The past 12 months for Brisbane lass Thelma Plum have been packed. Her first EP Rosie, her first performance at the National Indigenous Music Awards, her first headline tour, her first entry in the Triple J Hottest 100; she marched in and demanded attention.
With a smile that could kill and a distinct yet ever evolving fashion style, combined with with a penchant for dogs and a love for the f-word, Thelma is a blend of softness and steel. This is reflected through her music; it initially sounds delicate but underneath there is a strength that sets her apart from the breathy songstresses of late.
The story of two young spies in Europe during the beginning of the Cold War, Matt Olsson‘s verbose folk-concept album Part One: The Sabotage is the first of two installments. Calling on varied influences from The Decemberists, Tom Waits, and Devendra Banhart, as well as a number of literary works, The Sabotage has a musical scope to match the expansive narrative scope. With love, death, gunfights, and intrigue, the 11-song album is full of the passion and detail of a Romantic European novel. That his melodies are so strong and his music so interesting only makes the experience all the better.
In today’s musical climate, people would be more inclined to associate ‘Folk’ and ‘Bluegrass’ with the homogenized stomping and strumming of British band Mumford and Sons or Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men than anything that stays truer to the lineage of American Folk music. With that in mind, Cre EP is a breath of much needed fresh-air. Indiana natives Dave Alpert (Guitars/Vocals) and Morris Burns (Mandolin/Vocals) put tradition first in their exquisite four song EP. Together with producer Doucer Donzer, the duo has crafted a soundscape as expansive and wide open as their home state of Indiana, opting for simple arrangements and clean recordings over the reverb drenched style of so many modern ‘folk’ artists. Which is not to call Black Bottoms conservative or out of touch. Their songwriting, while staying true to much of the spirit of real American folk, is harmonically adventurous and daring.