Author: Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.
Julien Baker

Interview: Julien Baker talks Little Oblivions, songwriting, boygenius and creative freedom

February 23, 2021

Singer-songwriter Julien Baker is all set to release her forthcoming album Little Oblivions later this week. Officially released on February 26th, the album delivers a sound that is bigger, bolder and more expansive than the sparse intimacy that we’ve come to expect from Baker. Recorded pre-COVID, Little Oblivions might be a sonic shift for Baker, […]

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Highline

Interview: “Staying Sane” with Sydney’s Highline

February 22, 2021

Sydney’s Highline haven’t let a little thing like a global pandemic throw off their hard earned momentum. The quartet are back with a new single, “Staying Sane”, and with the promise of more to come.  It was still early days for the band pre-covid. They’d released their debut EP and played their first ever shows […]

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Win a double in-season pass to MINARI in Australia

February 11, 2021

Thanks to Madman Entertainment we have ten double passes to give away to the upcoming release of the Golden Globe-nominated MINARI, the tender and sweeping story for writer/director Lee Isaac Chung, and starring Steven Yuen. The film arrives in Australian cinemas on February 18th. Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in […]

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The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness

Album Review: The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness deliver positivity, hooks and jangle on new album Songs From Another Life (2021 LP)

February 5, 2021

If you like your guitar’s jangly, then look no further than Songs From Another Life, the sophomore album from indie rock duo The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness.   By way of introduction, the band are something of an atypical endeavour. The band’s two members – Gonzalo Marcos (from Spanish indie popsters El Palacio de […]

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Sturle Dagsland

Album Review: Sturle Dagsland captivates with vocal versatility on his self titled debut

February 4, 2021

Armed with an impressive array of obscure and worldly instruments and an astounding vocal, Norwegian artist Sturle Dagsland has crafted an album that is extraordinary, compelling and undoubtedly idiosyncratic. That it is his debut, makes it all the more remarkable. When I reviewed “Kusanagi”, the album’s lead single back in October, I remarked that it […]

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Book Review: Randa Jarrar is provocative and unabashed in her memoir Love Is An Ex-Country

February 4, 2021

Love Is An Ex-Country is the compelling new memoir from Arab American writer and academic Randa Jarrar. The book (much like its author) is provocative, powerful and utterly unabashed. Presented as a travel memoir, Love is an Ex-Country begins with Jarrar heading on a cross-country road trip, emulating a similar trip taken by celebrated Egyptian […]

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Maple Mall

Track of the Week: Maple Mall “Coastin'” (2021)

February 3, 2021

Indie rock continues to be in fine form in Australia, with another band throwing their hats into the ring. Maple Mall are a four piece from the Illawarra region of New South Wales, who have just released their sophomore single “Coastin’”.  It’s very much early days for the lads from Illawarra – they only played […]

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Born Into This

Book Review: Adam Thompson’s Born Into This spotlights Tasmania and its people

February 2, 2021

The Tasmanian landscape and a whole host of engaging, charming and well drawn characters populate the stories that make up Born Into This, the debut short story collection from Adam Thompson; an emerging Aboriginal (pakana) author from Tasmania.  The collection comprises sixteen stories, often brief, but always impactful. In spite of this brevity, Thompson is […]

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Indie Book Awards

Shortlist announced for 2021 Indie Book Awards

January 20, 2021

This morning the shortlist for the 2021 Indie Book Awards have been unveiled. The twenty-four shortlisted books, the best books of the year as nominated by Australian independent booksellers, now go on to vie for the coveted Overall Indie ‘Book of the Year’ for 2021.  A panel of judge will choose the winners in each […]

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Hardline

Track of the Week: Julien Baker “Hardline” (2021)

January 19, 2021

Singer-songwriter Julien Baker continues to tease her forthcoming album Little Oblivions, treating fans to new single “Hardline”.  The new single, the first track on the new album, further showcases the more expansive sound that Baker has opted for on the forthcoming album. It’s bigger, bolder, but at the same time, so clearly a Julien Baker […]

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Illy

Guest Playlist: Illy shares songs from the artists who changed his life

January 19, 2021

The genre defying and ARIA Award winning artist Illy has returned with his sixth LP, The Space Between.  Released on Friday, the album is the culmination of over three years of persistence, grind, and continent hopping. Illy split the album’s recording sessions between his hometown of Melbourne, and studios around the world, including, Los Angeles, […]

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Sturle Dagsland

Interview: Sturle Dagsland on his debut LP, creative process, and recording with huskies

January 19, 2021

Norwegian experimental singer Sturle Dagsland continues to tease his forthcoming self-titled debut album, set for release early next month – February 5th.  The latest single to be lifted from the album is “Dreaming”; a track that showcases the album’s more ethereal side. It’s positively serene compared to the previously released “Kusanagi” and “Waif”; which highlighted […]

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LitFestBergen

Perth to feature in LitFestBergen’s Eurovision-style literary event

January 14, 2021

“Hello Perth, this is Bergen calling.” Perth and Writing WA will be featured, along with ten other international locations, in LitFestBergen’s Literature Live Around The World on February 12th. One of the few positives that has come from the global Covid-19 pandemic, is the increasing use of the virtual. In 2020, Literary Awards and Book Festivals […]

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Beowulf

Book Review: Maria Dahvana Headley breathes new life into an old classic in Beowulf

January 5, 2021

Beowulf is one of those stories that a lot of people think they know. That’s because it’s an iconic work of early English literature. Not only that, there have been countless translations and adaptations in the intervening centuries since the heroic tale was first uttered by a bard. Amongst its translators and adaptors are some […]

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Anticipated Books 2021

The AU’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021: Jan – Mar

December 30, 2020

2020 you are done! Well, close enough!  With the New Year only days away we decided it was time to look forward and see what literary treats we have in store for us in 2021.  With so many books published each week, month and year, this list can only serve as a snapshot of what’s […]

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Best Books of 2020

The 14 Best Books of 2020

December 11, 2020

By now it goes without saying that 2020 has been a rough year. From wildfires to a global pandemic there has disruption and upheaval on a scale rarely, if ever, seen in “peacetime”. Pretty much every sector of society has taken a hit this year. And the publishing world, as with much of the Arts […]

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Lucky's

Book Review: Andrew Pippos toasts community and family in his debut Lucky’s

December 10, 2020

Debut author Andrew Pippos has used his own family history as a leaping off point for his first novel Lucky’s.  The multi-generational family saga details the rise and fall (and rise again?) of Lucky, a second-generation American-born Greek entrepreneur, restauranteur and erstwhile family man. Having found himself stationed in wartime Australia, impersonating clarinetist Benny Goodman […]

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Vinny Fire

Guest Playlist: Melbourne trio Vinny bring you the essential 80’s beats you need in your life

December 10, 2020

Melbourne trio Vinny capped off November with the release of “Fire”, their second release of the year.  Armed with infectious base lines and oozing swagger, “Fire” is as good an introduction as any to the Melbourne band. Think neon lit dance floors, a touch of hedonism and a smidge of seedy dance floor vibes and […]

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Indie Book Awards 2021

The Indie Book Awards continue to champion great Australian writing with their 2021 Longlist

December 9, 2020

This morning the longlist for the 2021 Indie Book Award has been announced. The award, which celebrates the best Australian writing, is made up of titles nominated by Australian independent booksellers. The Awards cover the best Australian book across six categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Debut Fiction, Illustrated Non-Fiction, Young Adult (12+) and Children’s. The Shortlist will […]

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Sydney Writers' Festival

Sydney Writers’ Festival returns to Carriageworks for four events this Summer as part of Sydney Festival

December 4, 2020

Sydney Writers’ Festival and Sydney Festival are joining forces for one weekend in January to present four major events at Carriageworks. The four events, presented under the banner Something to Talk About will see Sydney audiences spending time with the 2020 Booker Prize Winner, Douglas Stuart; perennial Festival favourites Jennifer Byrne, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and […]

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Tash Sultana guitar

Tash Sultana just got their own Fender Guitar: Introducing the Tash Sultana Stratocaster

December 4, 2020

Fender have teamed up with singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana for their all-new Signature Stratocaster.  The guitar, which features a wide range of tonal options and a custom “Skull” neckplate, is Sultana’s first artist signature model with the iconic guitar brand. The collaboration comes after an incredibly successful five years for the singer-songwriter; going […]

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Big Orange

Perth alt-rockers Big Orange walk us through their rousing debut album An Ode To Odious

December 3, 2020

Late last week Western Australia’s Big Orange released their rousing debut album, An Ode To Odious, through Perth indie label Blue Grey Pink.  The album was recorded primarily at the home of the band’s principal songwriter Daniel Davis, with some further recording by Dave Parkin (Spacey Jane, San Cisco) at Blackbird Sound Studio in Perth. […]

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The Indios

Track of the Day: The Indios “La Primavera” (2020)

November 30, 2020

London-based Colombian band The Indios have just released their new single: “La Primavera”. The single is the creation of production duo Juan Contento, the band’s lead singer, and Felipe Rojas, the drummer.  Slow-tempo and laidback but captivating, “La Primavera” blends the different musical cultures brilliantly. The band has managed to make Urban latin influences rub […]

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Alive

Alive: Nuria takes us song by song through her soulful debut album

November 27, 2020

Tasmanian indie-pop artist Nuria has just released her debut album, the aptly titled Alive. Regular readers of the AU will have noticed I am a fan of the Tasmanian musician, having featured several of her singles over the past year; many of which feature on this new album.  In many ways Alive is an album […]

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The Betweeners: Brisbane’s The Bonnie Doons walk us through their sophomore EP

November 26, 2020

Brisbane indie five-piece The Bonnie Doons released their new EP, The Betweeners, late last week. The four-track release champions a sound rich in groove, rhythm and soul, with the band dipping in and out of a few genre pools.  Recorded at Brisbane’s Alchemix Studios, The Betweeners is a release rooted in optimism, and in making […]

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Alice Skye

Track of the Day: Alice Skye “Stay In Bed” (2020)

November 24, 2020

Singer-songwriter and Wergaia / Wemba Wemba woman, Alice Skye hasreturned with the raw and intimate new single, “Stay In Bed”. Accompanying the single is a wonderful video clip that celebrates Blak excellence and features a host of First Nations talent — including the wonderfully inimitable Uncle Jack Charles.  On “Stay In Bed”, Skye has once […]

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Harmony Byrne

Track of the Day: Harmony Byrne “The Good Days & The Bad Days” (2020)

November 20, 2020

Singer-songwriter Harmony Byrne returns this week with a new single, the quietly devastating “The Good Days & The Bad Days”. The single, written and recorded during quarantine in the Bush, is the first from her forthcoming acoustic EP The Songs I Sing When No One Is Listening – due early 2021.   “The Good Days […]

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Booker Prize

Douglas Stuart wins the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction for his debut novel Shuggie Bain

November 20, 2020

New York-based Scottish author Douglas Stuart has been announced as the winner of the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction, with his debut novel Shuggie Bain. Stuart is only the second Scottish author to win the prize in its history.  Although a work of fiction, Shuggie Bain draws upon Stuart’s lived experience, and takes the reader deep […]

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Peking Duk

Guest Playlist: Reuben from Peking Duk’s choice of the most iconic collaborations of all time

November 19, 2020

Australia’s resident dance floor party specialist Peking Duk have teamed up with festival favourites The Wombats on collaborative electro-rock anthem “Nothing To Love About Love”.  The single is the second official release from Peking Duk this year, and follows on from the release of “Move” earlier in the year, which featured Alisa Xalayith of The […]

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Biting The Clouds

Book Review: Fiona Foley critically (re-)examines Queensland’s colonial past in Biting The Clouds

November 19, 2020

Biting The Clouds is the latest book from visual artist, writer and academic Fiona Foley. Adapted from her doctoral thesis, Biting The Clouds, is a compelling critical examination and exhumation of Australia’s, specifically Queensland’s, colonial history from an Indigenous perspective.  Foley is from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala nation, and is a renowned visual […]

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