I recently had a couple of consecutive days off and nothing planned, so I decided to devote my time to devouring a bunch of new music. I sifted through various blogs I had bookmarked and came across one that is run by a person in Australia. At And Pluck Your Strings, I found a “Best of 2011 So Far” post from July, so I figured I’d check it out.
Turns out, there was a lot of great stuff included there, including a number of quality bands from Down Under that I probably would never have heard of otherwise. Here are three that I found worthy of downloading, plus a bonus track from another Aussie group.
Of all the bands I listened to on the blog, the one I’m most excited about is Big Scary.
The duo of Tom Iansek and Jo Syme came together in 2006 and has put out several EPs, including a four-pack last year named after each of the seasons. Those were compiled into a release, appropriately named The Big Scary Four Seasons.
Last month, the group released its first proper full-length album, Vacation. It starts off very strong with such solid tracks as “Gladiator”, “Leaving Home” and “Mix Tape”.
Big Scary – Mix Tape
Other than “Falling Away”, the eighth of the 10 tracks, everything else is filler, but it’s at least above-average filler.
Judging by this release, Big Scary should be making some noise on the international scene very soon.
Also, I noted on their website that they are set to place at SXSW next year. One more reason — as if I actually required any more — to make a return trip to Austin in March.
Boy & Bear
Speaking of SXSW, unbeknownst to me, the band Boy & Bear were part of the festivities last year. I did not see them, but I did apparently listen to, and like, one of their songs during my preparation for the festival.
Vocally, the group sounds a lot like The Fray, with a little bit of The Avett Brothers mixed in. There’s also some Rural Alberta Advantage in there, but to a lesser extent.
Boy & Bear – Golden Jubilee
That tune is my favorite on the band’s debut full-length release, Moonfire, which came out in August. Other decent tracks include “Feeding Line”, “Milk & Sticks”, My Only One”, “House & Farm” and “Beach”.
Seeker Lover Keeper
One of the more pleasant discoveries on the blog was the Australian supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper. It consists of a trio of female singer-songwriters — Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby — all of whom have made a name for themselves in a variety of bands and, more prominently, as solo artists.
It would be as if Regina Spektor, Feist and Natasha Bedingfield all got together and put out an album. (I realize none of these women is from the same country, but you get the idea.)
Sidenote: Seltmann co-wrote Feist’s big hit, “1234” several years ago.
As you can imagine, the indie-folk/pop group has amazing harmonies, with each singer getting her share of time behind the mic.
The best song on their self-titled debut album is probably “Even Though I’m a Woman”. Another great track is the closer, “Rest Your Head On My Shoulder”, which does a great job at highlighting each individual voice as well as the three-part harmonies.
Seeker Lover Keeper – Rest Your Head On My Shoulder
Another group I discovered on the blog was YesYou, which is the Brisbane-based duo of Jono Kirkham and Gav Parry. So far, they have only put out one easily downloadable song, “Half of It”. Here is said song, as well as a link to a remix.
YesYou – Half of It