While the focus may be on the world class tennis action at Melbourne Park, there are still countless entertainment options on offer during Australian Open 2014 if you want to take a break from the courts and soak up some of the atmosphere of summer in Melbourne.
One of the most popular attractions is the Heineken Live Stage at Grand Slam Oval, where you can catch some of the Australia’s best music acts performing a live set each day of the tournament (view schedule). The 2014 event has brought together an exciting and diverse line-up of artists, including:
"... the rumours are true they are absolutely amazing live ..." Mind the Muisc Nov. '13
It was at notorious Melbourne bar Cherry that the 9-piece established their reputation as one of the city’s most electrifying live acts. With ecstatic horns, one of the tightest rhythm sections in town, and Nkechi Anele s soaring vocals, capable of breaking hearts one minute and eliciting frenzied dancing the next, they refused to be ignored. As more and more people stumbled upon their performance at the bar’s weekly soul night, word spread and soon their residencies had people lining AC/DC Lane for an opportunity to watch, listen to, dance to and sweat with Saskwatch. Their commitment to playing shows locally and then interstate led to a strong following in their home city, state and, eventually, country. Landing a spot at a major festival in late 2011 was a small sign of what was to come.
2012 was a big year for Saskwatch. They released their debut album, Leave It All Behind, to widespread acclaim. The lead single, Your Love, became a triple j favourite and exposed them to the nation in a big way. National touring ensued before the band headed to Europe to play an intensive series of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as gigs in London. Back home, they were given the ultimate local tick of approval by being invited to perform at two of Australia’s most coveted music festivals: Meredith and its sister festival, Golden Plains. They also took their music to entirely new audiences with support slots for international acts Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Maceo Parker and Earth, Wind and Fire.Things just keep coming for Saskwatch. So far, 2013 has seen the band share a stage with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, return to Cherry for a record-breaking residency, perform to rapturous reception at Byron Bay’s Bluesfest, and receive invitations to BlackisBack festival in Spain as well as the world’s biggest music festival, Glastonbury. Early in the year saw the release of the single I Get Lonely , with Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Total Control), which saw low-fi garage rock merge with their trademark horns and dynamic vocals. More recently they’ve taken their unanimously adored live show around the country again, to support their latest single 'Hands'.
While all this is happening Saskwatch continue to work on their sophomore album.
Monday 13th January
World's End Press
World’s End Press effortlessly combine traditional instrumentation with live electronics to create intelligent, widescreen dance music. Drawing on a disparate array of influences – disco, krautrock, house, punk, techno, Jamaican lovers rock – the band have a sound that’s all their own. They’ve toured Australia with Primal Scream, Hot Chip, Metronomy and !!!, and played festivals nation wide. In June this year, they played their first US shows supporting Cut Copy, whose frontman Dan Whitford produced a single for the band in 2012, ‘Second Day Uptown’.
On October 4th 2013, World's End Press released their debut self titled album on Liberation. Clocking in at just over an hour, World’s End Press is expansive, ambitious and darkly anthemic, the kind of debut only a band who have gotten to know each other inside out could make. Intimate ballads nestle between uplifting house driven bangers; glassy-eyed 5am club excursions push up against elegant pop singles. Produced by Tim Goldsworthy, the self titled album perfectly captures not only the band's live dynamism, but also the freewheeling, impulsive adventures of a band let loose in the studio of their dreams.
Tuesday 14th January
Sleep In The Wateris the debut LP from Snakadaktal. This is an album that will shatter preconceptions, a bold new offering that highlights depths of talent hinted at in previous releases. It’s a bit like reuniting with an old friend, a friend who’s sailed around the world to come home older and wiser. Only instead of bringing home stories about Paris, New York or London, they return singing strange, beautiful ballads about finding love at the bottom of the ocean.
Snakadaktal didn’t so much explode onto the music scene as cascade gently down like a handful of glitter thrown over a crowd. Soon after they first came together to make sweet music, Pheobe Cockburn, Sean Heathcliff, Joseph Clough, Jarrah McCarty-Smith and Barna Nemeth were named as triple J Unearthed High winners for 2011. Their self-produced Snakadaktal EP reached no. 26 on the ARIA digital charts. Two singles - Chimera and Air - went into high rotation on triple J, with Air claiming #22 in the Hottest 100.
They followed this up with 2012’s stand-alone single Dance Bear, which reinvented their dreamy pop as a dance-floor friendly masterpiece. Dance Bear won them a place in the latest Hottest 100 and was recently released alongside Air as a double A-side 7” by UK tastemakers Young & Lost Club (label to indie darlings Noah and the Whale and Bombay Bicycle Club).
The debut LP - Sleep In The Water - is an album that is ambitious yet tranquil, accomplished and otherworldly but always down-to-Earth. Album opener Fall Underneath woos you with playful synth bouncing around a simple hand clap, then a wash of vocals and percussive guitars before melting into Hung On Tight. The first single from the album, with its urgent drumming and deliciously ambiguous lyrics, explores “trust, youth, family and the scary, scary world of people,” launching into an album that is eclectic and breathtaking in its aspirations – a sonic kaleidoscope of endlessly shifting sound.
In making this record, the band found a kindred spirit in Dann Hume, multi instrumentalist and record producer (Lisa Mitchell and Alpine), and spent four months at his Stable Studios in Gisborne, refining their new sound.
You can hear those months spent writing in every note of Sleep In The Water. Fans will recognise dreamy instrumentals and magical boy-girl harmonies underscored by poetic lyrics. Yet the band’s sound is bigger, more expansive, better. It takes you to strange, wonderful places, and is always worth the journey. Feel The Ocean, Hold Me Under is a playful take on vocal house that breaks itself down and packs away into the slinky, shades of Too Soon, where Phoebe and Sean gently invite us to Sleep In The Water. The effect is hypnotic, like sinking into a warm bath.
The feeling of being underwater is central to this record, a sustained metaphor about letting go of childish things and taking on the world, without losing that sense of wonder. “Lyrically and sonically, it is about our emotional and physical connection to water. It’s a world that helps us to express what we’re feeling. This is a record about moments and emotion.”
“We hope that each listener interprets the record in their own way,” explains Phoebe. “We all find different meanings in the words, so we write to leave space to connect with listeners. We write songs for the sake of song writing. We are, first, a writing and recording band. That’s where we’re comfortable.”
Snakadaktal write music with room to dream; intensely personal but worldly. So take a little time to dream. Get comfortable, put on a decent pair of headphones and take yourself on holiday for 47 wonderful minutes. You’re going to enjoy it.
Wednesday 15th January
Mahalia Barnes + The Soul Mates
Mahalia Barnes + The Soul Mates is a band put together by Mahalia in around 2005. Originally featuring a floating line up of Sydney soul/blues/rock musicians including brothers Clayton and Lachlan Doley, Jonathon Pease, Stu Hunter and a selection of special guest vocalists wherever possible.
In 2007, the Soul Mates released their first self-titled EP, followed in 2008 by "Volume 1", their first full length album, a soul revue style album featuring some old favourites with a few original tracks.
For the next few years, the Soul Mates toured Australia non-stop, playing supports for the likes of U.S Hip Hop greats The Roots, Lionel Richie, UK singer James Morrison and gospel/soul legend Mavis Staples, as well as playing a handful of festivals and headline shows. Over this time, the band really started to hone their sound and The Soul Mates became a more permanent line up, featuring Rob Woolf and Lachlan Doley on keys, Franco Raggatt on guitar, plus original members, Dave Hibbard on drums and Ben Rodgers on bass.
This new permanent line up really defined the sound that Mahalia had always been looking for, and in 2010, Mahalia and Ben collaborated with several songwriters to begin writing songs for the new record.
In mid 2011, the band joined forces with Sydney based engineer/producer - Jean Paul Fung (Phrase, BlueJuice, Guineafowl, Birds of Tokyo, Last Dinosaurs), to record a new EP. They spent 3 days at Freight Train studios and recorded the songs live to tape, then added some strings, horns, percussion and backing vocals. The EP was mixed by JP at BJB studios, one of the last projects before the studio shut its doors. The result is and exciting, warm sounding, an organic, tough and soulful record.
This much anticipated follow-up to the last Mahalia Barnes + The Soul Mates release - "Volume 1", is simply titled "Volume 2". A 5 track EP, made up of all original material - co written by Mahalia + husband Ben Rodgers, with some real international heavyweights, such as "Big Jim" Wright (Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey), Novel (Joss Stone,Alicia Keys) and Chuck Harmony (Rihanna, Mary.J.Blige), as well as some local favourites Daniel Merriweather, Phrase and Jade MacRae. The EP is honest, organic and the band is incredible. Tracked live to tape just like the old school soul/rock albums that the band all love, the EP has great energy. From the opening track - "Don't Hold Back", an fun, lively number reminiscent of The Rolling Stones, to the Al Green flavoured "Counting On You", or the beautiful ballad "Little Light" a song written about Mahalia + Ben's baby girl, Ruby - This EP is contemporary but classic, heartfelt, soulful music at its finest.
This is an EP Mahalia + The Soul Mates are very proud of. With this new EP out, there are sure to be a bunch of new gigs, so make sure you come and see this band live, as that is really where they are at their finest. Don't expect a quiet, polite, restrained gig, or a gimmicky soul show with costumes and scripted banter (that seems to be all the rage these days). This band covers the full range of the soul music spectrum, the show is dynamic, organic, raw and exciting. Great players, great singing and so much feeling.
Thursday 16th January
A year removed from the spotlight has resulted in light years worth of maturity for Amy, Hannah, Sarah and Holly — known collectively as hard-°©‐hitting alt-°©‐rock four piece Stonefield – as they take the next step in their already impressive career trajectory, emerging from the studio with their long awaited self-°©‐titled debut album (out Friday 11 October through Illusive/Wunderkind).
Produced by acclaimed Band of Skulls producer Ian Davenport and mixed by Grammy-°©‐nominated Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam), Stonefield is a heavy, raw and startlingly mature collection of classic rock ‘n’ roll songs with an overt blues influence, a trademark of the band. Davenport's experienced studio methods, including the use of the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir (lead single ‘Put Your Curse On Me’, ‘To The Mountains’) and recording much of the bass and drums to tape, have created a distinctively vast sound for the album. Says Amy, "Surrounding ourselves with great people in the process of recording the album had a huge impact on the energy and vibe we were able to capture. Ian was fantastic to work with. We felt as though we were completely on the same page with almost everything we did and every choice that was made"
Drawing on a range of influences and experiences, Stonefield find themselves lyrically touching on a recurring theme of maturity and evolution, not just as a band, but uniquely, as people. "The songs from the album are all gathered experiences and life lessons that we feel have made us the band and people we are. The album is all about the journey from childhood to adulthood." Indeed, this theme is found most strongly on album standouts ‘To Whom It May Concern’ and ‘Diggin My Way Out’ and has extended visually with a fresh new art direction and mature new look.
The making of their first record has given Stonefield a renewed sense of fearlessness and confidence with all four members venturing into new territories. "An LP allows you the time to create a journey, become more experimental and share so much more of what you have to offer."
Friday 17th January
It’s fair to say that Pete Tong’s history is intertwined with the history of acid house and electronic music itself. His career mirrors the story of dance music over the last 25 years. A true renaissance man, Pete has never been about one thing and 2011 represents a significant milestone. The year has seen Radio 1 hold a special 12 hour takeover on the station celebrating Pete’s 20 years on their airwaves, in March he held his Miami Pool Party (with Hawtin, Luciano, Joris Voorn, Riva Starr and others), and he’s released two new compilations, Future Underground, (mixed alongside Riva Starr) and All Gone Ibiza ’11 (mixed alongside Felix Da Housecat) on Defected.
His announcement about returning to Pacha, Ibiza this summer with Pure Pacha presents All Gone Pete Tong has quickly become the biggest story of Ibiza 2011 – with guests including Seal, Aloe Blacc, Dev, Yasmin, 2ManyDjs, Gui Boratto, Derrick Carter, Laurent Garnier (L.B.S), Guy Gerber, Calvin Harris, Felix Da Housecat, Paul Kalkbrenner, Steve Lawler, Laidback Luke, Paul Oakenfold, Stacey Pullen, and many more. Over coming months he’ll split his time between UK, Ibiza and Vegas where a 6 month Residency at Wynn is in full flow!
Pete has also been chosen to close the East Dance stage at this year’s Glastonbury festival. On the Sunday night he’ll round off proceedings with a set featuring special edits and more than a few surprises. Add to all this his constant touring, production work, remixes, music supervision, film scoring, and a weekly Radio 1 show, and he’s without question the busiest man in dance.At the heart of all of this, is Pete’s ability to push and nurture new talent. From Guti and Benoit to Maya Jane Coles and Deniz Kurtzel – there are few electronic artists who haven’t had the Pete Tong Push ™. “That’s a big remit of my Radio 1 show,” smiles Pete. “But I don’t turn water into wine – all I ever saw myself doing was fanning the flames of something that I thought was inevitable. I’d like to think that by backing the special ones that I can help it happen for these artists… a little bit quicker"
Saturday 18th January
John Stevens & band
Jon Stevens’ remarkable career as a singer, songwriter and performer has spanned over 20 years and reaped many achievements, including ARIA chart-topping success as the front man of legendary Australian bands Noiseworks and INXS.
Stevens’ musical journey started off with success in his originating country, New Zealand, where he released his debut single & album, with two of the singles and the album all hitting number One.
Once on Australian shores Stevens wasted no time, forming the rock band Noiseworks. Over the next five years the band successfully produced three Top 10 singles and four Australian Top 10 albums.
A studio collaboration in 2000, saw Stevens become part of rock band INXS as guest vocalist and embarked on a global tour, which included a 55-day engagement with the legendary Night of the Proms throughout Europe. Shortly after he was officially announced as the “seventh member” of INXS.
Sunday 19th January
The Preatures are a rock and roll band from Sydney, Australia. Led by Isabella Manfredi and Gideon Bensen on vocals, Jack Moffitt (lead guitar), Tom Champion (bass) and Luke Davison (drums), The Preatures formed in early 2010 after Jack, Tom and Isabella met Gideon at The Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney. Luke Davison joined the band on drums later that year. Their EP “Shaking Hands” was released in October 2012 through Mercury Records, with lead single Take A Card soaring being one of the most played local tracks on Australian radio in 2012.
With their new single Is This How You Feel? The Preatures have taken things to a new level. Their highly anticipated second EP was recorded and produced in their studio by lead guitarist Jack Moffitt, and is set for release later in 2013. The 5-piece’s sound still combines their recognisable boy/girl trade-off but is ever-evolving. It is going to be a giant year for this Sydney band.
Monday 20th January
City Calm Down
After spending a solid three years honing their craft, City Calm Down released their acclaimed ‘Movements’ EP last November and were met with a flurry of praise from not only critics and fans but also their musical peers. This reaction saw the four friends invited to tour Australia with acts such as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, CHVRCHES and Alt-J, where they once again impressed.
In typical City Calm Down fashion, the band has spent the last 12 months tirelessly and meticulously tinkering on new material, once again working with producer Malcolm Besley (who produced Movements). The result is two tracks that make up a digital double a-side – and the first offering ‘Speak To No End’, a track which features Jack Bourke’s powerful bravado, Jeremy Sonnenberg’s chugging bass lines, the swirling synths of Samuel Mullally and finally Lee Armstrong’s driving drum patterns.
As ‘Speak To No End’ continues to build over four and a half minutes, it takes the listener on a winding journey until reaching an absolute climax as Bourke continues to bark down the microphone somewhat reminiscent of a crazed and deranged man.
Tuesday 21st January
This could well be the beginning of the most extraordinary story in Australian recording history.
More than two decades on from the partnership that produced the multi-platinum albums Edge (1988) and Rise (1990), Sony Music Australia is ecstatic to announce it has re-signed the legendary Daryl Braithwaite and is set to release his brilliant new mini-album, FOREVER THE TOURIST.
Far from an exercise in revisiting past glories and greatest hits – of which, of course, there are plenty – FOREVER THE TOURIST reveals a brand new stunning chapter in Daryl’s unparalleled career.
And the centrepiece of this new chapter is the anthemic and sparkling new single, “Not Too Late”. In light of the renewal of his partnership with Sony, there could hardly have been a more apt title. It’s a story of hope, aspirations and most definitely reflections of life, and the obvious choice – to have a go or not.
“It seems quite appropriate,” says Daryl. “Even though it’s about a relationship situation, it’s saying that maybe it’s not too late to try anything, whether it be music or anything else. We’ve been playing ‘Not Too Late’ live and it’s been getting a surprisingly good reception, considering the audiences don’t know it.”
“Not Too Late” looks set to join Daryl’s cannon of uplifting classics, including “One Summer”, “As The Days Go By” and “The Horses”, plus the countless timeless gems from his days fronting Sherbet, such as “Summer Love”, “Howzat” and “Cassandra”, to name just a few
Now 64 – yes, 64! – Daryl’s famous voice still sounds as fantastic as ever and his lifetime addiction to surfing means he’s as fighting fit as men half his age.
Call this a comeback, a second comeback at that, but as Daryl’s hordes of fans across Australia will attest, the great singer has never gone away. He and his incredible live band have been selling out pubs and clubs in every corner of the country for decades. Several of the members of Daryl’s band have been with him since the Edge and Rise days. The last member joined 14 years ago, which means the current line-up has been together as long as Sherbet were together.
Wednesday 22nd January
-After creating an enormous local buzz, passionate fanbase and an air of mystery in her short career, twenty-two year old singer / songwriter Owl Eyes (aka Brooke Addamo) continues the intrigue and delivers her first full-length project; 'Nightswim'. A remarkably deep, ultra-modern, vibrant collection, 'Nightswim' not only showcases Brooke's signature pop sensibilities and sublime taste, it firmly establishes her as one of music's brightest and most innovative songwriters.
Walking the line between light and shade, night and day, strength and struggle, the album is a stirring assortment of densely layered, progressive jams that only adds to the ongoing tale that is this young career. Spanning eleven new tracks of sprawling synthpop, including the brilliant nostalgia of first single 'Closure', the slick, Scandinavian attitude of 'Hurricane' and Italo-disco stylings of title track 'Nightswim', Owl Eyes has managed to fashion a diverse yet cohesive record, bonded by its bold, emotive songwriting and dynamic production.
Formed in collaboration with a small but powerful group of creative partners - the recent ARIA Award-winning Styalz Fuego (Producer of the Year), frequent collaborator Jan Skubiszewski and emerging Perth producer Cameron Parkin - 'Nightswim' displays a distinct growth and development from Brooke's previous efforts, a coming of age record that indicates she has discovered herself as both person and artist.
With three successful EPs (2010's 'Faces', 2011's 'Raiders', 2012's 'Crystalised'), years of relentless touring and multiple triple j Hottest 100 appearances under her belt, 'Nightswim' has been a long time coming. It was definitely worth the wait<-
Thursday 23rd January
British India emerged from the underbelly of Melbourne’s independent music scene to take Australia by storm in July 2007 with their acclaimed debut album Guillotine. As their songs ‘Black & White Radio’, ‘Tie Up My hands’ & ‘Run The Red Light’ became arm-raising, air-punching anthems at venues and festivals across the country, British India developed a hard-earned reputation for their explosive live shows. They took out the 2007 AIR Award for Best New Independent Artist.
One year later the band released their second album Thieves. Thieves debut at No 5 in the ARIA Top 10 and demonstrated the band’s growth, in both popularity and as songwriters ‘Thieves’ featured the foot-stomping single ‘I Said I’m Sorry,’ and earned the boys their first ARIA Award nomination.
British India are recognised as of Australia’s hardest working bands, regularly travelling to rural towns all over Australia.
The boys turned a new corner in their career in 2013, signing with Melbourne's Liberation Records and Mushroom Music Publishing. Their 4th album 'Controller' saw the band achieve their 3rd ARIA Top 10 debut and their biggest selling single 'I Can Make You Love Me' giving British India their 5th entry into triple Js Hottest 100. Riding high on the success of 'Controller' the band are set to continue their rise in 2014.
Friday 24th January
Clare Bowditch is an ARIA Award-winning songwriters, sometimes actor (stars as Rosanna Harding on the hit Channel 10 show “Offspring”), speaker, writer and creative-business mentor. She’s had Top Ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year (Contribution to Culture), Yen Young Woman of the Year (music), co-written with Gotye, toured with Leonard Cohen, written for Harpers Bazaar and the Drum, and currently hosts an Australian Music Show on Qantas.
In 2013, Clare launches Big Hearted Business, a new enterprise designed to teach creative people about business, and business people about creativity, in ways that make sense.
Clare is regularly invited to sit on both Ministerial and Award-Assessment panels (OZCO, AMP, ARIA, APRA), was Secretary of the Music Victoria Board until 2012, and is a proud Ambassador for Smiling Mind, Life’s Little Treasures, PPCA and APRA.
Saturday 25th January
It was only last year that Sam Margin was sitting in his bedroom in the rural New South Wales town of Menangle waiting for his younger brother Elliott to come home from school and work on a new song he’d just written. After recording the bones of the track on his laptop, Sam put it on a loop, walked out of the room, and left Elliott to jam on it for a while. The track was then handed to their brother Zaac and good friend Scott Baldwin to add their input. The song that resulted was My Gun, one of a handful of demos The Rubens recorded at home and put online in the hope that a few people might hear them.
What they didn’t expect was that this home recorded demo would find its way to the ears of David Kahne, a New York based, Grammy Award winning record producer whose impressive client list includes the likes of Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor and The Strokes. In France for an audio engineering seminar, Kahne met young Sydney engineer Dean Tuza, a friend of the band from their hometown who had helped with the initial home recordings.
One of their home recordings, a track called ‘Lay It Down’ had struck a huge chord at radio and found itself sitting at #57 in triple j’s 2011 Hottest 100 poll. With Sam’s soulful, bluesy vocals, Scott’s swinging, hip hop beats, Zaac’s swaggering guitar lines and Elliott’s organ tones, it’s a song that perfectly encapsulates The Rubens’ signature sound.
“I love the combination of deep rhythms, loud clanging guitars, powerful lyrics, and Sam's haunting voice,” says David when discussing The Rubens. “It was so much fun to work with the band.”
With David Kahne’s skill and experience, the band’s undeniable song writing talent, and their desire to put themselves on the line all forming a powerful combination, The Rubens have made one of the most ambitious and exciting debut records you’re likely to hear for some time.
Sunday 27th January
You can catch all of these acts live at the Heineken Live Stage at Grand Slam Oval during Australian Open 2014 on 13-26 January. View details...