Live It Up

Last week was Australia Day and I posted a few songs from New Zealand to commemorate the day. Today is Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s public holiday, so here are a few tunes from their Antipodean neighbours. Back in 1966, Sydney’s Easybeats were the first Australian band to earn an international hit with the still brilliant Friday on My Mind. Also from Sydney, Mental As Anything made the Top Ten in several European counties in 1985 with Live It Up from the soundtrack of Crocodile Dundee. Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue were appealing to very different audiences during the eighties, so it was a big surprise when the two collaborated on Cave’s Murder Ballads album in 1996. It was even more surprising that Where the Wild Roses Grow was so good. Darren Hanlon isn’t terribly well known outside his native country, but he has at least one big fan in my friend John and a smaller one in me. We both saw him about a decade ago when he supported Billy Bragg in Galway (I think). His own songs are lyrically witty and melodic, but I’ve chosen his cover of a song from Rumours

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Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under

The American singer and performer Amanda Palmer released her second full-length solo album today. It was recorded in Adelaide and Sydney last year and its dozen songs include a number that are concerned with the world’s biggest island/smallest continent. The majority of the songs on the collection were recorded live and include Palmer’s always interesting banter along with some contributions from the crowd and assorted musicians. The humour and intimacy of her concerts are captured in the album’s opening version of the oldie Making Whoopee and later in Vegemite (The Black Death), an hilarious ode to how an Australian delicacy can test even the most committed of lovers. The set concludes on a fine version of The Ship Song by Nick Cave and the whole thing can be downloaded at her Bandcamp page for less than the price of a Vegemite sandwich. Three of Palmer’s more eager fans have already paid five grand each for a private concert from the singer at their home, while five more have paid $1500 each to hang out backstage at one of her Australian shows. Have a look at that Bandcamp link for a few more packages that are still available and that are lighter on the pocket. You can also buy her EP of ukulele interpretations of Radiohead songs from last year for a nominal fee here. Here’s a taster of one of those covers

No Surprises (Radiohead cover) – Amanda Palmer

Image courtesy of Patrick Dugan