Radar Illawarra: the week's music news

Bargo Radfest, Born Lion
Bargo Radfest, Born Lion

■ Born Lion - formerly Wollongong outfit the Watt Riot - are killing it lately. They're on tour with Karnivool, new single Good Times Jimmy is getting lots of plays on Triple J, and they've been announced to support UK buzzband Royal Blood's two Sydney shows in June. The June 3 gig at Oxford Art Factory is sold out, but you can grab tickets to a newly announced show on June 4.

■ Passing Through, a bodyboarding film made by Shining Bird percussionist James Kates, will play at Wollongong Art Gallery on Saturday. The soundtrack has been specially done by members of Shining Bird, the Walking Who, the Pinheads and more local bands, so definitely something to wrap your ears around.

■ The Little Prince's new vinyl records night Analog starts Friday. DJs from Music Farmers and some local bands will be spinning tunes from 7pm, and entry is free.

■ The UOW band comp continues with heat two on Tuesday night, with Chuparosa, Ivory, Lucha Libra and We Came For Dinosaurs battling out for a place in the final. Entry is free from 7pm.

■ The 28th annual Illawarra Jazz Club Autumn Jazz Festival is this weekend at the Corrimal Hotel. The Jungle Kings, Sound of Koko, the Escalators and the Australian Army Big Band will be on show between Friday and Sunday. Single day or weekend passes are available from illawarrajazzclub.com.

Dan Sultan

Dan Sultan

■ Dan Sultan is bringing his new album Blackbird our way in July with a big national tour stopping at Waves nightclub. I spoke to Dan this week, and he said he's itching to get back out on the road and touring: "Not sure whether it's the new material, or because we don't drink on tour any more, but the last tour was the best we've ever done," he told me.

"We don't drink, so it's a lot harder going to sleep at night but a lot easier waking up in the morning." Dan brings Stonefield and Way Of the Eagle to Waves on July 12.

We want to hear from you! To have your music, gig, news or anything music-related featured next week, email details to joshua.butler@ illawarramercury.com.au.

In 2013  Music Farmers and Yours & Owls joined forces for  The Farmer and The Owl – first a music festival at the Unibar headlined by The Drones, then a series of gigs around town, then another mini-festival in the CBD. Now the pairing have announced a record label and management company titled F/O.

The venture will officially launch with a bumper gig at the Unibar on May 29 with performances from Jenny Broke The Window, Shining Bird, The Walking Who, Hockey Dad and lots more. Ben Tillman (pictured) from Yours & Owls gave us the rundown.

What is The Farmer and The Owl?

I guess it’s a music company. It started as a festival but since November has grown into something much more. We are wanting to create a supportive community in the Illawarra to nurture and promote some of the talent down here. So I guess we are now doing that as a company that promotes quality shows, acts as band management and releases and services records as a label.

Why did the relationship between MFs and Y&Os start?

Two heads are better than one and I guess we have both been working in Wollongong in music for a while so it made sense to combine and exchange ideas.

Tell us about the label F/O.

There’s so many good bands in our area so the label is a way for us to help them get some wider, national attention. Wollongong music is as good as anywhere in the country, it’s just that we don’t have that supportive infrastructure to help bands make the jump out of the Gong.

Why the decision to start the label?

It seemed like something fun. We wanted music in the area to grow and a record label seemed like a most logical place to start.

What do you think it will bring to the Illawarra?

Attention to the music scene down here and the quality of bands we have. Hopefully it will also encourage other people to come down or stay in the area and get involved in the scene.

We need managers, booking agents, dedicated music press (print & online) and a whole heap of other stuff. So if people see that what we are doing is working and it’s something cool & positive then maybe it will influence others to try their hand at whatever they fancy creatively, but doing it in the area instead of heading to the cities.

The reality is at the moment in Wollongong if you want to do something like that you have to do it on your own steam, these jobs aren’t already there and up for grabs.

So hopefully this is encouraging for people to jump in and follow suit. I love our bands and the people we get to hang out with at shows. It’s a great community. Super creative and no pretension


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