salem ilese – (L)only Child

Northern California pop singer and songwriter salem ilese’s shares new EP (L)only Child – out now via 10K Projects/Homemade Projects/Virgin Music Australia. The EP features brand new single and video ‘Dinosaurs (S4E7)’, alongside previously released tracks ‘(L)only Child’ and ‘About A Breakup’.

On ‘Dinosaurs (S4E7) ‘, salem asks “did the dinosaurs see it coming?” and grapples with mortality, climate change and the general uncertainty of life. The title of the song, as well as its music video, directed by Jason Lester (Lauv , Cautious Clay), references the iconic final episode of the 1990s show “Dinosaurs” that shows the dire consequences of disrupting nature in favour of profits, a message more relevant now than ever. Watch the video below…

Salem’s new project arrives on the heels of her recent writing credit on TikToker-turned-popstar Bella Poarch’s ‘Build a Bitch’ single, which has been streamed more than 7M times on Spotify, this week alone. Similar to salem’s very own smash hit ‘Mad At Disney’, Bella’s ‘Build A Bitch’ is an anthem of female empowerment, turning establishment led gender norms on their heads.

A strong proponent of environmentalism and social justice, salem hopes to spread awareness about important issues through catchy pop songs. This mission included her breakout single ‘Mad At Disney’ (174M Spotify streams, 15 weeks on Today’s Top Hits) which unpacked Disney’s harmful stereotypes of women as well as her EP, (L)only Child, which is full of coming-of-age electro-pop anthems about self-acceptance and the social issues plaguing our world.

The Million – why we’ll never be together EP

Central Coast indie-pop band The Million have unleashed their second EP ‘why we’ll never be together’, a lively, genre-tripping project that fuses emotionally direct lyrics with slick hooks.

‘why we’ll never be together’ is the anticipated follow-up release to their breakthrough project ‘Hydration Station’ and follows two singles that demonstrated the breadth of the EPs vast range. From the funk-tinged stylings of ‘Somebody Better’ to the reverb-soaked honesty of ‘Check Up’, they began telling the story of a break-up that unfolds in full over the course of the whole project.

It’s an unwavering EP full of raw, vivid lyrics that centre around an emotionally turbulent time for lead-singer and lyricist Jacob Thomas. Specifically, it’s the story of the breakdown of a relationship and all the motions that you go through afterward from bitterness to liberation.

The EP title, as Thomas says, “summarises all the emotions.”

“I came out of it feeling like that’s life and these things happen…Fuck it. I don’t ever have to see you again,” he says.

We move from the regret and nostalgia of ‘Last Call’ to budding new love on ‘Stop/Go’. Thomas covers all the emotions surrounding budding and disintegrating love through stories both fact and fiction. ‘Stop/Go’ was the first song written for the record, painting a sunny picture of a young relationship. ‘Last Call’, on the other hand, was one of the last songs written and is regretful, depicting a relationship that’s ended. “Should’ve put us before anyone else,” Thomas sings.

‘Stop Go’ is tense and sweaty capturing the sexual attraction of a new relationship with sticky guitars and spoken vocals. In stark contrast, ‘Last Call’ draws on ’80s synth-pop, leaping along at a heart-raising tempo. It’s a heartbreak anthem but the sounds are liberating, leaving all bad feelings on the dancefloor.

‘why we’ll never be together’ came to be over the space of a few years, as the band experimented with new producers and new places. From Australia to LA, Thomas challenged himself with opening-up in an attempt to tap into the emotional honesty that permeated the music he was inspired by.

“I was listening to music that was making me cry and music that was making me feel things. I needed to make music that made me feel something” he says.

A writing trip to LA was a formative experience that added up to a flood of experimentation. The openness of the new people that Thomas and the band worked with made him, “realise there’s no right answer to anything.” Thomas stopped second-guessing himself and found himself having a “therapeutic” experience.

On the EP, the band worked with revered US producer Colin Brittain (Hands Like Houses, All Time Low) as well as Australian producers Chris Collins (Middle Kids, Gang Of Youths) and Dylan Nash (Dean Lewis, Angus & Julia Stone). They are joined by a far-reaching and esteemed list of producers including Dom Craik (Nothing But Thieves) who worked on ‘Last Call’ and Nick Anderson (The Wrecks) who added additional production to ‘Somebody Better’. UK mixer Stephen Sedgwick (Gorillaz) and writer Lucy Taylor (Dua Lipa, Friendly Fires, Dagny, Ellie Goulding) also contributed. All the collaborators encouraged an environment of experimentation and the band, “were never afraid to try anything,” as Thomas puts it.

The result is a project that moves seamlessly from slick pop to fuzzier alternative moments. As bitter and frustrated as the lyrics can get, the soundscapes remain buoyant and immediate – a juxtaposition that was especially important for Thomas.

“That’s my favourite combination,” he says, continuing, “when the lyrics are morose and the sound is happy and positive. When you get that blend right there’s something that hits a bit harder.”

In many ways, this EP has been a lifetime in the making for the band as they have altered their line-up and honed in on their sound. Thomas met drummer Jay Stewart in high school. Despite, initially butting heads over a girl, they were forced together in a school band kickstarting a long-standing musical relationship.

Thomas and bassist Tamon Mashimo also met in their teens though lost touch until they were reunited at a Paramore concert. Members had come and gone but Mashimo arrived as the missing piece they had been looking for.

They are now joined by a freshly anointed fourth member McKinley Payne who has been a touring member for 2 years. According to Thomas, “He’s always there. He’s always on time. He’s always providing feedback,” and so his permanent appointment was a “no brainer”.

This EP is made for the stage just as much as it is intimate solo listening. It’s the mark of a band that has stepped into a new era of confidence, embracing risk-taking both within their sound and lyrics.

“We’re actually talking about real things that have happened to us,” Thomas says. “There’s growth in the lyrics and music. There are real stories being told.”

Amber Lawrence & Catherine Britt – I Am Woman

For Amber Lawrence, the passing of iconic Australian singer-songwriter-author-actress-activist-mother, Helen Reddy last September, was the moment she truly felt the gravity of the lyrics of her global women’s rights anthem, “I Am Woman”.

Amber decided to include the song in her set at her first post Covid lockdowns live show. The response was overwhelming so when the time came to hit the road with her good friend, Catherine Britt, for their Love & Lies Tour, she floated the idea to include it as a duet. It didn’t take much to convince Catherine who too was a big fan of the iconic song.

“Catherine and I are proof that women can and do – do anything. We’re both working mums, run our own businesses, we tour manage, drive ourselves, load in the gear, perform the show, then load out and drive to the next town to do it all over again”, says Amber.

“We’re consistently asked after the show “who is minding your kids?” The men on tour with us have children too – but are never asked that same question”.

“I believe in equality and that women should receive the same level of respect and understanding as men do”, says Catherine.

“The message is as important and powerful now as it ever was. It’s a reminder that even today, women are still struggling with the same issues they were when this song came out 50 years ago”.

In making the decision on whether to record such an important and iconic song, Amber and Catherine both had to have very strong reasons to do so. The key reason came when they looked out into the audience when they performed it together for the first time and realised just how many young girls and women were coming along to their shows.

“Many came up to us afterwards saying ‘wow what an incredible song’ and how much truth it spoke. It felt right to take on the huge challenge”, says Catherine.

“Once we agreed that we would record it, we had to work out how to make it our own and take it to the next level in order to pass the baton of female strength and independence on to the next generation of women”, says Amber.

Amber Lawrence and Catherine Britt have certainly delivered on their promise and their stellar version of “I Am Woman” is released through ABC/Universal on Friday 28th May across all digital platforms.

Andrew Shapiro – MINT GREEN (Radio Edit)

“The 2009 album Numbers, Colors and People (recorded in one day at Philip Glass’s studio) is all instrumental piano and the album’s standout track Mint Green would go on to define Shapiro’s early career. The track is a furtive, arcing and pacey piano solo which rises and falls delicately, its melody slowly emerging from a Debussy-like haze of almost-hesitancy. No matter how many times it’s heard you have to return to its cascading style.

Mint Green’s astonishing success on the Internet and as a regular soundtrack on American television belies its origins; Mint Green was directly inspired by the Cocteau Twins’s track My Truth from their 1993 album Four-Calendar Café.”

-Mark Prendergast, author, The Ambient Century

Andrew Shapiro writes:

I was a young artist making my first album and was amazed a piece of art-music could find the reception that it did. But it was in the way that it did I continue to find fascinating.

Mint Green, an ode to mint chocolate chip ice cream, has resonated with fans of a number of disparate artists and genres. It’s Classical, Ambient, Emo, Pop and Trance simultaneously. One could make the case that this is really a piece of Electronica realized by a human on a piano…

When the piece reached into mainstream territory -initially on Coldplay’s Pandora station- I started hearing from people all over the world. Here I’ve created a remastered and shortened version (four minutes); the one I play on TV and in other appearances.

Eddie Rawk Band – One Last Time

Fresh from the success of their previous singles ‘Take Me Home (Red Dirt Road)’ and ‘Memories’, Eddie Rawk Band returns with a brand new track for 2021, ‘One Last Time’.

Produced and engineered by Daniel Kelaart (The Paper Kites, Simple Plan, Guy Sebastian and Tyler Hudson ) at Clique Studios in Melbourne, ‘One Last Time’ poses the question “why are toxic relationships the hardest to let go of?” Eddie explains: “‘One Last Time’ is a song about the too familiar love that we feel for someone special to us, however knowing deep inside yourself that the person is not right for you. The song addresses the emotions and intense feelings of love for a past relationship. The tension of the song comes from the desire to take a risk on a love that was once broken. Should you follow your head, or follow your heart’s desire?”

The single comes with a video featuring the band playing up a storm on a stage that is always a welcoming venue for them. Eddie says: “The video was directed by Daniel Kelaart and Nick Marris and filmed at the Oak Tree Tavern in The Basin, Victoria, a favourite venue regularly hosting Eddie Rawk Band. The clip was recorded over two nights of drinking with the pub’s locals who volunteered to be crowd extras and really got into their roles”.

Eddie Rawk Band achieved great success with their previous single ‘Take Me Home’, peaking at No.2 on the AMRAP charts, and gaining airplay on stations including Australian Country Radio, PBS FM and 2TM.

The band have played to packed houses at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and have also performed at the Basin Music Festival, The Whittlesea Country Music Festival and the Hats Off to Country Online festival during the pandemic. They have performed alongside Carter & Carter and Jetty Road at the Taste of Tamworth and have also supported Australian household names The Choirboys and Rose Tattoo.

Drawing inspiration from Luke Bryan and Keith Urban, Eddie Rawk Band blend a modern country sound with an upbeat party vibe and have produced a single that is infectious. This won’t be the last time we will hear from them – be sure to catch their performance at Neon Horse in Stanthorpe on 19th June, and the VDM Festival in Queensland later this year.

Hoodoo Gurus – World Of Pain

It’s a big day for Hoodoo Gurus fans! Alongside the announcement that the band will be hitting the road in celebration of their 40th Anniversary since their first live show back in 1981, come the release of the brand new single ‘World of Pain’.

“‘World Of Pain’ is a combination of glitzy glam rock and dirty barroom blues. It has a swagger and a cocky attitude, although the song’s narrator is clearly having a very bad night. The poor sap – he thinks he’s having fun!” said frontman and songwriter Dave Faulkner.

“‘World Of Pain’ is a slightly fictionalised story about the aftermath of a big night on the town that got way too big. I’ve personally lived out everything described in the song (I’m not proud of that fact). Luckily for me, the events described in the lyrics didn’t occur in exactly this order or over the one night. Nevertheless, it’s all true. Oh, and before you ask, the answer is: yes, I have been punched in the face in a nightclub when I was a bit drunk one night” he continued.

‘World of Pain’ is the fourth single release from the band over the last couple of years following 2019’s ‘Answered Prayers’ and 2020’s anti Trump anthem ‘Hung Out To Dry’ as well as the song to all the non-conformists ‘Get Out of Dodge’. The Gurus also let out another nugget for fans today by announcing they will have a new album in time for the tour.

It is Hoodoo Gurus evocative and relatable lyricism, peerless song writing – with a hint of punk attitude – placed in a distinctively Australian context that has provided a careful balance of critical success and enduring mainstream appeal for 40 years.

Since their formation in 1981, Hoodoo Gurus’ boast 9 x ARIA Top 20 albums, 9 x ARIA Top 40 singles and a swag of multi-platinum albums – they’re mainstays on the live scene, and perpetually influential to a new generation of artists.

The Gurus kick off their 40th Anniversary Tour, along with The Dandy Warhols at Brisbane’s Riverstage on Wednesday 1 December, before heading to Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Friday 3 December. Next up is Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion on Saturday 4 December, before they head across to Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre on Thursday 9 December, and close out the tour at Perth at the Belvoir Homestead & Amphitheatre on Saturday December 11.

“We are thrilled to be going around Australia to play for our fans again. Even better, we are honoured to be accompanied by our admirable friends, The Dandy Warhols from the US. Between the two of us, there are gonna be plenty of opportunities for crowd singalongs, and after the turmoil of the last year and a half, that’s gonna be incredibly therapeutic for everyone. You can be certain that both of our bands will be fired up and rarin’ to go.”

‘…Dave Faulkner’s crunching surf guitar riff took us straight back to the heaving beer barns of the 1980s in which the Gurus made their name. …Rick Grossman’s roiling bass, Brad Shepherd’s fanging rhythm guitar and Nik Rieth’s martial drumming kicked in… a tribute to the Gurus’ tightness, showmanship and sheer number of well-known tunes.’ – Sydney Morning Herald 2020

Darlinghurst – Unfaithful

On hearing this 6th release from Darlinghurst the first thought that springs to mind is “How did they fit so much music into 2.36 seconds?”

Unfaithful is the perfect follow up to the #1 Country Hot 50 hit ‘Where Do We Go’ and features Jason Resch on lead vocals backed by those wonderful signature Darlinghurst harmonies.

Produced by Pete Dacey and band member Jason Resch at Secret Sound Studios Melbourne, Jason states “Unfaithful is a song about the betrayal of one’s trust, caused by another’s ulterior motives. The inspiration came from a walk-through Palm Springs, California – surrounded by the concept of beauty and contentment; but to then have a self-realisation that what we consider paradise, beautiful and everlasting – may not be what they’re perceived to be.”

Unfaithful is a foot-stomping two minutes thirty-six second thrill-seeker; that runs wild from the moment it starts, until its explosive finish.

With 5 from top 5 radio chart hits (3 of which peaked at #1) already in the bag, this rollicking roller coaster of melody and energy brings Darlinghurst one step closer to their debut album release in September.

2020 Golden Guitars’ nominee [for Best New Talent], Darlinghurst not only release Unfaithfulin Australia this month but, continue to build their is US Country Music presence with their second radio track Gotta Go Rodeo currently #56 on the Music Row chart and rising.

Darlinghurst are: Jason Resch – Vocals/Guitar, Cassie Leopold – Vocals, Pagan Newman – Vocals, Matt Darvidis – Vocals/Guitar.

2021 Nominee Australian Country Music Awards

Crowded House – Playing With Fire (Radio Edit)

Iconic band CROWDED HOUSE reveal their brand-new single “Playing With Fire”. The pop-rock anthem is the latest release from the band’s forthcoming seventh-studio album, Dreamers Are Waiting, out on June 4 via EMI Music Australia.

“This song was formed out of a Crowded House jam, live in the studio but then evolved its character through many twists and turns during quarantine in 2020. ‘Playing With Fire’ carries within it the contradiction I often feel on joyous occasions, the presence of hope together with an impending sense of doom,” said Neil Finn.

Since having just completed a hugely successful tour of New Zealand earlier this year, Crowded House has continued to usher in a series of new music, including their recent single ‘To The Island,’ along with two remixed versions of the track – Both the Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra remixes are set to appear on an upcoming 7” vinyl via the band’s D2c store, available for pre-order HERE.

Crowded House is Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Mitchell Froom, Liam Finn and Elroy Finn.

Crowded House is a long standing and much-loved vehicle for the song writing talents of Neil Finn. Formed in Melbourne Australia in 1985 out the ashes of New Zealand’s Split Enz by Neil, Paul Hester and Nick Seymour, their eponymous self-titled debut album on Capitol Records went on to global success with the hits “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Something So Strong”. Those songs and many that followed are still resonating with audiences today, the former in particular being one of the most covered songs of the last 20 years. The band’s first incarnation lasted from 1985 through 1995 with 4 studio albums and enjoyed much success worldwide, becoming particularly beloved for their freewheeling and interactive live shows. This lineup said Farewell to the World on the steps of the Sydney Opera House in 1996 with a now legendary performance in front of 150,000 people.

In 2005 following the tragic death of Paul Hester, Neil and Nick felt emotionally compelled to bring Crowded House back, to put some more good history, as they described it, into the story of the band. Drafting in new drummer Matt Sherrod and with long time touring member Mark Hart they released the album “Time On Earth” to critical acclaim and toured the world. Another album, ‘Intriguer”, was recorded in 2009 and Crowded House was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2016, at the same time reprising its Farewell shows at the Sydney Opera House with 3 nights of stunning performances.

Carl Ray – I Can See Clearly Now

Inspire Your Community With Carl Ray’s Heartfelt Tribute To Mentor Johnny Nash

“WRITERS: JOHNNY NASH;RAY WAS MENTORED BY THE LATE JOHNNY NASH, WHO GAVE HIM HIS START. RAY TAKES NASH’S MILLION-SELLING 1972 REGGAE-TINGED POP CHART TOPPER, ADDS HIS OWN LYRIC CONTRIBUTIONS AND REINTERPRETS THE TEMPO TO BECOME A COUNTRY ROCKER. INTRIGUING. AND THE MESSAGE OF HOPE IS TIMELESS.”-ROBERT K. OERMANN

“What a rockin’ new spin on a timeless and incredible classic! The vocals just seem to hug you. This is exactly what the world needs right now! It feels like Carl Ray tuned his heart to the healing the nation is seeking… this song should be played everywhere! This would’ve made Johnny Nash very proud.” – Danica Hart, Chapel Hart

“Country music singer/songwriter Carl Ray adds his signature voice and amazing songwriting talents to bring us his version and refreshing tribute to Johnny Nash’s 1972 classic hit “I Can See Clearly Now.” This is a guaranteed chart-topping single and Johnny Nash would be proud!”- Judy Shields, The Hollywood Times

“Carl Ray’s tribute to artist Johnny Nash is a deliciously country-fried version of a classic reggae hit. Ray demonstrates that genres can be pushed as far as the imagination will allow.” – Matt Bailey, The Music Universe

“Here at Country Music News International we talk to the people you need to listen to… and you need to listen to this – a fresh new version by Carl Ray of a song that has been the soundtrack to so many lives – I Can See Clearly Now!” – Nigel Sharpe, Country Music News International

“Carl Ray has a pure quality to his voice. He has made Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” fresh as the day it was written, but with his own special touch. A perfect tribute to Johnny’s biggest hit and now Carl Ray has made it a smash hit again!” – Ward Bond, host of LCW Music Edition

“‘I Can See Clearly Now’ is a message of hope. In the darkest times of our lives, there is always light that can overshadow and overwhelm that darkness. This song is that light and that is why it has stood the test of time. Our greatest days are ahead of us. Our attitudes truly determine our altitudes. Let’s spread this message of hope like our lives depend on it-because it does.” – Carl Ray

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country music singer/songwriter Carl Ray’s latest single, “I Can See Clearly Now” serves as a breath of fresh air and hope while remaining true to the classic masterpiece originally sung by his mentor, Johnny Nash. During their friendship, Nash and Ray agreed that they would one day record a record together. Turning back the hands of time to fulfill this promise, Ray found the inspiration to pay homage to his musical hero after Nash’s passing in 2020 while witnessing the hardships the world has faced over the last year. Ray’s upbeat version of this classic is a true sensation that delicately weaves new life into the storyline. The tune is laced with his tenor appeal which has been often compared to Nash. Ray’s rendition of “I Can See Clearly Now” single will surely become a household favorite once again, having us all singing, dancing, and looking past obstacles to dream a brand new dream for our world.

“I Can See Clearly Now” is available to download and stream on all digital services and was exclusively premiered by Nashville.com!

“Johnny Nash is an American treasure. Nash was a great father, son, and husband. I was privileged to have this legend open up the treasure chest of his heart to me,” shares Carl Ray. “He was a friend, mentor, big brother, and sometimes a pain in the butt. We sang in church together, we prayed for this country together, went hunting, fishing, and often sang underneath the Texas stars. Nash even taught me how to write songs and more importantly, how to ride a horse! I hope this tribute makes him proud, as I know he is listening from above.”

“I Can See Clearly Now” achieved success in the United States and the United Kingdom when it was released in 1972, reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box charts. It also reached number one in Canada and South Africa.

Guided by Johnny Nash, Carl Ray has been performing and writing music for years and his passion shines throughout every song he creates. Ray puts even more heart into “I Can See Clearly Now” as a way to thank the person who helped him get his start in music. Ray has a unique experience of not only being a country music entertainer but a co-host on “Atlanta Live” with his wife, Gail Williams. He has released multiple singles including “I Stand With This Country” which was released in 2020 and went to #1 in Cash Box 2021.

Ray has shared the same bill with Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, Jason Aldean, Wade Hayes, Mark Wills, Neal McCoy, The Del McCoury Band among others.

He has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Billboard, US News and World Report, Legacy Magazine, Green Card Magazine (Paris, France), Richmond Times, and recently on Newsmax, Rolling Stone, Dispatch, Denver Post, and many other print and major online outlets.

Ray has also recorded with The Queen of Bluegrass Rhonda Vincent, David Ball, and Johnny Nash. Ray has also penned several songs for his mentor Johnny Nash which Nash recorded on his last album “Here Again.”