Comanche Moon – Country Music Deathstar

Mark Erikson (MHE): We get asked a lot, “what kind of music do y’all play?” It’s always been kind of a tough question for us because it really has more to do with what we were listening to growing up than it does with current genre categories. In the sense that our sound is country, it’s because we grew up in the country listening to a lot of 90s country like George Strait, Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks, as well as traditional forms like bluegrass and old cowboy fiddle tunes. But we also listened to a lot of bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band, and that kind of music had a huge influence on our sound. So when people ask about our sound, you can spend a paragraph saying that, or you can just call it “Country Music Deathstar.”

Amy Stroup – Helen of Memphis

Recorded partly in LA and partly in her adopted hometown of Nashville, Helen Of Memphis finds Stroup pushing her songwriting into bold new sonic territory, incorporating bright, electronic pop elements into groove and beat-driven tunes that absolutely bubble over with feminine empowerment and confidence – a concept partly inspired by her late grandmother’s love of fashion.

For a decade now, Stroup has been crafting the kind of songs that transport listeners with rich, emotional honesty and vivid storytelling. Her music has been featured in dozens of television shows, including This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood, and The Walking Dead, as well major national ad campaigns for brands like Calvin Klein and Lexus. In addition to her critically acclaimed body of solo work, Stroup is also prolific collaborator, teaming up with Andrew Simple to record as Danger Twins (you’ve likely heard their songs in spots for Google, Universal Studios, and New Balance among others) and partnering with Trent Dabbs for Sugar & The Hi-Lows, a playfully retro duo that Rolling Stone said “built a bridge between the rootsy stomp of early Sun Records tunes and the harmonized swoon of old Brill Building pop songs.” The praise was universal and effusive for the Sugar & The Hi-Lows’ two LPs, with USA Today raving that “the only thing better than the bluesy, garage-rock guitars is Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup’s vocal chemistry,” and Marie Claire swooning for “Stroup’s salted-caramel voice.”

Cat Canteri – Inner North

Singer-songwriter Cat Canteri has been slowly been building herself an impressive career that now numbers three solo albums.

The sense of patience, self-determination and the evolution and refinement of her songwriting makes Inner North her most rewarding record to date.

Canteri’s ability to drift between styles is a real strength and the way she does it so seamlessly is a testament to her versatility. Primarily this is an album of contemporary folk music, both electric and acoustic, yet it also draws on indie rock and pop, country music, jazz and languid blues. Opener The Only One is as ragged as she gets, with her ringing Ryan Adams-styled guitar balanced by her warm and rich vocal tone. Canteri’s singing is prominent in the mix throughout this album and it impresses with dips into deep soul on Remember The Time and pure, rollicking country on How Crazy I’ve Been. One of the strongest moments on the album is the exquisitely presented, heart-wrenching tale of Bridget Agnew.

Reminiscent of the sound of Joan Armatrading, Eleanor Friedberger and the occasional flash of Joni Mitchell, Canteri’s album is a wonderful sonic snapshot of Melbourne’s inner north, past and present, through the eyes of the people that inhabit these suburbs.