• We kick off The Purge this week with news that former ‘X Factor’ couple Jess & Matt will drop a new single this Thursday. ‘Sydney To Me’ is being released to coincide with their performance of the track at the Australia Day concert. As the title suggests, the song pays homage to Australia’s largest city and describes the formation of a relationship within it. It’s also been confirmed that Jess & Matt will release a new EP called ‘Belmont Street’ on Friday February 10.
• Lee Kernaghan will celebrate his 25 years in the Australian music business with the release of ‘The 25th Anniversary Album’ in late March. He’s sold more than two million albums here, scored four ARIA Awards and 36 Golden Guitar Awards in that time. The new LP will see Lee collaborate with Kasey Chambers, John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, James Blundell, The McClymonts and more and will include new songs and re-interpretations of his previous work. It’s out on March 24.
• Great news for Vera Blue this week, with confirmation that she’s inked an international deal with Deep Well/Capitol Records in the USA and will embark on a raft of US tour dates in March to celebrate. According to her local label Universal, Vera is currently in the studio finalising her second studio album, which is slated for release this year.
• Good news also for The Rubens, with word through from their label Ivy League that the band’s album ‘Hoops’ has just been certified gold, for sales in excess of 35,000 copies. Originally released in August 2015, the LP was treated to the deluxe repackage treatment at the end of last year.
• The Australian Music Prize shortlist has shortened considerably; now down to just nine albums. The 16 judges listened to a record 364 albums, earlier whittling them down to the 61 featured on the longlist. Now there are just nine; AB Original’s ‘Reclaim Australia’, The Avalanches’ ‘Wildflower’, Big Scary’s ‘Animal’, Camp Cope’s ‘Camp Cope’, DD Dumbo’s ‘Utopia Defeated’, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s ‘Nonagon Infinity’, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘Skeleton Tree’, Olympia’s ‘Self Talk’ and The Peep Tempel’s ‘Joy’. The winner will be revealed on March 08.
• Marvin Priest and former ‘The Voice’ star Rik-E-Ragga have been added to the line-up to the forthcoming Raggamuffin Festival, which makes stops in Sydney and Melbourne this time next month. They’ll be performing their recently-released single ‘Searching For Paradise’, while proving support for the likes of Shaggy and Six60, who head the bill. Raggamuffin All Stars hits Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne on February 19 and Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on February 21.
• Katy Steele has added to extra shows to her upcoming national tour; both in her home state of Western Australia. She’s confirmed a show at Settler’s Tavern in Margaret River on Thursday March 23 and one at the Prince Of Wales in Bunbury on Saturday March 25. Tickets for both shows are on sale now.
• Add Aussie outfit Taxiride to the list of acts celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2017. The band hit the big time via their smash debut single ‘Get Set’ in 1997 and continued their run of chart successes with the likes of ‘Everywhere You Go’, ‘Creeping Up Slowly’ and our personal favourite, ‘Nothing In This World’. To celebrate the milestone, the band is set to play sideshows in both Sydney and Melbourne during their supporting role on the Red Hot Summer Tour. Shows are locked in at the Newtown Social Club on March 02 and at the Corner Hotel in their hometown on February 10. Tickets are on sale now.
• Bluefest Touring tells us that April 20 will be the last day we ever see Patti Smith & Her Band performing live in Australia. And to mark the momentous occasion, Courtney Barnett will play the support role. Pre-sale tickets for the Festival Hall gig are on sale now, ahead of general public sales, which are live from 10am on Monday.
• No movement at the top of the UK singles chart this week, with Ed Sheeran’s two tracks stationary in the Nos.1 and 2 positions, ahead of Rag ‘N’ Bone Man’s ‘Human’ at No.3. Jax Jones & Raye are headed towards the top with ‘You Don’t Know Me’, improving from No.9 to No.4, while our own Starley edges from No.8 to No.7 with ‘Call On Me’. Premiering at the even No.10 are The Chainsmokers with their fresh new hit ‘Paris’.
• Setting a new album free at a quiet time of the year has paid dividends for The xx, whose new album ‘I See You’ premieres in the No.1 spot on the UK albums chart. They knock off Little Mix, whose ‘Glory Days’ drops to No.2. With the movie now in cinemas across the planet, the ‘La La Land’ soundtrack rockets from one end of the top 100 to the other (No.99 to No.3), while there are further top ten debuts for Bonobo’s ‘Migration’ (No.5), Rick Wakeman’s ‘Piano Portraits’ (No.7) and Wiley’s ‘Godfather’ (No.9). Gregory Porter’s ‘Take Me To The Alley’ bullets 50 places from No.62 to No.12.
• Say it isn’t so… Ed Sheeran debuting at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with his single ‘Shape Of You’? Yes indeed. But unlike in other countries, his other track ‘Castle On The Hill’ didn’t fare quite as well, as the No.2 position Stateside this week is occupied by Migos ftg Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘Bad And Boujee’, which drops from top spot. In fact, though ‘Castle On A Hill’ still premieres in the US top ten, it does so down in the No.6 position. The rest of this week’s US top 40 remains relatively steady.
• The Weeknd is still occupying the throne atop the Billboard 200 albums chart; ‘Starboy’ heading the ‘La La Land’ soundtrack (No.15 to No.2), the ‘Moana’ soundtrack (No.2 to No.3), Bruno Mars’ ’24K Magic’ (No.3 to No.4) and J Cole’s ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ (steady at No.5). Homegrown outfit Dropkick Murphys score the week’s only top ten debut (at No.8) with their new long player ’11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory’, while albums from Post Malone and Chris Stapleton make their way into the top ten behind them. Thanks to the announcement of his new album, Ed Sheeran’s ‘X’ leaps from No.71 to No.26, while ‘+’ is back into the chart at No.67.
• Speaking of Ed, he claimed the No.1 and No.2 spots on debut on last week’s ARIA singles chart, but will he have held onto those spots for a second week in a row? And will those said singles have been given their first certifications? Find out tonight when we return with ARIA Chart Watch, live on the East Coast at 6pm AEDT.
MONDAY JANUARY 23 : Patti Smith & Her Band (Melbourne)
MONDAY JANUARY 23 : Touch Bass (Nationally)