drive”.
“Aerial Love” will be accompanied by a trailblazing video created by using new drone camera technology. Directed by Lorin Askill (Flume & Chet Faker, Phoenix, Sia’s Chandelier [editor]), the film replicates the song’s weightless, timeless, slyly carnal feel.
It’s a new chapter in an intriguing story.
- Dustin Tebbutt
Falling for the northern hemisphere … the notion of life in winter and the appeal of a hibernation far away, Dustin Tebbutt relocated to Sweden for 2 years to live and work, write and record.
The result was this tenderly sculpted music about that move to the other side of the world … the things he left or lost along the way, and the person that came back.
The lead single and title track from Tebbutt is entitled ‘The Breach,’ with an EP set to be released in Australia later this year. The crisp Indie/Folk tune is already receiving radio play, with multiple spins on BBC1 With Zane Lowe in the U.K., additions to high rotation on Triple J, FBi and Unearthed Radio in Australia, and a growing number of community and college radio stations giving the tune air time both in Australia and abroad. Dustin will also be joining Boy and Bear on their upcoming national tour in October.
With glowing reviews and a quickly growing fan base, Dustin’s music is boldly gaining momentum from it’s humble and completely organic start … a strong sign that his textured blend of carefully crafted sounds and lyrics has the weight to really stir the emotions.
Writing, producing and mixing the project as well as playing the majority of the parts, ‘The Breach’ is a solo work in the full sense. Paying musical homage to northern hemisphere winter dwellers such as Sigur Rös, Jose Gonzales and Justin Vernon, it’s an insight into the mind of a young man confronted by distance and isolation, yet intoxicated by the stark beauty of life at 28.
This is the music for your autumns and winters. For the soft light, for the rainy window pane, for that silent drive in the night, or the carving of a home from a new place.
Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gotye is the music-making mantle of one man band, Wally de Backer. A few years ago his indie album, Like Drawing Blood, became an underground classic and saw Gotye collect the 2007 ARIA for Best Male Artist.
The multi-platinum follow up – Making Mirrors – sold over 2 million copies worldwide and was a Top 10 album in over 25 countries. It won multiple ARIA’s in Australia and its equivalents abroad and spawned the hit single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)’. STIUTK has sold nearly 15 million singles, been viewed over 413 million times on Youtube and was the most streamed song globally on Spotify in 2013. It was also the #1 iTunes single in over 50 countries and spent eight consecutive weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
The success of Making Mirrors led to sold out shows around the world in major venues like Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Hammersmith Apollo in London. After a mammoth 2012, GOTYE brought his world tour to a close performing a handful of special homecoming shows back in Australia throughout December.
To cap off an incredible 18 months, Wally de Backer was awarded three Grammys for Alternative Music Album, Pop Duo/Group Performance and the prestigious Record of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Award ceremony in L.A.
- Missy Higgins
Singer/songwriter Missy Higgins has struck a profound chord with Australian music fans with her irresistible melodies, ‘arrow through the heart’ lyrics and a voice that clearly means it. Missy was thrust into the limelight after she won Triple J unearthed whilst she was still at high school. In 2005, Missy’s acclaimed debut LP “The Sound Of White” spent 7 weeks at #1 and became the country’s highest selling album of the year. “On A Clear Night” followed in 2007, also debuting at #1 and giving Missy her first American hit with the single “Where I Stood” reaching gold sales stateside. Then after years of touring and seven ARIA Award wins Missy quietly decided to take a break from music.
Missy went off to Uni for a while but her love for music eventually lead her back to the studio and in 2011 Missy set up in Nashville to record her first new songs in five years. Those recordings became Missy’s third #1 album, “The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle”, which despite the five year wait, became the most acclaimed work of Missy’s extraordinary career. The breakup album with a difference, chronicling the much loved singer’s estrangement – and eventual rapprochement - with music making, spent over 3 months in the top 10 after its mid 2012 release and became Missy’s first release to make the Billboard Top 100 in America.
- Paul Mac
Paul Mac is a leading figure in Australian electronic music. He is a composer, songwriter, musician and producer. Paul is a conservatorium graduate and a multi ARIA Award winner for his work with underground dance pioneers Itch-E & Scratch-E and for his own solo work. The list of artists with whom he’s collaborated with over recent years includes Sia, Kylie, Daniel Johns, LCD Soundsystem and Troye Sivan.
A decade on from his last solo outing, Paul announces today that he will release a new album in April. HOLIDAY FROM ME, was written and recorded across three continents, Australia, Europe and North America when Paul wasn’t composing for a film, touring with remix duo Stereogamous or riding his motorbike.
“Music has always been my escape to a magic place, a world where I feel freedom, joy and all the pulses that the heart can create.” explains Paul. “I called the album HOLIDAY FROM ME because that is exactly what I was trying to do, escape to that magic place. The album is a ten year journey compressed into eleven songs. It’s a more pumping, electronic album but the lyrics come from a new perspective. These aren’t just tantrums of anger or one-sided arguments, it’s a more mature approach to matters of the heart.”
On HOLIDAY FROM ME, Paul worked with an eclectic mix of guest artists to help give voice to his personal and evocative lyrics. The album features the vocals of Kira Puru, Megan Washington, Ngaiire, Dave Mason (The Reels), Shaun J Wright (Stereogamous, Hercules & Love Affair), Brendan Maclean, Nathan Hudson (Faker), Benjamin Fraser and Tim Derricourt (Dappled Cities).
The first single to be lifted from the long-player is “State of War” featuring Melbourne artist, Kira Puru and Sydney DJ Goodwill. “State of War” will be released on Monday, February 9 with HOLIDAY FROM ME to follow Friday, April 10.
“During the making of the album, I discovered the beautiful voice of Kira Puru whose singing infuses a power into the album’s title track and also the first single, “State of War”, adds Paul. “State of War” is about how love lives on a knife’s edge. The intensity of passion is the most ecstatic feeling we all chase, but when it turns sour, there is no stronger hatred than that held for the one you used to love.”
Paul will showcase “State of War” and other tracks from the new albumat this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras Party on Saturday, March 7. Paul will perform in the main room with some of the guest vocalists who feature on the album joining him for a unique fusion of live performance and DJ set.
“Mardi Gras is the perfect home to debut the new album.” added Mac. “Mardi Gras helped me come out all those years ago and filled me with a pride of being that can’t be stopped. To share such a bunch of personal tracks with likeminded spirits, at the home of my community, feels like an apt and a beautiful way to begin the project.”
Silverchair are one of the most acclaimed and successful bands in Australian music history.
The group’s members were all born in the Newcastle surf suburb of Merewether. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies started making music together at primary school and schoolmate Chris Joannou later joined on bass. They got their big break in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition conducted by SBS TV show “Nomad” and Triple J.
Between 1994 and present day, Silverchair achieved phenomenal global success accumulating album sales in excess of six million across Frogstomp, Freak Show, Diorama, Neon Ballroom, and Young Modern. Their most recent album, Young Modern also became the fastest selling of their extraordinary career.
Silverchair have won 21 ARIA Awards – more than any other artist in history and they have enjoyed more #1 albums than any other Australian band. Daniel Johns is also the only person to ever win the prestigious APRA “Songwriter Of The Year” Award on three separate occasions.