Thursday, 6 June 2013

Brisbane. Now. #5 - 1

Here we are kiddies... our Brisbane countdown comes to a close as we take a look at five incredible acts that are making music today. Rock, pop, indie, country, alternative... Brisbane's best cover a wide range of genres and styles and they do it better than anyone else. There's no cooler city in the world (biased exaggeration) and these music makers are making sure the world knows that our music scene is world class. Enjoy!

#5. The Medics
Expect the Unexpected...

Making the move from Cairns to Brisbane in the hopes of reaching a larger audience was a wise choice for The Medics. Jhindu, Andrew, Charles and Kahl have been embraced by Brisbane fans with their incredible and deep indie alternative music. Their debut album Foundations scored a feature slot on triple J, an honour reserved only for the very best music and it was certainly well deserved. Tracks like 'Griffin,' 'Slow Burn' and 'Beggars' are as challenging as they are entertaining. The band are already at a world class level and the lyrics are far more mature and complex than many of their contemporaries could ever dream of. Everything about The Medics works, even the music videos that have arguably been the best to come out of Australia over the past couple of years. These lads have already delivered, but it's safe to say the best is yet to come. Let's hope the follow up to Foundations arrives sooner than later. 

Make sure you visit The Medics' triple J Unearthed page to get a free download of the tracks Joseph and Beggars. And then go get Foundations. It will blow you away...

#4. The Grates
An Energy Like No Other...

Sure, Patience and John may be winning awards for coffee and food or something with that rockin' bar/cafe the Southside Tea Room, but everyone needs to remember this now married duo make even better music when letting their powers combine as The Grates. '19-20-20,' 'Rock Boys,' 'Science Is Golden,' 'Burn Bridges,' 'Aw Yeah,' 'Turn Me On' and 'Sweet Dreams.' Have you been to one of their live shows? Watching Patience bounce around the stage like a maniac makes for what could genuinely be Australia's best live show. Sometimes it involves costumes and streamers, but you'll always find jump up and down, let's start dancing rock music that will put a smile on your face. The fantastically named drummer, Alana Skyring departed before the release of third album Secret Rituals and the continuing two-piece still managed to put out arguably their best LP yet. Patience's songwriting got a whole lot deeper, somehow the music seemed even cooler, the video were... slightly creepier, but that's neither here nor there. What we know now is The Grates are set to headline the Red Deer Music and Arts Festival in September. One would assume new Grates music is lurking somewhere. Which is all I need to qualify them for this countdown. Local, national and international favourites, The Grates have lost teeth and won hearts the world over with their music. And they make pretty stellar coffee to boot. 

The Grates perform live at the Red Deer Music and Arts Festival, September 7, 2013. Tickets are on sale now... go get them!

#3. Bernard Fanning
The National Hero...

Do you know anyone who has beef with Bernard? I highly doubt you do. He's like the Australian equivalent of Dave Grohl. Everyone loves him. Down to earth, incredibly talented as a songwriter and performer, effortlessly cool... Bernard Fanning is one of Australian music's true icons. He topped charts, won awards and toured the world with Powderfinger and, unsurprisingly, he's achieved the same success in his solo ventures. He's hit #1 on the annual triple J Hottest 100 more times than any other person, twice with Powderfinger and with his own 'Wish You Well.' He's also won the ARIA award for Album of the Year more than any other person, three times with Powderfinger and with his own Tea and Sympathy. Australian. Music. Icon. I wasn't completely sold on 'Battleships' when it was released earlier in the year, but one listen of 'Departures (Blue Toowong Skies)' gives that punch to the heart only a good Bernard Fanning track can. If you're going to bet on one artist to deliver the goods, always bet on Bernard Fanning. The wait to listen to his new album Departures is almost over and you can bet your bottom dollar it's going to be one of the year's best.

Departures, Bernard Fanning's second solo album is out this Friday 7 June! You can also see him live on the Departures tour, which kicks off in July. Brisbane's Tivoli show is already sold out. Duh. Feel free to come join me in Canberra in August as B. Fan takes the Royal Theatre by storm. Thus ends our time referring to Mr Fanning as B. Fan.  

#2. Emma Louise
Music For The Head and Heart...

Speaking of the year's best albums, have you heard the mighty fine collection of indie pop gems that is Emma Louise's Vs Head Vs Heart? You haven't? You are missing out my friend. The evolution in sound from her groundbreaking EP Full Hearts and Empty Rooms is simply phenomenal. She weaves tales of heartache and triumph in some creative and beautifully stark ways, solidifying her place as one of Australia's most unique performers. Watching her live is equivalent to time standing still as Louise's haunting vocals draw you in on flawless tracks like 'Stainache' and the showstopping '1000 Sundowns.' Her national tour is coming to a close this month, with final stops in Darwin and throughout WA, and the reviews consistently highlight one point; Emma Louise is outstanding. And she calls Brisbane home these days. She's perfect, yeah? Australia has an artist that comfortably stands alongside international heavyweights like Bat For Lashes and Bjork. Give her another couple of albums and she'll surpass them.  

Follow Emma Louise on Facebook to find out when she might be performing near you this year! 

#1. Texas Tea
The Best...

Tina Turner's 'Simply the Best' blares from the boombox, gold glitter falls from the air and the tea bags go wild. A scenario like that is exactly why we'll never have a real awards show. It would just be too awesome for the world to handle, am I right? Texas Tea take out the #1 spot and it should come as no surprise really. We fell head over heels with the alt-country goodness that was Sad Summer Hits in 2012 and that love has carried on over into 2013. They've made it pretty easy with the release of videos for 'The Alphabet Song' and 'Lily,' but they've been touring their butts off as well. I think Jo's managed to get to three of their shows this year (correct me if I'm wrong, European traveler). Last year we couldn't throw enough awards at them. Kate Jacobson and Benjamin Dougherty are just that good. 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)' was named our song of the year and seriously, give it a listen and you'll understand why. They say goodbye to Australian shores so they can kick butt all over Europe in July and when they get back... they should record a new album because I need some more Texas Tea in my life. Like yesterday. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Texas Tea... Brisbane's best music makers. 

You've got one last chance to see Texas Tea perform live in Australia this year, as they take over the Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane on Sunday night! Come along and have a dance and a beverage and if you spot this music lover, come say hi! Or not... whatever. It's the farewell show before Kate and Ben head over to Europe so you're not going to want to miss it. Get your tickets here!

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