A few months back Victoria’s six-part streaming series The State of Music brought a much-needed dose of live music magic to our living rooms, thanks to some standout performances from some of Australia’s most-loved acts.
Now, with the state of Victoria still firmly under lockdown, they’re doing it again! Only this time, they’re placing the spotlight firmly on emerging artists with the four-part series The State of Music: Introducing.
Produced in partnership with the Victorian Government, The State of Music: Introducing invites established acts and legends of the Aussie music industry to lend a little of their star power to their favourite Victorian up and comer, by ‘introducing’ them to a wider audience.
It’s a wholesome idea that so far, has produced wonderful results with the likes of Paul Kelly, The Chats, The Teskey Brothers, Alex Lahey, Tim Rogers and Vika and Linda bringing some truly stellar young acts some much-deserved attention. As well as the chosen artists absolutely turning it up with some knockout performances.
It is a giant musical lovefest, that not only brings some fantastic musicians some invaluable exposure, but that also brings out the giddy music fan in the acts doing the ‘introducing’.
There’s something truly heartwarming about seeing someone so deeply ingrained in our music culture as Paul Kelly rambling on like a starstruck fanboy as he introduces Jess Hitchcock, or Alex Lahey busting out of her boots with glee at the opportunity to bless us all with the gift of Nancie Shipper.
It shows that deep down inside, they’re still music tragics like us, and as live music-starved fans ourselves, that feels really nice and comforting to know.
As a bonus, with incredible turns from Jess Hitchcock, Nancie Shipper, CLAMM, Gena Rose Bruce, Pollyman and Kee’ahn, it is also beating the hell out of our lockdown blues here in Victoria, by giving us some quality live music to truly lose ourselves in every episode, while we await the return of our states true god: gigs.
Heading into week four, we’ve witnessed some star-marking moments from this diverse array of acts that showcases the staggering amount of talent that calls Victoria home right now.
Don’t just take our glowing word for it though, check it out for yourself by catching the four most memorable moments from The State of Music: Introducing so far and then do a deep dive on the artists’ back catalogues. Your new musical obsession awaits.
Introduced by Paul Kelly
“When you sing with Jess, you have to step up to the plate” says Aussie songwriting legend Paul Kelly when introducing Jess Hitchcock. It takes until the end of the first word of her cover of ‘Lay It On Me’ by Vance Joy to understand why.
Jess has one of those voices that just captivates you immediately, whisking you away to another realm for the precious few minutes you are blessed with her company.
Such pristine tone, such power, such emotion, Jess Hitchcock’s voice is a force of nature and it is on full display during this set. Accompanied simply on acoustic guitar by Cristian Barbieri, Jess displays the scope of her considerable talents, as a songwriter, a singer and a performer, making every second of this performance feel like a must watch.
An award winning Indigenous performer, composer and singer-songwriter with three years to her name as a backing vocalist for Kate Miller Heidke, a national run with Paul Kelly during which she was a featured artist every night, and over a decade’s worth of work with Australia’s only Indigenous opera company Short Black, Jess’ list of credentials gives some context to her capabilities, but no amount amount of context will prepare you for THAT voice.
Whether hitting stunning highs on the aforementioned Vance Joy cover or taking you on a gorgeous journey of self-discovery on the title track of her debut album Bloodline, a song about discovering and connecting with your identity as an Indigenous person, Jess’ voice will leave you spellbound.
Checkout ‘Bloodline’ below then take a listen into the rest of her wonderful debut album.
Introduced by Eamon Sandwith (The Chats)
“If you’re a fan of fuzzed-out punk music with aggro lyrics and sick riffs, I reckon you’ll be a fan of CLAMM,” Eamon Sandwith of The Chats decrees and you know what, Eamon, no truer words have bloody been spoken, mate. Exploding from the screen with a ferocious brand of punk, CLAMM bring some much needed danger to proceedings with an opening riot of romp through ‘Keystone Pols’ off of their bonza full-length record Beseech Me.
With guitarist/vocalist, Jack Summers, barking out anti-authoritarian lyrics and ripping out fierce riffs, bass player Maisie Everett hammering down the low end, and drummer Miles Harding going ballistic on the kit, CLAMM unleash a unique and rare energy that cuts through all the bullshit and has you looking around the house for the nearest thing to stage dive off of.
Backing it up with an absolute corker of a cover of Aussie punk legends The Saints ‘This Perfect Day’, proves that this band of inner-southern suburban types have the street cred, taste and talents to be the next big thing in Australian punk.
Check out the banging ‘Keystone Pols’ from this episode filmed at Collingwood’s iconic ‘Gasometer Hotel’ (the ‘Gaso’ to locals) then head to their Bandcamp to pick up the whole ‘Beseech Me’ record. It was the 3RRR Album of the Week for a reason. It rips.
Introduced by Tim Rogers
“They’re my favourite band. It is my enormous pleasure to introduce you, you lucky buggers, to Pollyman.” when Tim Rogers. TIM FREAKIN’ ROGERS, is this hyped about a band, you know you’re in for something special, so it is not surprising that Pollyman absolutely lives up to that sparkling intro.
From the moment frontman George Carroll Wilson steps up to the mic in his retro swag and lets out a rockin’ croon, it is apparent that this is not your average rock band.
Oh no, this is a terrific, original, breath of fresh air of a rock band, one that calls to mind greats of the past, while sounding so contemporary they could almost be from tomorrow.
Opening with ‘Inhibitions’ a slow-burning, off-kilter rocker that showcases George’s unique timbre, by pairing it with artfully chosen chord shapes, rumblin’ rhythms, and just enough space to go on some haunting runs.
‘Inhibitions’ calls to mind so many rock legends, while at the same time sounding nothing like any of them.
The song, much like the performance here, is incredibly accomplished, a perfect display of power-pop infused rock and roll with a sort of weathered sophistication that leaves you thinking about it for days.
Pollyman serves this up alongside a faithful and fabulous cover of Aussie icon Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs’ ‘Most People I Know’ that adds to the timeless quality of their sound. It provides a subtle hint to the origin and intentions of their sound while gifting everyone the chance to have a blast singing along to THAT chorus. This is two songs of rock done right.
Checkout ‘Inhibitions’ below then check out all things Pollyman. Tim wasn’t lying. That album is great.
Introduced by Vika and Linda
When industry veterans like Vika and Linda are left in awe of a young performer, you best be prepared for that performer to blow you away.
That’s what Kee’ahn does here with a stunning solo performance of her debut single ‘Better Things’.
Armed with nothing but a white strat, a microphone, and a voice that will leave you breathless, Kee’ahn introduces herself to the national stage with a silky smooth yet emotionally gripping rendition of a genuinely special song.
With a name that comes from the Wik people that means “to dance, to sing, to play”, Kee’ahn lives up to the meaning of her name, in a manner that gives you the sense of something spiritual at play.
There’s a soulful feeling to every note played, while every syllable sung evokes a depth of emotion that has you thinking of the adage ‘an old soul, in a young body’.
A song about reflection and looking forward to the future, this take on ‘Better Things’ has us looking forward to a future when we can see Kee’ahn live IRL.
The accompanying cover of The Temper Trap’s ‘Trembling Hands’ showcases Kee’ahn’s ability to embody a song so effectively that it sounds like it is her own, while somehow still remaining faithful to the musicality and narrative of the original.
The delicate delivery on the chorus’ vocals makes the hairs stand on end. A proud Gugu Yalanji, Jirrbal, Zenadth Kes song woman who has recently ventured from her home town in North Queensland, to pursue her dream in the Kulin Nation (Melbourne, Australia), Kee’ahn is on the verge of something big when her debut full-length In Full Bloom drops.
Checkout ‘Better Things’ here then go follow Kee’ahn on socials so you don’t miss out on the next step of her story.