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Album Review: Falls – Omaha

By on Tuesday, 29th September 2015 at 12:00 pm

Falls Omaha coverAfter signing to the Verve imprint of Universal Records last year, former boyfriend/girlfriend yet still longtime Aussie musical collaborators Falls released their ‘Into the Fire’ EP in February 2014. Over a year and a half and a move to Los Angeles later, the duo – Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown – are gearing up to release their debut album this very Friday. Produced and recorded by the legendary Mike Mogis at his Presto! Recording Studio in Nebraska, the album takes its name from the Midwestern town where much of its toughest work was done. Quite a long way from the Hotel Hollywood bar where the pair first cut their teeth playing live in Sydney, where they also played a series of back-to-back sold out shows to devoted fans just 2 weeks ago.

Kirwin says of their music, “Our songs are at times deeply personal. They’re raw, they’re real and they’re very honest.” There’s no questioning the duo’s sincerity, as their songwriting on ‘Omaha’ matches the brilliance of their past output seen on such tracks as the beautiful yet catchy ‘Home’. For sure, ‘Omaha’ as a whole sounds rich thanks to the production and string arrangements by Tony Buchen. But as you might expect, working with a superstar producer with a stellar track record like that of Mogis has polished some of Falls’ edges.

Whether this professional polish helps or hinders their success outside Australia remains to be seen. To those who have never heard of Falls before, this album might just be the perfect entry point into their world, which now has an anthemic quality instrumentally that goes well beyond the folk sensibility on which they made their name with in Oz. An example of this is album opener ‘Let in the Light’, floaty in its sweeping, echoey instrumentation, yet feeling too lightweight in the lyrics department (“tell me how you spend your days/ how do you spend your nights / how you do tell yourself it’ll be all right?”).

Showing Falls at their poppiest, it’s not hard at all to imagine both ‘Beating Hearts’ and ‘Falling’ being played on daytime Radio 2, the former with an infectious drum beat throughout, the latter showcasing the pair’s faultless harmonies. With its “na na nahs” and strummed chords, ‘Better Way to Go’ is another enjoyable number that should inspire quite a few singalongs at their future gigs.

Running on the opposite side of the spectrum are the LP tracks on ‘Omaha’ that speak more directly to the Aussie duo’s musical roots. With charmingly disarming piano chords, ‘Summer’ is a simple ode to homesickness, while ‘Nothing Ever Comes My Way’ is tinged forlornly with regret and loneliness, themes that are returned to on the album’s conclusion and Rudston-Brown’s star moment, ‘Don’t Ask’. ‘When We Were Young’ – said by Kirwin to have been inspired by being in New York City in the middle of winter in early 2014 and imagining the personal stories of the many people they would see on their intercity travels – is conveyed well as a memorable hoedown. An additional tribute to their adopted homeland, ‘Independence Day’ weaves a beauteous story about a lost love and the holiday on which it was written on.

While Falls’ classic and simple guitar folk sound may have been embellished on instrumentally through outside influence in some places on ‘Omaha’, it’s Kirwin and Rudston-Brown’s confident storytelling that proves far more important – and satisfying – on their debut album.


‘Omaha’, the long-awaited debut album from celebrated Aussie folk singer/songwriter duo Falls, is out this Friday, the 2nd of February on Verve / Universal. For past coverage on TGTF of the duo, go here.


TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: Australian artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW (A – G)

By on Wednesday, 4th March 2015 at 11:00 am

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2015 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Sounds Australia brings a veritable cornucopia, by genre, of acts to many major music festivals around the world during the year, including TGTF May UK festival favourites The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. Their Australian contingent always has a massive presence at SXSW, and this year is no exception. In addition to the annual, all-day Aussie BBQ advertised as the biggest Australian band showcase outside of Oz, it’s sure to be a good time with 25 of the hottest Australian acts performing at Brush Square Park on the Friday of this year’s festival. With much assistance from our Aussie friend NickiGirlStar, today and tomorrow we’ll be introducing you to many of the bands coming from down under. Whether you’re lucky enough to head out to Austin in 2 weeks or not, we hope you’re find a new act (or three) to fall in love with.

Ball Park Music (Brisbane)
These five twenty somethings from Brisbane, Australia play sunny, upbeat indie pop rock tunes since 2008. Lead singer Sam Cromack has a charismatic presence on stage not unlike Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. Very much a party and dance sound.

I’ve seen them inspire thousands at Australia’s major festival Splendour in the Grass to sing and dance to their pop anthem ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’. Their popularity keeps growing, and it is not unusual for even the larger Sydney venues to sell out when they come to town.

‘Puddinghead’ is their second and current album and was released in April 2014. It includes the disco track ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’, which made #19 on the triple j Hottest 100 listing in 2014; they also successfully nabbed spot #58 with “Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You”. Go check them out if you want to brighten up your day and have a bit of a groove.

Bloods (Sydney)
This three piece punk group – two girls doing the guitar/bass thing and a token male playing drums – like to yell, jump around and belt out their punchy tunes at a rapid rate. Their debut album “Work It Out” was released in 2014.

They have been on the scene since 2011. They’re a popular act at indie festivals and also score quite a few support spots for visiting overseas bands when they come to Oz. A highlight of theirs in 2014 was supporting ‘90s American punk outfit Veruca Salt, which I thought was a pretty good match musically. Another notable support slot was for the Dum Dum Girls. Lead singer Sweetie oozes swag and keeps the other two in line. I always enjoy seeing Bloods and taking in their infectious girl punk sound, and I hope you do too.

Carmada (Sydney)
You know how Pendulum changed the game a couple years ago, being an Australian band and bringing their fresh take on drum ‘n’ bass? Pendulum may be no more but Carmada, the musical marriage of solo musician/producers L D R U and Yahtzel, are about to melt your face off with a refreshing blend of electro, soul and hip hop. (Mary Chang)

The Church (Sydney)
Where do I start with The Church? They have been in my portfolio of sounds to love since I can remember. It was 1980 when The Church launched their goth rock at a gig in Sydney. Thirty years later, they have been inducted into the Australian Recording Artists Association (ARIA) Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and have taken the wondrous 30-year anniversary tour “Future Past Perfect” around Australia and then to America in 2011.

In 2014 part of the band’s backbone, Marty Wilson-Piper, departed, with ex-lead guitarist and singer for Powderfinger Ian Hague coming onboard to fill the void. They also released their 25th studio album ‘Further/Deeper’ and were invited as the keynote speakers for Australia’s version of SXSW, BIGSOUND in Brisbane. In addition to SXSW, they’ll be touring America again this year.

The music of The Church is a mystical brand of goth rock that transports your mind to another plane. The emotion runs deep within the songs. Some of Australia’s classic rock songs have been penned by The Church, most notably ‘Under the Milky Way’, ‘The Unguarded Moment’, ‘Almost With You’ and ‘Metropolis’. Definitely go see The Church.

Courtney Barnett (Melbourne); read past TGTF coverage on her here
Courtney Barnett has toured around the U.S. a bit and from what I hear, she’s had a good reception. I actually picked up her 2013 double EP ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ while on a mid-2014 California holiday; there it was all pride of place at Lou’s Records in Encinitas. There are so many great tracks on the double EP to get excited about: ‘Avant Gardener’, ‘Lance Jr’, ‘Scotty Says’ and ‘Out of the Woodwork’ that will have you singing and swaying and thinking why you haven’t already heard of Courtney Barnett. In addition, one of Courtney’s singles from 2014, ‘Pickles From the Jar’, won the #51 spot on the triple j Hottest 100.

I really enjoy Courtney’s work, her music and lyrics have a distinctive Australian flavour to them and she always comes across as she would be your bestie if you just happened to live next door to her. Courtney’s style is a mixture of shoegaze and jangly rock on the recordings, but she gets more worked up at a live show and really gets into the performance and rocks down with her band members Bones and Dave. I recommend you checking out her showcase at this year’s SXSW.

The Delta Riggs (Melbourne)
These psych-rockers playfully known as ‘Le Riggs’ are no strangers to the USA, having played at Culture Collide and CMJ festivals in 2014. Their current persona is playful, especially witnessed in the filmclips for ‘The Record’s Flawed’ (think Sergeant Pepper-style pop art) and ‘Supersonic Casualties’ off their 2014 album ‘Dipz Zebazios’, which has been stirring up the punters and promoters alike. In early 2015 they will be supporting Foo Fighters across Australia and in the past have also supported Kasabian and Primal Scream.

Absolutely drop by The Delta Riggs’ set if you want to have a groove to some good rock beats and see a damn fine all star performance from the band and their superstar frontman Elliott Hammond, who has all the moves and energy and then some. I’ve been saying for years that Elliott is one of the best performers around, and it is most certainly time for him and his bandmates to shine.

Demi Louise (Melbourne)
Let’s face it, the young female indie folk singer/songwriter genre is pretty crowded in the UK already, with Lucy Rose leading the pack. But Demi Louise might give all these ladies a run for their money this year at SXSW 2015. Check out the haunting ‘Ruins’ with its dextrous guitar work for further evidence.

Despite still being unsigned, the 21-year old Melbournian already has plenty of international experience under her belt. In 2014, she ditched the chance to perform on Aussie X Factor – although she had already passed the necessary auditions – to play at Liverpool Sound City, so she already has huge points in my book for wanting to spread her music the old fashioned way. She’s also opened for Gabrielle Aplin in England, as well as TGTF favourites Kodaline in their hometown of Dublin. (Mary Chang)

Falls (Sydney); read our past coverage on Falls here
Acoustic folk duo Melinda and Simon hail from Sydney via Darwin (a far northwest tropical monsoonal city in Australia’s Northern Territory) who now live in Los Angeles after being signed to Universal in 2013. In Sydney they were the drawcard and brains behind Folk Club, where they performed every week for 5 years or more and also embraced other artists to perform on the bill to an appreciative audience that continued to build each week.

Folk Club helped the Sydney folk scene flourish. It was a magical time for all involved and we owe Falls a lot for being instrumental in this renaissance of Aussie folk music. Melinda and Simon were able to do achieve all of this because they were drop dead lyrically and musically good. It was always a joy to see them perform, the songs never lost their potency and continued to draw you week after week. It was not unusual for me to have tears in my eyes each Wednesday night as they performed their evocative songs such as ‘Home’, ‘Into the Fire’ and ‘Hollywood’.

Melinda has a lovely true full voice that will grab you by the heart and reminds me of another Australian folk singer, Judith Durham, who made such worldwide hits such as ‘Georgie Girl’ in the 1960s with her band The Seekers. I always felt that Melinda’s voice should also gain worldwide notice and am hoping this will turn out to be the case. Don’t miss seeing Falls, as they are a top-notch act worthy of attention and will appeal to all regardless of age and genre preference that some people may have.

George Maple
Pop might be a bad word in some circles. But George Maple is trying to change that with minimalist electronic backdrops and her soulful voice singing about the not so pop topics of melancholy and sadness. With famous friends like Flume (on whose ‘Bring You Down’ she guested on) and Kwes, she’s already got incredible street cred. Oh, and by the way, George is a woman… (Mary Chang)

The Gooch Palms (Newcastle)
Take a listen to ‘We Get By’ for proof that this girl drummer and boy guitarist like to shock as much as play a catchy punk rock tune. Energetic, raunchy, sometimes gross and in your face performances can be expected from this pair. Expect to get caught up in the moment by shaking your booty to their jaunty tunes. I would not be surprised if they have in mind some tricks of shock value level to dazzle their audiences at SXSW. Some of the international bands they have graced the stage with are the Thee Oh Sees, 5,6,7,8’s, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Shannon and the Clams, and The King Khan and BBQ Show. I am sure you will find The Gooch Palms very likeable and the antidote to boring showcase performances.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our coverage of Australian artists showcasing at SXSW 2015, which concludes tomorrow.


Live Gig Video: Falls perform ‘Home’ at the Cathedral of Junk during SXSW 2014

By on Thursday, 14th August 2014 at 4:00 pm

August seems like a long time from March, but this new video of Aussie duo Falls performing live at SXSW 2014 reminds us that it’s not that long now until SXSW madness begins again. Watch as Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown, augmented by a lovely string section (probably different than the one I saw with them in Sydney 2 years ago, surely?), perform their track ‘Home’ in Austin at the (in)famous Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas.

TGTF coverage of Falls is all here.


SXSW 2014: Amy Cook, Falls and The Carper Family: folkies at Stephen F’s Bar – 11th March 2014

By on Wednesday, 19th March 2014 at 3:00 pm

The great thing that you don’t realise about SXSW unless you actually witness it firsthand is the wide variety of venues there are in Austin during the festival. So from a rammed, stifling, claustrophobic Latitude 30 for the first half of my Tuesday night, I headed over to far more relaxed digs. It’s amazing to me that after 3 years in a row of covering this festival, I’m still finding new and exciting places to see bands play.

Stephen F’s Bar is on the topmost floor of the very swish InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel on Congress Avenue. It’s not a far walk at all from bustling and mental 6th Street, yet it feels like a world away on any night the festival is running. Having been there now, I would highly recommend it if you need a quiet oasis from all the late night craziness, for getting a drink at their well-appointed bar will surely make you feel human again. (For you historical buffs out there, Austin is known as the ‘father of Texas’ and that is why the capital city of the state is named after him.)

After my interview with Prides at Latitude 30, I arrived in the midst of Amy Cook’s set. As a local Austinite, I guess you can forgive her for all the audience heckling she was doing. To her credit though, she thanked punters throughout the set and asked us to give ourselves a round of applause for hanging in there to watch her. You see, Stephen F’s Bar is a ‘seated’ venue, with benches and various types of poufy, leather cushioned loungers, so you could be easily forgiven if you had one too many G&Ts that night if you fell asleep to the strumming of a guitar. The three acts I caught there were all folk acts, including Cook. An established singer/songwriter in her own right, she and her throaty voice, accompanied by her backing guitarist, felt right in the confines of the hotel bar.

Cook was followed by Australian folk duo Falls, who have now begun their conquest of America, having recently signed a record deal with Verve Music Group of Universal Records and uprooted from their home in Sydney and decamped to Los Angeles to make it here in America. I don’t think I will ever tire of hearing the harmonies of Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown; some things are just meant to be, and I think the two of them were meant to be musical partners for life. ‘Home’ seemed to be the most heartfelt track of the evening, as even though Austin is not Falls’ home, the locals and SXSW punters made them feel like they were there. Also tearjerking was Kirwin’s dedication of their cover of Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ to a friend who had been following them around for moral support all over the East Coast of America who they’d learned had had a particularly trying day trying to get home to Australia.

This was Falls’ triumphant return to SXSW after appearing last year, and the many fans they picked up at last year’s festival also returned in droves to see one of their festival favourites perform. It’s really heart-warming when you see a band interacting with their fans, knowing each and every one of them by name. It may seem impossible to achieve, given the fast pace of life these days, but Falls proved that it is possible to do and they will never forget the people who welcomed them into their hearts when they were unknown Aussies in Austin.

The Carper Family rounded out the evening at Stephen F’s. I was a little disappointed to learn the three women on stage weren’t actually related. The Austin band is named for Melissa Carper, who plays upright bass alongside Beth Chrisman (fiddle) and Jenn Miori (guitar), and despite not sharing the same bloodline, they sound like they could have been separated at birth. With tinges of bluegrass and country in their songs while also maintaining their own originality, they bridge the distance between the traditional and modern. This isn’t my kind of music at all – we joked all week while we were in Austin that I usually palm off the singer/songwriters on Carrie! – but as we don’t have 100 versions of ourselves, the other benefit of SXSW is that we could each go see bands that we could recommend (or not recommend) to the other and our friends.

My night ended surrounded by friends old and new, with the clarity and support they afforded me to hit the rest of SXSW hard.


(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Album Review: Falls – Into the Fire EP

By on Friday, 21st February 2014 at 12:00 pm

Sydney folk duo Falls – who have evidently dropped the “The” from their name in the last couple of weeks, much to my disappointment! – have just released their debut EP in America, called ‘Into the Fire’. The title track was the song they ended their set with at the Hamilton last month supporting Bronze Radio Return. The singer/songwriter genre isn’t my usual area of expertise, but you’d have to be made of stone to not melt from Falls’ melodies. This new EP for the American market features six songs, and the quality on the songs on here is astonishing and will no doubt serve as a great first introduction to new stateside fans.

Much has been made of the fact that Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown were once a couple. But when you listen to their voices harmonising perfectly together on recording, all you will want to do is say a silent thank you that they stuck it out and together for the sake of music: sometimes destiny works in mysterious ways and dictates that holding on to a relationship, even if it’s turned into a platonic and professional one, still can lead somewhere beautiful. The EP begins ever so pleasantly with ‘Please’, the duo’s shining harmonies paired wonderfully with guitar, repeated piano notes and strings.

‘Girl That I Love’ is not actually what you might expect: Rudston-Brown takes the lead from the start and explains in the first verse that the girl on his mind “makes me mad as hell” and “makes me want to run away from it all”, and as the song continues, it tells the painful story of how it’s necessary to leave someone even if you love that person so much, because you know that person can never bring you happiness. Interestingly, the song goes from major to minor halfway through the song, as if to reflect this change from lightness to sad realisation. Following on a similar theme, EP title track ‘Into the Fire’ has the immortal lines, “I’m waiting for an answer that’s not coming / I’m running in a race that’s not worth running”: when you’re in a relationship and you aren’t getting the answers you need, it’s probably time to cut your losses and make a break. Even if it hurts like all hell as Kirwin sings about the finality, “I’m going to burn in the fires for what I’ve done, oh oh oh, can’t be undone”. Somehow though, when Falls sing this to you, it’s doesn’t hurt. As much, anyway. Below is a live performance in Sydney of the duo performing it.

But not everyone wants to be sad, yeah? For its hand-clapping sing-along likeability and therefore having the best chance for mainstream success, ‘Hey’ and ‘Home’ can’t be beat. The former is upbeat and infectiously so, which goes with its message of telling a friend that everything’s going to be okay in the end. The video for ‘Home’ that was unveiled when the song was released as a single in their native Australia 2 years ago shows the duo hanging out with the undead ‘at home’ and I think it was a brave choice to do this with the promo, something a little different to shake things up. The take home message I get from the song is the lyric, “it all comes back the moment I get home”: when you come back ‘home’, whether it is a physical place or to the people you love, all the memories you have of that time and place come flooding back. And that’s a very good thing.

As are Falls. They are ready for their spotlight on the world stage.


Falls’ debut EP in America, ‘Into the Fire’, is out on digital format now on Verve / Universal. The EP in physical format will be available on the 11th of March stateside. This timing is perfect, as the duo will be showcasing at SXSW 2014.


Live Review: Bronze Radio Return with The Falls at the Hamilton, Washington DC – 31st January 2014

By on Monday, 3rd February 2014 at 2:00 pm

For a city that’s not New York, DC has a pretty good range of different venues, of which the Hamilton sticks out as a rather unusual one. In a good way. The upstairs restaurant comes across as very Washingtonian; it’s the well-appointed, immaculately tiled, sophisticated kind of place you expect senators to dine at during power lunches. But once you head down the stairs that are gorgeously lit from below, the feeling is very different. In a quasi-dinner theatre sort of way, the Hamilton the venue makes you feel very welcome with its inviting atmosphere, and it sure beats the usual cramped and dingy places us Washington writers are used to. Last summer when they came and did a show for us there, Little Comets commented to me that the place reminded them of Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, but much more posh and pretty, which us Washingtonians can only take as a compliment.

The other two times I’ve been to the Hamilton, the advertised show was not sold out, so there wasn’t an issue with crowdedness. Not so much on the last Friday night of January for Connecticut roots rock band Bronze Radio Return. More on them in a moment. I was more interested in going to see The Falls, the Sydney-based singer/songwriter duo made up of Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown, who I’d seen over a year ago during the MGM/SPA Australia showcase in Sydney when I’d visited Australia to cover the inaugural ARIA Week and the 2012 ARIAs. At that show, I met a lovely woman who has since become a very good friend and actually, it was her who told me just how great the Falls were. I was not disappointed. That night in Sydney, they played with a string quartet, but in Washington and on their dates with Bronze Radio Return on the East Coast of America, it was just the two of them, which I think actually worked in their favour.

Kirwin and Rudston-Brown’s story is not one that is repeated too often. They used to be a couple some years ago, but the thing that kept them together as best friends and business partners is true testament to the power of music. Also, their genre is the folk / pop, singer/songwriter variety, which tends to be the most emotional and honest of all. All that taken together, there is no wonder why The Falls are able to craft such beautiful songs. Their voices harmonise not only well but one does not overpower the other and if I didn’t know they weren’t a couple romantically, that would be the immediate conclusion I’d draw from their sound.

While the audience did not seem familiar at all with the duo’s work, they seemed quickly enamoured by the pair’s songs, which included ‘Hollywood’, a kind of love letter to the Hollywood Hotel, where they played many of their early shows before they tasted success in Australia; the lilting voices and upbeat tempo of ‘Home’; and ‘When We Were Young’, inspired by their first visit to New York City in the winter of 2013. Kirwin’s wonderment about their recent experiences in America was delightful, as she explained that during the time before this tour, they had been doing some writing and recording in Los Angeles, living in Laurel Canyon and feeling very inspired by the great music made there, encouraging the two to cover Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ for us. They ended with ‘Into the Fire’, the title track of their debut American EP out on the 17th of February. I look forward to hearing what they have for us next and their conquering of America’s hearts.

Prior to this show, I thought it would be a good idea for me to investigate who Bronze Radio Return were. Evidently, the folk / roots rock band are a pretty big deal in this country, having three full-length albums to their name and their video for ‘Further On’ having surpassed 250,000 views on YouTube. This left me wondering, how the heck have I never heard of them? Maybe I have missed them on local radio (?) but from my internet wanderings and looking around during the show, they seem to have a cult college (university) following here. My guess from what I heard prior to the show and actually at the show is that their music is for the Mumford followers, though you might have guessed this from the prominent banjo lined up on stage even before it was their turn to play.

From the first few measures of introductory song ‘Wonder No More’, it was clear that Bronze Radio Return had plans on turning DC into a hoedown than it’s usually used to, and the crowd ate it up, along with louder numbers like ‘Everything Moves’ and buoyant ones of the ‘Rather Not Know’ ilk. Also, judging from the excited shouts of approval sent towards lead singer Chris Henderson’s way, most of the people present had seen the band multiple times, including at this very venue. Their sound is certainly fun and upbeat, but in these post-Mumford success days, you have to wonder if they’d gotten to the American people first, they’d be the ones with the Grammys in their hands instead.


About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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