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Melody Moko Shares Suburban Dream

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Melody Moko is changing the face of country music as we know it with the release of her stunning new album “Suburban Dream”. Melding contemporary and edgy lyrical content with finely finessed Americana production, “Suburban Dream”is like no other release, and further cements the Golden Guitar Award winning artist, as an unrivalled innovator of the craft.

As a whole, “Suburban Dream”, is an exploration of life as a wife in suburbia with Melody putting her life under a microscope, magnifying the struggles and joys she’s experienced over the past two years. If there’s one thing we all know and love about Melody Moko it’s her no-holds-barred honesty and guts to frame it exactly how it is.

With the ability to reach more people after the success of her previous record, Melody set out to show what she stands for, make a stand for the issues that she faces as a mother, a member of the queer community, an activist, and a woman. The album is almost protest art, bold and emblazoned with hard-hitting, and sometimes hard to hear messages.

“Suburban Dream was born from darkness and depression, the record is a diary entry into what it looks like to hit rock bottom and documents both the downfall and the recovery, it’s equal parts hopeful and hopeless”, says Melody Moko.

Following on from her wildly successful release, “Two Kids and A Radio”, which saw Melody bring home a QMA Award, a Golden Guitar Award and a nomination for the prestigious Australian Music Prize, Melody and producer/instrumentalist husband, Michael Moko (Fanny Lumsden, Sara Storer, Kasey Chambers) finished a national tour with Ian Moss and Troy Cassar-Daley, boarded a plane to play revered US music festival, AmericanaFest and hit Nashville to work with Grammy Award nominated producer, Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Matthew Ryan) – this time collaborating with the whole band as producers, including Ruston Kelly’s guitarist, Juan Solorzano and Engineer at East Nashville’s Skinny Elephant Studio, Dylan Alldredge. The result is an album that starts with the strong foundations of incredible and tasteful musicians serving the songs, hits you in the guts with its unbridled honesty and leaves you with a lasting impression.

The first single,“The Outskirts”, released in late 2022, introduced us to the bold new sound with an almost indie, but always country, take on life in suburbia. The single received high rotation on ABC Country & CMT, numerous Apple Music playlists and entered the Radio Monitor charts in its second week at number #31.

“Jesus Year came about from a concept my manager (Kaz Waters) wanted me to embody. A Jesus Year is your 33rd year, a year where you are reborn in some sense. I felt that after suffering badly with Post Natal Depression after the birth of my third child, I had recovered a better person than I had been going into it. This song celebrates the idea that out of adversity comes triumph”, says Melody.

“I was shocked because when we created this clip, Jazmyn, Kaz and I wanted to make a powerful visual message to support the track, which is a song about rebirth after a mental health crisis, so in including ‘that scene’ we believe we were representing the intensity of how that situation feels – I never assumed it would be considered gory! I also strongly support art without censorship. Being part of a genre and wider industry that visually represents the objectification of women and sexism in music videos regularly, I am quite taken aback that a bit of fake blood causes a video to be banned”.

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“Passage Du Desir” – Johnny Blue Skies

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow us to introduce Johnny Blue Skies, the new incarnation of iconic Nashville renegade Sturgill Simpson, and his new album “Passage Du Desir”

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Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow us to introduce Johnny Blue Skies, the new incarnation of iconic Nashville renegade Sturgill Simpson, and his new album “Passage Du Desir”. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and Clement House Recording Studio in Nashville, the album signifies the start of a new chapter for the artist, who had previously committed to releasing just five studio albums under the moniker Sturgill Simpson. 

From the very first listen, this new album, the first by Simpson in three years, is once again an intriguing exploration of metamodern melancholy, reminiscent of an early Roy Orbison.

Johnny Blue Skies takes us through grief, previous setbacks, and unreachable ambitions from the moment the pen meets paper on this album. Listeners are left feeling raw, perhaps even vulnerable by the artists intense honesty. As sorrow flows like the Canal Saint-Martin, he presses for admission on “Right Kind of Dream,” using his sublime vocal talents like never before, making this among his most captivating recordings to date thanks to his understanding and abilities of how to use his vocals to convey modern sensitivities.

“You can turn the page or you can light the book on fire and dance around the flames. You can try to live above hell or you can just go raise some. Here’s to clean livin’ and dirty thinking.”

Using a layered effect, Johnny Blue Skies evokes a cosmic remoteness with his softer, exposed voice. As if trying to escape the immense pain, he sounds to be physically detaching himself from it. “One for the Road” transitions from symphonic country-rock to guitars sobbing during the course of its nearly nine-minute breakup song. Think Jim Steinman, but instead of his symphonic power ballads with an operatic rock singer from Texas, his muse would be Johnny Blue Skies, complete with strings and a retro country feel, straight out of Studio B at RCA circa 1978.

His more powerful moments, like the chorus of “Jupiter’s Faerie,” bring out his voice’s imperfections and add depth to the album in the same movement, before “If the Sun Never Rises Again” is chilled rock meets blue-eyed soul allowing us time to rest and reflect before moving on deeper into “Passage Du Desir”.

The album is peppered with rich and lively background music that complements Johnny Blue Skies singing, with his cosmic metamodern theme continuing to feature through songs like   “Mint Tea”, which is inviting and euphoric country music for listeners old and new, while the albums opening track, “Swamp of Sadness,” sets the tone, with haunting accordion melodies and Simpson’s vulnerable vocals. 

Even though it’s not officially an album by Sturgill Simpson, “Passage Du Desir” showcases Simpson’s talent while performing as Johnny Blue Skies. Seemingly heralding a new beginning and a return to metamodern country sounds, his music has taken an alternate trajectory recently, and we as listeners are richer and rewarded by it.

“Passage Du Desir” takes its cue from Johnny Blue Skies and invites listeners to explore the depths of despair, to the point where the album is so good, the sorrow and despair can’t help but be replaced by the unique joy and elation that music can bring. This record will take you on an emotional journey through the complex web of desire and need, regardless of whether you are a complete novice or a lifelong fan. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Johnny Blue Skies has arrived and the world of country music may never be the same again.

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Minor Gold Release Soulful “Over You”

Minor Gold’s “Over You,” is a country ballad in the manner of the 1970s that is dripping with the melancholy of reminiscing about a love that was once.

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The musical chemistry between Dan Parsons (AUS) and Tracy McNeil (CAN), two award-winning and ARIA-nominated songwriters, gives rise to Minor Gold, a formidable Americana/folk duet. Their latest single, “Over You,” is a country ballad in the manner of the 1970s that is dripping with the melancholy of reminiscing about a love that was once.

Minor Gold have been moving about like clockwork since August 2023, when they released their critically praised self-titled debut album. In little over a year, Minor Gold have done it all: supported The Teskey Brothers in the US and Canada, showcased at Folk Alliance International and AmericanaFEST, and are now on their second U.S. national tour, which includes a stop at the Mile of Music Festival in Appleton, WI. Oh, and they have also toured Australia twice!

The duo has been working on their sophomore album for the past five days in Los Angeles with producer Dan Horne (Mapache, Circles Around the Sun, Cass McCombs), but this new single isn’t original material—it’s a cover of a song by Tracy McNeil’s father, the late singer-songwriter Wayne McNeil.

“Over You always felt like an undiscovered classic…Dad was such a great songwriter but just never had the chance to bring his songs to the world. It’s an honour to now have our own version and I know he would be smiling somewhere.” Tracy McNeil

Without overly complex instrumentation, Dan Parsons’s production faithfully captures the honesty and simplicity of the original song, which is filled with lonely grief and yearning. Featuring pedal steel and drums from ex-pat Australian singer-songwriter Chris Altmann and third part harmony from Tracy’s brother Logan McNeil, a musician and visual artist, the session took place at Catherine Studios in Hamilton, Ontario, and was a true family affair.

The incredible talent of Parsons as lead vocalist is a tribute to the transformative power of music; his rendition captures the essence and golden tone of Wayne’s voice while yet being uniquely Parsons.

The official music video aims to reflect the nostalgia of remembering a great love, and the heartache that still lingers when you just can’t move on. Filmed tag-team style by Parsons and McNeil, who worked to capture each other in raw, simple performances, they made meaningful use of various familiar old haunts in Tracy’s hometown of Port Colborne Ontario.

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“The Light, The Beautiful Liar” – Riley Catherall

An album of moonlit tapestry spun from strands of love, loss, and meditation, “The Light, The Beautiful Liar,” is Riley Catherall’s sophomore offering. Catherall takes listeners on a journey through the dark recesses of his soul with every song, where the echoes of love lost echo through the night.

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An album of moonlit tapestry spun from strands of love, loss, and meditation, “The Light, The Beautiful Liar,” is Riley Catherall’s sophomore offering. Catherall takes listeners on a journey through the dark recesses of his soul with every song, where the echoes of love lost echo through the night.

Catherall’s songwriting is a delicate interplay between openness and lyrical expression. Under a starry sky, his songs sound like secret confessions. In the song “Bark At The Moon,” he sings, “The night dies with the dawn here, a new day breaks on the pavement, and I haven’t changed enough. I’m a broke down believer.” All the pain of yearning is captured in these lines—the frantic hope that the night will somehow provide answers.

Light and sorrow are themes that Catherall returns to throughout the record. A love that flourishes under the moonlight but withers away in the light of day is shown vividly in “Coming Down, Coming Over”, whilst the songs reference to the albums title in its lyrics encapsulates the ambivalent charm of deceit, illustrating how love may assume the form of truth until the break of morning exposes its flimsy facade. The vulnerability of love, how it often crumbles in the light of day, is captured in his singing, with a voice that stays, leaving a trail of yearning.

Catherall creates an evocative sonic environment in tandem with producer Damian Cafarella, reflecting the ideas explored throughout the record. An intimate yet vast audio canvas is created by the production’s combination of acoustic warmth and electronic edges. Imagine two friends being on a moonlit hill, surveying a wide emotional landscape whilst sharing a cigarette, a bottle of red wine and a blanket around your shoulders. That’s how it feels.

An example of this equilibrium between producer and artist is “South Of Somewhere”. The sweeping melody on the electric guitar makes one think of interstate highways and hidden partnerships. Every note rings true because of Cafarella’s touch and fused with Catherall’s sublime vocals. The song’s tempo, which ranges from calm to fast, leads us through the maze of the night.

You should listen to “The Light, The Beautiful Liar” while you’re alone. It’s the perfect background music for moonlit strolls, hidden whispers, driving in the rain and times when you are trying to understand the inexplicable pain of love. As Catherall’s whispered vocals lull us into slumber, we are transported to a world where stars and memories dance together and the soul battles its own demons.

As the last chords die out, a paradox remains: the allure of deceit, the light that shows and conceals. Maybe that’s when we connect with the night’s secrets, our own beautiful liars, and the lovers we’ve lost, and if you let “The Light, The Beautiful Liar” be your guide, you won’t be alone.

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