Here it is: part 3 of my series on Australian music, just as I promised (albeit a little–okay, very–late). The great “Down Under” has produced many quality folk-pop singer-songwriters, but with these two bands/musicians, Australia proves that it can churn out more than just sentimental and glitter-infused tracks. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a sucker for that kind of music; it’s just good to know there’s diversity.)
Australia is also home to quality psych-rock bands like Tame Impala and bluesy sirens a la Abbe May.
While television shows like American Idol rarely ever find musicians who can translate successfully into popular music sphere, it seems as if a shy Aussie beat the slim odds. Lisa Mitchell, an Australian Idol alum, stood out on the talent show for her coy, singer-songwriter demeanor. Released in 2009, Mitchell recorded her debut full-length Wonder in the UK, which has now reached Platinum in Australia. Canadians who do not know her might have actually heard one of her most popular singles, “Coin Laundry,” in a Bell Canada television ad (available for download below). She has been nominated for 3 ARIAs, won the Australian Music Prize (equivalent to Canada’s Polaris Prize) for Wonder, opened for Jason Mraz, and played big Australian festivals like Big Day Out.
Her musical style, some people may say, is full of soft child-like vocals and is unmistakably twee. Simple yet intricate in their arrangements, the girl has a penchant for multiple vocal track layers and most of her songs have the ability of making you smile. Go ahead, I dare you. Because regardless of whether or not you think she’s a musical revelation, you won’t be able to surpress your smile.
[MP3]: Lisa Mitchell – “Coin Laundry” (right-click, save as)
In a time when band names are getting more and more complicated, Washington is plain and simple. Washington is the moniker of Megan Washington and her band. I’ve only recently stumbled across this pop gem, and I’m not one to shy away from some good ‘ol pop music. She’s been really popular in Australia for the past year or so and just released her debut I Believe You, Liar. Her radio-friendly sound ranges from mellow pop like “Clementine,” to the quirky “How to Tame Lions” and even more polished, drilling tracks like “Cement.” Give her a listen, because I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about this this Aussie popstar soon enough.
[LISTEN]: Washington – “Clementine”
[MP3]: Washington – “How to Tame Lions” (right-click, save as)
[MP3]: Washington – “Cement” (right-click, save as)
This four-piece from Sydney been on the mouths of many recently and has been touted as one of the big upcoming acts for quite a while. They’ve toured with the likes of Tegan & Sara and they don’t even have a full-length record out yet. With three EPs under their belts and picking up steam, the Jezabels are starting to gain overseas recognition in North American. The band has played a slew of US dates and are gearing up for their Canadian tour. A mix of pop, rock, indie and even a little alternative thrown in at times, the Jezabels are a diverse band whose honest songs are universally relatable.
And Canada, Canada, Canada–please don’t miss this quartet when they come around next week (dates are below). Sadly, I won’t be in Toronto for the show as I’m stuck out of town for school, so please go and enjoy for me so I can live vicariously through you!
[MP3]: The Jezabels – “Easy to Love” (right-click, save as)
[MP3]: The Jezabels – “She’s So Hard” (right-click, save as)
[LISTEN]: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”
Oct. 26 Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
Oct. 28 Calgary, AB – The Republik*
Oct. 30 Vancouver, BC – Pit Pub (Uni of BC)*
Nov. 3 Edmonton, AB, The Starlite Room*
Nov. 4 Regina, SK – The Exchange*
Nov. 5 Saskatoon, SK – Amigo’s*
Nov. 6 Winnipeg, MB – The Royal Albert Arms*