Spin Doc­tor col­umn and al­bum re­views

The Weekend Australian - Review - - CONTENTS - Iain Shed­den spin­doc@ theaus­tralian.com.au

SD had an en­light­en­ing con­ver­sa­tion with singer Kate Miller-Hei­dke this week, ahead of her new al­bum O Ver­tigo, which is re­leased on Fri­day. The re­cently Mel­bourne-based Bris­bane singer has a few guests on the al­bum, in­clud­ing like-minded pop diva Me­gan Wash­ing­ton, with whom she has be­come good friends. It wasn’t al­ways that way, how­ever. Miller-Hei­dke ad­mits be­ing overwhelmed by bouts of jeal­ousy con­cern­ing Wash­ing­ton, an af­flic­tion that be­gan at a talent quest in Bris­bane 14 years ago. “It was at the Bris­bane mu­si­cal com­edy com­pe­ti­tion,” MillerHei­dke re­calls. “I was singing I Hate Men and she was singing Don’t Tell Mama, from Cabaret. She won the com­pe­ti­tion. She was four years younger than me and won, so I hated her from that mo­ment on. I think the prize was a Ca­sio key­board. We’ve be­come friends since then, but on my side there is that sense of pro­fes­sional ri­valry. She de­nies it though.” It’s fit­ting, there­fore, that there’s ri­valry in the song they sing to­gether, al­though the com­pe­ti­tion is over a lover rather than a key­board. “I wanted the two char­ac­ters to be in con­flict,” she says. You can read more of what Miller-Hei­dke has to say about her new al­bum, her con­tin­u­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with the English Na­tional Opera and about her gui­tarist hus­band Keir Nut­tall’s di­ver­sion into com­edy in The Aus­tralian on Mon­day. You can also ac­cess an ad­vance stream of the al­bum.

MAK­ING his Aus­tralian de­but this weekend is the ex­ot­i­cally named Amer­i­can per­former Pokey La­Farge, whose al­bum is re­viewed on this page. La­Farge and his band are one of a few acts who get to grace two sta­ples of the Aus­tralian fes­ti­val cir­cuit, the Port Fairy Folk Fes­ti­val in Vic­to­ria and WOMADe­laide. The St Louis-based singer, some­thing of a gen­tle­man, not least in his snazzy dress sense, says he doesn’t know a whole lot about Aus­tralia but is look­ing for­ward to learn­ing. “I don’t think you can learn that much about a coun­try on the in­ter­net,” he says. “I’m keep­ing an open mind about it.” One thing he is fa­mil­iar with is Amer­ica’s pres­ence here dur­ing World War II, due to his love of Amer­i­can his­tory. No doubt he’ll be au fait with the phrase “over­sexed, over­paid and over here”, al­though he’ll be re­lieved to know such ter­mi­nol­ogy has never been cast in the di­rec­tion of vis­it­ing mu­si­cians.

THE new Cold­play sin­gle Magic re­leased this week is a slight de­par­ture from the English band’s bom­bas­tic pop; a more sub­dued, at­mo­spheric, soul­ful groove, al­though still fea­tur­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tic Chris Martin falsetto. SD is hop­ing to get a taste of that and Cold­play’s new al­bum

Ghost Sto­ries next week. Cold­play is one of the main acts ap­pear­ing at the iTunes Fes­ti­val, part of the week-long ex­trav­a­ganza that is the South By South­west mu­sic in­dus­try con­fer­ence and show­case in Austin, Texas. SD will be there for the du­ra­tion, tak­ing in mu­sic, hope­fully, from a va­ri­ety of acts from across the globe, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia. Also on the iTunes line-up dur­ing five days is Pit­bull, Imag­ine Drag­ons, Wil­lie Nel­son and Keith Ur­ban. Among the large con­tin­gent of Aussie per­form­ers at SXSW are Boy & Bear, Vance Joy and Oh Mercy. Since I will be there and not here, there will be a short break in Spin Doc­tor ac­tiv­ity. I’ll be back on March 29.

Du­elling gui­tars from Cold­play

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