Nic Kain - Shinbone Star - Fjorka - Kurt Swinghammer - Slow Caves - The Gin Pennies

Nic Kain - New Ways Unfold.

Background - Enigmatic Australian artist Nic Kain announces the release of his first international single ‘New Ways Unfold’, due to be released April 28th. New Ways Unfold from Nic Kain is an upbeat indie-grunge, anti-folk anthem with arty electro inlays and catchy phrasing. The track is a unique blend of styles with subtle nuances of feel while the lyrics are a poetic invocation and offering of Nic’s unique artistic expression. Nic puts out a call for everyone to connect to the earth, get creative, open up and be advocates of peace in these tumultuous times of change and upheaval. 

Recorded at Studio Avalon by conscious roots artist / producer Murray Kyle and mixed by ARIA award-winning producer Govinda Doyle (co-producer of Angus & Julia Stone's Jet Plane), New Ways Unfold is a culmination of Nic's multi-faceted artistry and fiercely creative, yet nostalgically familiar style. On writing the track Nic said, “New Ways Unfold invokes a way of being, a way of opening up to new experiences, creative learning and flow. I just started do, do, doing over a simple chord progression on a beat up old steel string acoustic and the song just came through.” 

Seamlessly transitioning between song writing, electronic sound design, visionary art/abstract painting and spoken word, Nic has long paid homage to the eclectic, deriving ideas and styles from a diverse range of genres. For years he has captivated audiences at alternative music festivals around Australia with his unique instrumental inclinations and virtuosity on the flute. 

Based near the internationally renowned seaside town of Byron Bay on Australia's north east coast, Nic's music has been shaped by his spirited bohemian lifestyle and exposure to myriad influences. Although his song writing is now reaching mainstream audiences, his musical journey began decades ago. Today, Nic is best known for fusing electronic and acoustic anti-folk styles with spoken word and rhyme. He is adept at merging various genres into his creative field of play and collaborating with other talented artists in the studio. Bandcamp here, Facebook here.

'New Ways Unfold' has a rhythmic, acoustic folk feel with Nic Kain's vocals providing the melody early on. It takes a beautiful twist round the halfway mark as the music creatively builds and adds another dimension to an already fine song.


Shinbone Star - Whiskey & Gin.

Background - Shinbone Star (Man Who Shot Liberty Valance for those that don't recognise the reference) is the band we all dream of being a part of... talented musicians, good people, creative artists. Sporting a range of tasty covers and originals we cover the blues spectrum with a bit of southern rock and country around the edges.

Band member Michael Woodrow tells us - My band Shinbone Star has just released a new album.  We are based in Melbourne (Australia mate!) and are currently number 1 nationally on ReverbNation for blues. We have been picked up by many stations internationally that play blues music.

The first track on the album was also the opener for the launch show. Played out on the Lady Cutler showboat (Blues Cruise) it was the start of a great afternoon and evening of blues to an adoring audience! Facebook here, Reverb Nation here.

If you like your blues with some passion and top quality vocals and musicianship then 'Whiskey & Gin' has all of that. The title song from the album gives some feel for the collection. The bands suggestion that country and southern rock also influences their material is a fair one, they can and do mix up the styles, however holding centre stage throughout is their natural blues music.


Fjorka - Sick Kids.

Background - Originating from the Emerald Isle, progressive pop outfit Fjokra (pronounced Fee-okra) come with their new single Sick Kids – a magical concoction of percussive beats, synth-pop melodies and rock guitars overlaid by scat vocals from duo lead vocalists Fi and Annie Bea.

Sick Kids follows the band’s debut EP Thought Steps which gained radio support from Steve Lamacq & Tom Robinson (BBC 6Music), Dan Hegarty (RTE 2FM), Gary Crowley (BBC London) and Vicky Blight & Pete Donaldson (Absolute Radio).

Sick Kids was written, recorded & produced by lead vocalist/frontman Fi (full name Fiachra Mac Oireachtai) who’s inspiration behind the beats came from militaristic drum-led groups like the Swiss Drum Corps & US College Lines saying “as a drummer myself, I love the energy & volume of noise created by those large collections of players & wanted to recreate that level of energy on the record”.

Fjokra are Annie Bea (vocals/percussion), Freddie Draper (bass), Jack Richardson (guitar), Filippo Galli (drums) and main vocalist, visionary and songwriter Fi. Facebook here.

The beats are impressive enough, and the vocals are stupendous on 'Sick Kids' a fascinating song with plenty of hooks and a chorus that nails it!


Kurt Swinghammer - Jack Layton and Grace Appleton.

Background from Kurt Swinghammer - I turned on the TV one morning to see CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge with tears in his eyes announcing the death of Jack Layton, the charismatic leader of Canada’s left wing New Democratic Party. It was a sad start to a new day, but then later that afternoon my mom died.

These two people were very important to me for entirely different reasons, and as often is the case with significant personal experiences, it inspired me to write. It became the first piece that developed into a song cycle called 'Another Another'.

Shortly afterwards I was invited to be the first Artist In Residence at the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta, which gave me access to their world-renowned collected of exotic synthesizers. This track includes the rarely heard Clavivox invented by Raymond Scott in 1952. I enlisted multiple Juno Award recipient Michael Phillip Wojewoda to engineer the recordings and he ran everything through the infamous Rolling Stones Mobile desk, which was used on Sticky Fingers and Led Zepplin 4, and gets a shout out in Deep Purple’s iconic “Smoke On The Water”.

It was absolutely exhilarating to be surrounded by literally hundreds of fabled electronic instruments associated with seminal modern composers such as Edgard Varèse and Brian Eno. Eno’s ambient classic “Music For Airports” was actually the only album in my collection that my mom ever expressed appreciation for. I played it constantly in her care facility room during her final days, and I used this single common cultural connection as an aesthetic inspiration to reflect on her life. Website here, Facebook here.

A personal song that is both winsome and a little sad. 'Jack Layton and Grace Appleton' is gently melodic and creative, the synths add a little more character towards the end of what is for me an enchanting track.


Slow Caves - Glares.

Background - Slow Caves have shared their video for 'Glares'. The band says of the video, "Most of the video was shot last summer, on the last day of our trip to Denmark. We wanted the video to reflect how we are as a band internally, and kind of give people a taste of what it's like to hang out with us. 

So, we handed the camera to our cousins, Kristian and Martin, and just kind of goofed around. We shot most of the footage at their school in Silkeborg (where Oliver and Jakob were born). The scenery there is unreal. We think the vibe of the video matches the song and our personalities really well. It's light-hearted and very sentimental and nostalgic.”

Formed in Ft. Collins, CO in 2014, Slow Caves consists of Danish born brothers Jakob and Oliver Mueller (vocals, guitars) rounded out by childhood friends David Dugan (guitar/bass) and Jackson Lamperes (drums) who offer a relaxed and surf-y update on 80's synth, 90's jangle and early aught's indie rock. Website here, Facebook here. Tour dates on Beehive Candy's tour page.

'Glares' is a bright uplifting indie rocker with bags of charm. Melodic vocals and sparkling music combine and provide a very appealing song.


The Gin Pennies - Film Noir.

Background - ​Front woman Shanelle Lewis​, has a voice for the ages, honed from her childhood in a musical family who would stay up nights playing songs around the campfire. Lewis moved from rural Ohio to Los Angeles, and quickly caught the attention of Randy Wooten, a prolific songwriter (The Bloody Lovelies, Willodean) and co-founder of Cheap Lullaby Records (Joan As Police Woman, Teitur, David Mead).

The Gin Pennies play pop songs enveloped in an old school sound that includes percussive guitars, upright bass, violin and trumpet. A close listen reveals intriguing non-period and genre specific surprises like chromatic harmonica, and lush chord sequences. 

There's a unique slant to their tunes that sets them apart from the masses; it's as if Lake Street Drive travelled back to the 1920's Paris and made a record with Django Reinhardt. It’s an engaging mixture of era and vibe, where modern-day California indie-pop meets 1920s French juke joint. Facebook here.

'Film Noir' is a magnificent song. Quintessential music and vocals that by the audio quality are clearly of this era, hark back to the music of bygone times, with style and charm. This is a piece that deserves any superlative you might care to give it.