Wednesday, December 30, 2009


McKisko is yet another of those artists that I have discovered quite a while ago, but kinda lost track of. This australian singer-songwriter is gifted with a voice that hits straight at the heart of her audience. Described by one reviewer as “the voice of a bruised angel”, it can powerfully soar or it can brush raw against you, beckoning goose bumps. Incorporating keys, guitar, melodica, percussion and subtle use of a loop pedal, McKisko’s songs sway between delicately layered lullabies and emotionally charged assaults. She builds songs using inventive instrumentation, an intimate honesty and a lyricism that journeys through abstract landscapes imbued with emotion. Helen Franzmann spent her childhood on a farm in rural Queensland, the second youngest of six children. Although she had been singing classically from age nine, it wasn’t until she moved to Europe that she began to consider quitting her day job for music. From the age of 21 she spent four years in London and Barcelona studying a different kind of voice. She filled her days working 12-hour shifts as a cardiology nurse and her nights with gigs or playing a small Spanish guitar and dinky keyboard. She began to write and perform the simplest of songs at parties and, through a collaboration with songwriter-musician Ben Schiller, those songs evolved into the grand and hauntingly beautiful sounds of their band redbreast. Here, Helen became known for her unique and choppy style of keys and compelling voice. During this time, Helen also collaborated with Brisbane act Jacob S. Harris and the Morning Belles, providing harmonies, keyboard and organ on his three LPs. A move in winter 2007 to a small attic room in Dublin with a keyboard, guitar and a loop pedal began a new phase in her song writing. Here, her solo project, McKisko, saw a revival of her original, more pared-back style. She returned to Brisbane later that year, with the songs ready for recording. 2008 saw Mckisko touring Australia repeatedly, recording with Jamie Trevaskis of Junkship Studios, accompanying German Expressionist films at the Gallery of Modern Art and playing in Tom Cooney’s band. Her debut album Glorio filled with beautiful minimalistic folk songs saw its release in the spring of 2009.

@ Queensland, Australia
♫ Indie, Folk, Acoustic
♥ Marcel (mp3)
♥ A Difficult Crossing (mp3)
▸ Myspace

Candice Casagrande

Born in Lismore on the North Coast of N.S.W, Candice Casagrande grew up writing poetry with sand between her toes and an acoustic guitar. This brilliant coastal artist writes intelligent acoustic / pop songs that will knock on the door of your heart, promise hope and challenge any stale mind-sets. Her artistically constructed lyrics are a trademark, allowing her songs to grip people with more than just a catchy tune. During the release of her EP “Fearless Heart” in 2007 Candice actively came alongside teenage girls in the local area dealing with issues of self harm, suicide and eating disorders. In 2008; amongst performing at festivals, local venues, surfing and recording at studio, Candice reached No.1 indie/folk artist on and top 5 finalist in the Music Oz Awards. The first single from her album “Make It a Good 1” was instantly welcomed on high rotation by popular radio station 100.9 ZZZ Fm. 2009 has been a tide of success for Candice with International recognition in the Prestigious Unisong International Songwriting Contest and taking home 4 North Coast Dolphin Awards for 'Song Of The Year', 'Pop', 'Devotional' and best 'Female Vocal'. Candice performed to packed audiences at the Workers Club Lismore, Sonfest and Easterfest for the release of her debut album ‘New Day’ deeming her North Coasts best selling Female Artist! The self-titled album is available from Koorong stores Australia wide, All Music & Vision locally, itunes and live shows.

@ Lismore, Australia
♫ Indie, Pop
♥ Just A Mask (mp3)
▸ Myspace

Thursday, December 24, 2009


We are all the sum parts of what we see, what we feel, who we meet, where we live, who we love and how we process this crazy mother of 21st century life. Rokhsan Heydari is a remarkable embodiment of the world today. Daughter to a British/Indian mother and Persian father, she has the stunning look of a Saudi beauty queen and a truly international attitude in her style and manner. She is also multi-lingual speaking French, Spanish, Persian and English. Playing piano from the age of 6, and then picking up vocals, guitar, drums, production and now violin, Rokhsan has continued to develop her writing and live performance skills at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, immersing herself in every opportunity made available. Over a period of 3 years Rokhsan played literally hundreds of live shows with the Huw Stephens’ recommended Worst Case Scenario label mates, Little Things, as well as showcasing her solo material. Now at just 22, Rokhsan’s solo work has a beautifully crafted charm of folk, soul and pop with a touch of Eastern frailty in her vocal phrasing. This has created a small storm at radio and in A & R circles way ahead of her first single release on Worst Case Scenario records in October 08. In June a performance witnessed by key Radio 1 staff led to a crowd pleasing Glastonbury slot on the BBC Introducing stage. Imminent shows at Bestival and Manchester’s In The City, quite simply because they love her, are all clear signs of big things to come.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Josh Pyke

It didn’t take long before Josh’s unique voice and song writing style, influenced by the likes of Elliott Smith, Evan Dando, and Sparklehorse, began to find favour amongst music tastemakers, critics and Triple J listeners. The first taste, the assured ‘Kids Don’t Sell Their Hopes So Fast’, found high rotation on Triple J and soon ‘Silver’ and the gently sweeping ‘Doldrums’ followed to similar praise and airplay. Josh signed to Ivy League Records and shortly afterwards travelled to New York for some further writing, performing and demoing and upon return set about recording what was his debut release under his own name, a mini album entitled “Feeding The Wolves”. “Feeding the Wolves” signified a great deal more than a change in name: It revealed a huge step in the development of Josh as an artist and songwriter. The subject matter was as broad as titles like “Beg Your Pardon”, “Private Education”, “Middle Of The Hill” and “Goldmines” suggest, however it’s Josh’s lyrics that draw this collection of songs together into a complete package. He cleverly dissects human emotion and feelings and shows them for what they are: complex, abstract, fascinating. With production by the much-lauded Wayne Connolly “Feeding The Wolves” had the artist now rightly known as Josh Pyke letting his talent flow without constraint. The words seem to tumble out of him: honest, evocative, and emotional all at once. The playing - again mostly all Josh - is one moment sweetly melodic, then turning urgent and insistent as needs be. This range of feelings, packaged so they bounce around inside your head like good songs do, and given so generously, go together to make “Feeding The Wolves” the sound of an artist beginning to realise an enormous potential. In 2007 Josh released his first full-length album ‘Memories and Dust’. Although the record features three of the stand-out tracks from ‘Feeding the Wolves’ there are a further 8 tracks of similar quality, including the title track, which was the first single taken from the new batch. The release is again through Ivy League Records. Josh’s second album Chimney’s Afire was released 4 October 2008 and was recorded at Sydney’s Linear Recording studios. The first single off the album was “The Lighthouse Song”, and the second was called “Make You

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jack Savoretti

The half-English, half-Italian singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti is my most played new artist of the last few months. I immediately loved his vocals and songwriting when I heard it in One Tree Hill. Jack is currently signed to De Angelis Records which was set up by Anne Barrett who is also the former manager of Natalie Imbruglia. Jack didn’t pick up a guitar until he was 16. He was brought up most of my child hood in London before moving to a Swiss mountain village. Savoretti released his first single on 9 October 2006, called Without. Savoretti was then spotted by Corinne Bailey Rae and she invited Jack to perform with her on her European Tour. His album gained support on Radio 2, where it was declared Album of the Week. The album Between the Minds was released in March 2007, After his Caffe Nero tour he re-released his debut album with a bounus disc with unplugged versions of some of his songs, 3 new songs as well as a live cover version Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire on March 31, 2008. Jack's second album Harder Than Easy was due for release on 6 July 2009. The album release was postponed and is set was released digitally in North America on September 15. I really recommend buying (at least) his first album, I love every song on it and have listened to it at least 50 times this last few months. Let's hope he'll tour Europe soon!

I'm back, still here.

Hi loyal, and new readers. Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Tests, projects and more collegestuff have been consuming all my time lately. But I've just had my last test of the semester today and have some quite weeks/months ahead of me. So I'll be back with regular updates of my new musical discoveries. Starting tonight!