Strangers lead singer Ben Britton & I met at the world’s largest music, film and interactive conference, South By South West (SXSW) back in 2013 when his kick-ass Australian heavy rock band Strangers were selected to play the conference and was I immediately blown away by their explosive live set in the basement at The Aussie BBQ Australian showcase event in Austin (Texas).
The Aussie BBQ SXSW boasted an A-grade line-up of the likes Vance Joy, Hiatus Kaiyote, Flume, Emma Louse, Seth Sentry, 360, Dune Rats, Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes, Alpine, Jackson Firebird, San Cisco, The Rubens, Jack Carty, Gold Fields, The Beards, The Falls & shit-tons more… 37 amazing Australian bands and artists playing 3 stages in one venue across 13 hours in Texas!!!! Blew my mind!
And for those who haven’t been before, the most wonderful thing about touring the USA with Sounds Australia and all the Aussie bands performing every year at SXSW is that you spend time with your music industry peeps that you know from back home whom you haven’t seen for ages, make a whole swag of new music biz friends and soak up the most beautiful and generous sense of community that Austin and SXSW have on offer. Benny and I kept bumping into each other at different bars and live music showcases around Austin, became buddies that week and I was quite struck by what a friendly, chatty and genuine dude he is.
Flash forward 4 years and I am super excited to feature Strangers launch of their 2nd album ‘Mirrorland’ on Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! Benny and I catch-up to discuss just what it’s like for Australian artists/bands looking to take on SXSW, the differences between the Melbourne and Sydney music scenes, He generously shares his experiences battling anxiety and mental health, which have come to be a massive learning experience and part of the ‘Mirrorland’ album and yep, I’ll even give you an exclusive sneak peek of 3 tracks from the new album by just simply downloading the podcast.
Over the next 2 weeks this Sydney born, Melbourne based 4-piece are carving out their next steps with 2 explosive ‘Mirrorland’ album launch shows in Melbourne (Saturday Just 1st – The Evelyn Hotel) and Sydney (Friday July 14th – The Chippo Hotel).
Last time I saw them play in Texas, Benny was on some dude’s shoulders in the crowd singing mid-set, the guitarist brought his axe out into the crowd too and then I think Mr. Britton capped it all off by stage-diving back ONTO the stage and tackling the drummer and drum-kit in one fell swoop… Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!
Download this shit and come see the show with me in Sydney! #GetSome #RocknRoll 🤘🏼✨🎸
Hot on the heels of a foray into solo territory, Caity Fowler (formerly of Playwrite) has announced her inspirational debut EP – ‘Whitelight Blackdog’.
I first met Caity Fowler a short while back at Golden Plains Music Festival and was immediately struck by her warmth, giving nature and positive energy, so it was a surprise for me to discover that like many young Australians, Caity has battled on and off with depression since she was a teenager. Having been affected by depression myself when I was younger and in more recent years by the struggles of family members, this is a topic that is close to mine own heart.
What I love about Caity is that this Melbourne-based singer/songwriter is now using her positive energies to shine a light on dark times. I was blown away 2 weeks ago by her openness onstage at The Evelyn Hotel when discussing the inspiration for her latest batch of music. ‘Whitelight Blackdog’ is a beacon of hope designed to start the conversation around a subject that has for too long been considered taboo, so that all of us affected may realize that we’re not alone.
“The secrecy and taboo that surrounds mental illness even in this day and age create shame and embarrassment. I may never learn to be proud of my suffering but I am proud of my resilience.”
– Caity Fowler
Listen to & download the first single ‘Beautiful Girls’ below, watch the vid, drop by her social channels to say hi (Facebook, Twitter) and contribute to Caity Fowler’s ‘Whitelight Blackdog’ pozible campaign.
I’m proud of you, Caity. Love you! ❤