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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - November 21st 2012

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"Share with me," Lauren Bruce sings on her debut album, Before The Dust Settles, "'cause I wanna share with you." Lauren's songs lure you with a gentle, poetic grace. But her hooks hit you unexpectedly. Just when you have her pegged as fragile and delicate, she strikes you with a sassy chorus. Before The Dust Settles is the best debut album I've heard this year.

The back-story is a bewdy: a young singer-songwriter from Nambucca Heads lands in London, seeking fame and fortune. She ends up cold and lonely, but just as she's planning to return home, she meets another Australian musician, Matt Whytcross, who invites her to record at his house - an old church in Lincolnshire, about two hours from London. The nearest town is a place called Boston, which inspired Elton John's Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting. "And nothing has changed," Matt laughs. "It's the Moe of England." Lauren plans to record a song or two. Three months later, she has finished an album, ready to be mastered at Abbey Road Studios. "It was exciting and scary," Lauren reflects on the recording. "The songs were so fresh and emotional and then I was stuck with them in such an isolated place. I really had to face why I'd created them."

The title, Before The Dust Settles, was suggested by Eli Stowe, who recorded and mixed the album. "It was about everything being so up in the air and transient and emotional," Lauren explains. "It was a period of change, but it's during those times that magic happens; it's when creativity flourishes. Using that vulnerability and uncertainty to capture something that's beautiful and real." The album features a homesickness song called Pickin' Bones. "It was right in the middle of a really cold winter in London," Lauren recalls, "I was trying to write a happy song, so I was strumming away on E for about 20 minutes. I just wanted home and family and I wanted to feel the summer vibe of Australia. And all I could see were grumpy people on the Tube." Music was Lauren's salvation. "I've got my iPod," she sings, defiantly. "I didn't have any money, but I knew that as long as I had my music, I could get through." Lauren now calls Melbourne home. "Everybody in London told me to go to Melbourne," she smiles. "It's so cultural and the music scene is so great. And it's also got the four seasons that I love."

Before The Dust Settles (out now on iTunes and CD Baby through Gumption Music) heralds the arrival of a remarkable new talent. Lauren could be music's second greatest Bruce. As she sings at the start of the album, "The sun's coming up on my dreams."

Fresh from launching his new best-of, The Story So Far, Hunters & Collectors' Jack Howard is adding his trumpet to The Break, the "supergroup" featuring Rob, Jim and Martin from Midnight Oil, and the Violent Femmes' Brian Ritchie. Coincidentally, Jack was once mistaken for Peter Garrett while on tour in the US (he was also wrongly recognised as Right Said Fred). The Break's cosmic new album will be out in March.

As Year 12 students celebrate schoolies, Abbey Stone is promoting her debut single. For Everything is a poignant piece of piano pop, reflecting on 13 years of sharing school with friends and people you barely get to know. "We made it through," Abbey declares. Abbey has just finished her VCE exams at Northcote High, where she debuted the song at school assembly. "It was so nice to get to perform the song for everyone it was written about," she says. "It's a cliché, but the song wrote itself. I was sitting at the piano, looking at a photo of me and one of my best friends. I realised that our lives were going to be so different next year." Abbey - who turned 18 this month - has wanted to be a singer ever since hearing Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing when she was four. She grew up in Fitzroy, and her grandmother would often get her to sing for fellow tram travellers. "I guess they were my first gigs," Abbey laughs. Her school's career counsellor recently called, concerned that Abbey hadn't applied for any university courses. But Abbey plans to make music her life. And For Everything shows that she's got the goods.

Still no homegrown hits in the Top 10.

Heartless SAMANTHA JADE (number 12, debut)
Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (15)
Party Bass BOMBS AWAY (27)
Rock Star REECE MASTIN (29)
Wish You Were Here DELTA GOODREM (33)
Get Along GUY SEBASTIAN (34, debut)
Take It Home JOHNNY RUFFO (35)
Boom Boom JUSTICE CREW (36)
Clair de Lune FLIGHT FACILITIES (38, debut)

Flume floods the charts, landing at two.

Flume FLUME (number two, debut)
Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (five)
Child Of The Universe DELTA GOODREM (13)
Beautiful Nightmare REECE MASTIN (17)
Essential Oils MIDNIGHT OIL (24)
The Rubens THE RUBENS (33)
Beautiful Noise LEE KERNAGHAN (35)

For Everything ABBEY STONE
Broken Heart Attack BEKI COLADA

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