Let’s hop right in. Bravo Victor have dropped their new EP ‘For All His Flaws’. The two-piece features the vocals of Sophie Aked and the bass guitar of Jonathon Burgess – nothing else. It’s music straight out of the Conservatorium. It’s technically impressive and very easy to listen to. The two-piece work well with the restraints that they have given themselves; the bass playing is smooth and the vocals are powerful and sultry at the same time.
The Meantime are a new local band based on the Central Coast. Their debut EP ‘Illusions’ is fresh in the shop; I was in the middle of writing this article when they dropped it in! The three-piece recently supported The Hard Aches, and I’d expect them to be playing in all the pubs around Newy in no time at all. It’s a sound that takes in a lot of different alternative rock influences. There’s a lot of classic Silverchair and Nirvana running through this, but also a touch of Violent Soho or Kingswood too. Lots of big guitar work, and the occasion shredded vocal.
I also wanted to mention a few ‘classic’ Newcastle releases: the type of music that we would have raved about if Newcastle Mirage existed back then.
First up is ‘Kamikaze Pilots’ by Hot Girls. The three-piece was fronted by James Wiley and was recorded at Rock The Nation Studios in 2007. For those familiar with the work of Wiley, you know he’s got a knack for hooks that just can’t be beaten. Those hooks are all across this six-track release.
There’s an emo influence running through these songs that makes them stand out. This release honestly wouldn’t feel out of place on US emo labels like Topshelf or Tiny Engines. There’s smart guitar playing, and the rhythm section is locked right in too.
Finally, I wanted to touch on one of the greatest releases to ever come out of Newcastle. Jen Buxton’s ‘Don’t Change Your Plans’ is a masterclass in Australian songwriting. Starting out as one of three songwriters in infamous Newy band Like...Alaska, her debut album is a stunning and intimate collection of broken relationships – a mix of folk and alt-country that still grips the listener six years on. It’s an absolute must-listen for anyone, but especially those looking to explore our city’s great musical output over the years.