Spin Doctor column and album reviews
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