Archive for the ‘News’ Category

October 26, 2023

Julie Byrne

artwork by Daniel Kent

Mistletone is thrilled to present Julie Byrne, returning to Australia in the wake of her sublime new album, The Greater Wings.


JANUARY 17 + 19: SYDNEY FESTIVAL @ ACO NEILSON. Tickets on sale here.
JANUARY 25: CASTLEMAINE @ THEATRE ROYAL. Tickets on sale here.

A triumph of grace and hope against the odds” – THE GUARDIAN ★★★★★

Julie Byrne is making the most powerful, life-affirming music of her career. Her magnificent new album The Greater Wings is a universally resonant testament to the power of love and friendship to transcend grief and loss.

The follow-up to her stunning 2017 breakthrough album, Not Even Happiness, The Greater Wings became one of this year’s most rapturously reviewed albums. This deeply moving album is a celebration of friendship; Eric Littmann, Julie Byrne’s longtime creative partner and producer of her previous album Not Even Happiness, died suddenly at age 31, before the album was finished. Recording was finished in the Catskills of New York with producer Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Julianna Barwick).

Julie Byrne has emerged from a deeply trying and generative period with the most lustrous music of her career. While they hold the plasticity of grief and trauma, the songs are universally resonant, unbridled in their devotion and joy, held up by the love and alliance of a chosen family.

With her hushed vocals, sparse instrumentation and gently plucked guitar, Julie Byrne has a way of drawing you in close. Onstage with her musical companions, Byrne is a spellbinding presence, able to transform any room into her front porch. As a performer, Julie carries an aura of warmth and vulnerability, an innate musicality connected to the natural world; there is real gravity in her ability to make that a shared feeling.

For nearly a decade, Julie Byrne has moved through the world as a characteristically private artist largely outside the public eye. Raised in New York State, now living in New York City, she has counted many places as home.

In the folk lineage of the wanderer, Byrne’s poetic, evocative songcraft pulls imagery from the road and takes its shape from the evolving impressions of friendship, love, and loss. She taught herself guitar after picking it up when her father became ill and could no longer play the instrument himself. She has stocked shelves in supermarkets, and moonlit as a seasonal urban park ranger in Manhattan. 

Most recently, Julie has made a new EP with Taryn Blake Miller and Emily Fontana under the name Laugh Cry Laugh, recorded during the winter of last year, including an original called “Velocity! What About The Inertia!?” and a cover of Jackson Browne’s “These Days.”

Julie Byrne shared her first full-length album in 2014 on the Chicago-based label Orindal. Rooms With Walls and Windows, a collection of intimate front porch psych-folk songs initially released over two separate cassettes, became a true modern-day word-of-mouth DIY success story. It was voted number 7 in MOJO Magazine’s best albums of the year, with the Huffington Post calling it “2014’s Great American Album.” She toured the album internationally, playing a handful of festivals and a host of underground house shows across America, and as her profile rose, she also found her artistic community.

Writing for her next album spread across various seasons and locations, a travelogue culminating with sessions in her childhood home with producer and creative partner Eric Littmann and later in a cabin in New Hampshire where Jake Falby added string parts. Released in 2017 on Basin Rock and Ba Da Bing Records, Not Even Happiness saw widespread acclaim, named Best New Music by Pitchfork, with universal acclaim across the board, including The New York Times, NME, and The Guardian. By year’s end, the record was a staple on best-of lists; Byrne had played an NPR Tiny Desk and began a run of world tours that continued for several years.

Julie will confess the success of Not Even Happiness was unexpected, but its hushed closing track, “I Live Now As A Singer,” did forecast an intention. She knew the open space — occupied by Littmann’s signature palette of synth tones, Falby’s strings, and Byrne’s robust, drifting voice — presented something new and thrilling, something they’d develop as a live band and what would later be understood as the catalyst for material to come.

The Greater Wings — Julie’s debut for Ghostly International and her first album in over six years — builds on this revelatory space at every turn. Navigating themes of grief, intimacy, and transformation, The Greater Wings is a testament to patience and determination, the willingness to transform through the desolation of loss, the vitality of renewal, and the courage to rise, forever changed.

Leaning further into atmospheres both expansive and intimate, the lush, evocative songcraft flows between her signature fingerpicked guitar, synthesiser, and a newly adopted piano, made wider by flourishes of harp and strings. It is the transcendent sound of resource, of friendship that was never without romance, of loyalty that burns from within like a heart on fire, and the life force summoned in unrepeatable moments — raw, gorgeous, and wild.

“My hope for The Greater Wings is that it lives as a love letter to my chosen family and as an expression of the depth of my commitment to our shared future. Being reshaped by grief also has me more aware of what death does not take from me. I commit that to heart, to words, to sound. Music is not bound to any kind of linear time, so in the capacity to record and speak to the future: this is what it felt like to me, when we were simultaneous, alive, occurring all at once. What it has felt like to go up against my edge and push, the love that has made it worth all this fight. These memories are my values, they belong with me.” – Julie Byrne

October 26, 2023

Lonnie Holley x Moor Mother x Irreversible Entanglements

artwork by George Gillies


MONDAY FEBRUARY 26: SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE. presale Wednesday 9am here. tickets on sale Fri 17 Nov 9am here.

Mistletone proudly presents three of America’s most cosmic and visionary artists, joining forces for an incandescent collaboration. Mystic performer and visual artist Lonnie Holley and prophetic jazz poet Moor Mother both perform with revolutionary free-jazz ensemble Irreversible Entanglements, who will also share new material from their Impulse! Records debut, ‘Protect Your Light’.

Lonnie Holley and Moor Mother will bring their collaborative chemistry together as well as performing their own, universally acclaimed recent releases — Lonnie Holley’s “Oh Me Oh My”, which was named Best New Music on Pitchfork, and Moor Mother’s “Jazz Codes”, which The Guardian hailed as “a stunning continuum of Black music”.

The interwoven energies of the three artists add up to a magical, life-affirming brew of cosmic jazz, Afrofuturist poetry, folk, blues and uplifting anthems of resistance and triumph.

Lonnie Holley has held a cult status among the art cognoscenti for a long time as a visual artist and performer’ – NEW YORK TIMES

‘Moor Mother dubs her approach “Black quantum futurism”, exploring sound’s potential to evoke memories as a vehicle for navigating time.… whatever its form, Ayewa lives and breathes it’ – THE GUARDIAN ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One of the most emotionally affecting delineations and reimaginings of resistant Black art you’re likely to hear. Essential listening’ – THE WIRE x IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS

For those who are yet to be acquainted with the creative chemistry and sonic provocations of poet, musician and activist Moor Mother, visual artist and musician Lonnie Holly and jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements, a spellbinding inauguration into their rapturous sound world awaits. Moor Mother’s poetic lyrics and experimental electronica interlaces harmoniously with Lonnie Holley’s rousing compositions and is complemented by the musical stylings of free-jazz radicals and Irreversible Entanglements. Discover Lonnie Holly and Moor Mother’s sound world here.

October 20, 2023


artwork by Karly Hartzman


THURSDAY FEBRUARY 29: SYDNEY @ THE FACTORY THEATRE with MJ LENDERMAN. Tickets on sale here. * all ages show!
WEDNESDAY MARCH 6: BRUNSWICK MUSIC FESTIVAL @ Estonian House with special guests Delivery. Tickets on sale now.
SATURDAY MARCH 9: GOLDEN PLAINS FESTIVAL, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre. 

Wednesday is a band from North Carolina led by Karly Hartzman (guitar/vocals), with MJ Lenderman (guitar), Xandy Chelmis (lap/pedal steel), Ethan Baechtold (bass) and Alan Miller (drums). Hartzman writes most of her songs from her bedroom floor in Asheville, North Carolina.

Nodding to ‘90s skuzz, shoegaze, and country, the music is gauzy and heady, a gnarled wall of sound where Hartzman’s aching voice and vivid storytelling cut through the din. Hartzman is a story collector as much as she is a storyteller; the newest and best Wednesday record, Rat Saw God, is autobiographical and above all, deeply empathetic.

The band has long revered country lyricism, and the distorted lap steel innovations Chelmis unleashes are an ode to the genre; to the music and imagery of the American south, the sprawl of the forests, a black bear darting through the yard during a barbecue with friends, a muggy summer and the impossible darkness only lit by lightning bugs when it’s real late at night.

To cite Aunty Meredith: “Rat Saw God layers all those beloved Wednesday pieces into something truly sublime. That twangy underbelly uplit by a wash of countrygaze and bright-eyed melodies. A stamp collection of ragged outsider anthems built around the small town vignettes of Karly Hartzman, whose gothic world-building conjures resplendently bleak southeastern vistas dotted with Dollar Tree discount stores, never-ending nosebleeds and cough syrup black-outs.”

A Wednesday song is a quilt. A short story collection, a half-memory, a patchwork of portraits of the American south, disparate moments that somehow make sense as a whole. Karly Hartzman is a story collector as much as she is a storyteller: a scholar of people and one-liners.

Rat Saw God, the Asheville quintet’s new and best record, is autobiographical and above all, deeply empathetic. Half-funny, half-tragic dispatches from North Carolina, Rabout riding a bike down a suburban stretch in Greensboro while listening to My Bloody Valentine for the first time on an iPod Nano, past a creek that runs through the neighborhood riddled with broken glass bottles and condoms, a front yard filled with broken and rusted car parts, a lonely and dilapidated house reclaimed by kudzu. Four Lokos and rodeo clowns and a kid who burns down a corn field. Roadside monuments, church marquees, poppers and vodka in a plastic water bottle, the shit you get away with at Jewish summer camp, strange sentimental family heirlooms at the thrift stores. The way the South hums alive all night in the summers and into fall, the sound of high school football games, the halo effect from the lights polluting the darkness. It’s not really bright enough to see in front of you, but in that stretch of inky void – somehow – you see everything.

Previous album Twin Plagues was a breakthrough release critically for Wednesday, and a creative and personal breakthrough for Hartzman. The lauded record charts feeling really fucked up, trauma, dropping acid. It had Hartzman thinking about the listener, about her mum hearing those songs, about how it feels to really spill your guts. And in the end, it felt okay. “I really jumped that hurdle with Twin Plagues where I was not worrying at all really about being vulnerable – I was finally comfortable with it, and I really wanna stay in that zone.

“Hot Rotten Grass Smell,” happens in a flash: an explosive and wailing wall-of-sound dissonance that’d sound at home on any ‘90s shoegaze album, then peters out into a chirping chorus of peepers, a nighttime sound. And then into the previously-released eight-and-half-minute sprawling, heavy single, “Bull Believer.” Other tracks, like the creeping “What’s So Funny” or “Turkey Vultures,” interrogate Hartzman’s interiority – intimate portraits of coping, of helplessness.

“Chosen to Deserve” is a true-blue love song complete with ripping guitar riffs, skewing classic country. “Bath County” recounts a trip Hartzman and her partner took to Dollywood, and time spent in the actual Bath County, Virginia, where she wrote the song while visiting, sitting on a front porch. And “TV in the Gas Pump” is a proper traveling road song, written from one long ongoing iPhone note Hartzman kept while in the van.

The reference-heavy stand-out “Quarry” is maybe the most obvious example of the way Hartzman seamlessly weaves together all these throughlines. It draws from imagery in Lynda Barry’s Cruddy; a collection of stories from Hartzman’s family (her dad burned down that cornfield); her current neighbors; and the West Virginia street from where her grandma lived, right next to a rock quarry, where the explosions would occasionally rock the neighborhood and everyone would just go on as normal. 

Wednesday’s songs don’t recount epics, just the everyday. They’re true, they’re real life, blurry and chaotic and strange – which is in-line with Hartzman’s own ethos: “Everyone’s story is worthy,” she says, plainly. “Literally every life story is worth writing down, because people are so fascinating.

But the thing about Rat Saw God – and about any Wednesday song, really – is you don’t necessarily even need all the references to get it, the weirdly specific elation of a song that really hits. Yeah, it’s all in the details – how fucked up you got or get, how you break a heart, how you fall in love, how you make yourself and others feel seen – but it’s mostly the way those tiny moments add up into a song or album or a person.

October 20, 2023

MJ Lenderman & the Wind


THURSDAY FEBRUARY 29: SYDNEY @ THE FACTORY THEATRE with WEDNESDAY. Tickets on sale here. * all ages show!
TUE MAR 5 – MELBOURNE: BRUNSWICK MUSIC FESTIVAL @ HOWLER with Quality Used Cars. Tickets on sale here.
SUNDAY MARCH 11: GOLDEN PLAINS FESTIVAL, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre.

MJ Lenderman and his band hail from Asheville, North Carolina and are renowned for their righteously ragged live sets. MJ Lenderman’s latest single “Knockin” is a lightning-in-a-bottle distillation of what makes him one of the most captivating songwriters in recent memory, aptly described by Brooklyn Vegan as a “rollicking fusion of country and rock, twangy and heavy at once”.

A tangle of warped pedal steel and scuzzed out guitar; a voice reminiscent of the high-lonesome warble of a choirboy; the keen observations and reflections of a front stoop philosopher. MJ Lenderman’s songs snake their way from a lo-fi home recording to something glossier made with longtime friends at a hometown studio, but the recording setting doesn’t seem to matter much – at its core, a Lenderman song rings true.

His music spans stories about everything from a relationship disintegrating outside the high-end butcher shop to a love song built around a t-shirt kiosk at the airport, or the malaise of a grill rusting in the rain. Lenderman stories are delivered with a loping, easy vibe – a shrug of the shoulders, off-the-cuff fuzzy riffs and rock ‘n’ roll distortion culminating in alt-country cacophony.

October 17, 2023

WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc)

Mistletone is honoured to present Zamrock legends WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc), making their glorious Australian debut.

. Tickets on sale here.
THURSDAY MARCH 7: MELBOURNE – BRUNSWICK MUSIC FESTIVAL @ Estonian House with special guests Squid Nebula. Tickets on sale here.
SATURDAY MARCH 9: GOLDEN PLAINS FESTIVAL, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre. 
SUNDAY MARCH 10 + MONDAY MARCH 11 @ WOMADELAIDE, Botanic Park / Tainmuntilla. Tickets on sale here.

WITCH is back, and the magic of its wild Zambian funk-rock, ‘Zamrock,’ is intact” – CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Once upon a time, WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc) ruled Zambia. Dubbed ‘the Beatles of Zambia’ in the 1970s for their immense popularity, the band responsible for pioneering ‘Zamrock’ — a riotous rock’n’roll sound infused with heavy African percussion — often needed police to control the crowds riled up by lead singer, Jagari (whose name is an Africanisation of Mick Jagger’s).

As the AIDS crisis destroyed the country’s flourishing music scene, WITCH fell apart. The iconic ensemble is survived by Jagari, who, after decades in obscurity, was brought back into the public eye following a discography reissue by Now Again Records. Since 2017, the frontman has been returning WITCH to the stage and reviving and re-invigorating Zamrock with a new lineup that is international and inter-generational., . The brilliant new WITCH album ‘Zango’ — which perfectly soundtracked this and all summers — was their first in nearly four decades.

Spearheaded by WITCH, Zamrock fuses influences from the Rolling Stones to Black Sabbath and James Brown, mixing them with traditional African rhythms and bush village songs.

Jagari is the charismatic sole surviving original member of the band. When things fell apart, Jagari retreated to a life of quasi-anonymity as a university music professor, before being wrongfully arrested during Zambia’s toughest hour. He spent much of his 60s mining gemstones, hoping to strike it rich, with the band being just a nostalgic memory of his youth; until WITCH finally got the exposure they deserved in the 2010s.

The most incredible thing about the mighty WITCH is that the story isn’t over yet. To recap the story’s beginnings in the 1960s; As idolisers of British and American rock stars, Jagari and his friends clung to copies of Melody Maker, as the sounds of British radio permeated cities like Lusaka. By the mid-’70s, they were at the centre of an explosive scene performing their own brand of riotous rock-and-roll music, infused with percussive African rhythms and a world-is-ours mentality. WITCH became infamous for their seven-hour live shows and incendiary on-stage antics. The band fizzled out in 1977, and had a brief disco-inspired metamorphosis in the ‘80s, but by the mid-decade, that too was in decline. And Zamrock —still an obscurity in the West —was already but a figment of the past.

The unexpected revival came in 2011, when Now-Again Records reissued a career-spanning collection of WITCH’s music. It would be the first time their work was widely available outside of the band’s native Zambia —though, sadly, by this point, most of the original line-up had died from AIDS and other illnesses.

Crate-diggers and connoisseurs went wild, inspiring filmmaker and fan Gio Arlotta (today the band’s manager) to journey into Africa to find the original band’s last surviving member. Gio’s subsequent film, titled ‘WITCH: We Intend To Cause Havoc’, was released in 2019 —it documents the reincarnation of the band with a new line-up ahead of their first-ever live shows in Europe and America.

With great acclaim received from international festivals and cinema audiences, and with the new WITCH fulfilling Jagari’s long-harboured dream of performing to fans all over the world, this Zamrock legend finally confirmed its place in rock’s history books.

That could have been the end of the story — but, incredibly, there’s now a new chapter. Empowered and inspired by the rapture at shows in London, Los Angeles and Lusaka — and festivals like SXSW, Desert Daze and Green Man — WITCH veterans Jagari and Patrick, both now in their musical prime in their ‘70s, returned to the studio in 2021 with an international consortium of players from the new live band. The album ‘Zango’ tells the story of the band’s phoenix-like rebirth into its current supergroup-like state —and the spell of Zamrock has lost no power despite its years of dormancy.

In a move that mirrors Jagari’s guest appearance on her new album ‘As Above, So Below’, Zambian rapper Sampa The Great provides vocals on the sensational ‘Avalanche of Love’. Keith Kabwe, former bandleader and vocalist of Amanaz — another beloved band of the era — is another notable guest. In that sense, ‘Zango’ sees WITCH come full circle —offering an inter-generational meeting between some of the most important Zambian musical artists past and present.

Album closer ‘Message from WITCH’ sees the band come full circle in another way. The song is effectively a sequel to the self-titled opening track of the band’s first album ‘Introduction’ —which introduced listeners to bassist “Giddy King” Mulenga, drummer “Star MacBoyd” Sinkala, keys player Paul “Jones” Mumba, lead guitarist Chris “Kims” Mbewe, and rhythm guitarist John “Music” Muma in 1972. This 2023 sequel now speaks of erasing homophobia, shattering anti-semitism and conquering xenophobia. Zamrock resurrected.

“You feel a huge responsibility with the weight of this musical history on your shoulders,” Jacco concludes. “I mean, it’s a WITCH record –it’s a huge honour to be able to do this project and actually be a part of the creative process in Zambia with local musicians. It’s something we feel enormously grateful for and inspired by.”

Of course, it is this melting pot of ideas, experiences and musical tastes that really makes this album so rewarding on the whole. “We tried to accept everyone’s ideas, to pool them together, experiment, and see what happens,” says Jagari. “The new players have their own taste, their own feel, and their own experience to match with the old-school Zamrock. The result is what you hear on Zango.

“And that’s where the album’s title comes from — Zango means ‘meeting place’,” Jagari explains. “Every village [in Zambia] will have this central place, where villagers meet to prepare for work, where youngsters go to learn, where the young ones learn from the elder folks, and where the visitors come and converge. It’s an institution, a place where people are welcomed, and where people come for research. It speaks to our band and its various backgrounds and countries. We are at our own meeting point with our music.”

More than just an apt descriptor for the album itself, Zango confirms WITCH’s rejuvenation and triumphant re-emergence. As Jagari says himself on the album’s closing track, it’s “like the story of the phoenix, the bird from the ashes“: Zamrock has resurrected from its decades-long slumber.

October 9, 2023

Mary Lattimore

Mistletone is elated to present the return of sublime harpist and composer, Mary Lattimore, touring as a duo with guitarist Paul Sukeena.


WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 6: BRISBANE POWERHOUSE with special guest Paul Sukeena. Tickets on sale here.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 7: THEATRE ROYAL CASTLEMAINE with special guests Paul Sukeena (USA) + Andrew Tuttle (Meanjin). Tickets on sale here.

Mary Lattimore bathes her spectacular Lyon and Healy concert grand in an electronic glow through effects pedals, loops and synths. Accompanied by guitarist Paul Sukeena, Mary Lattimore blesses Australian stages with her dreamlike compositions and her new album Goodbye, Hotel Arkada, which features Lol Tolhurst (The Cure), Meg Baird and Rachel Goswell (Slowdive).

Mary shared, “When I think of these songs, I think about fading flowers in vases, melted candles, getting older, being on tour and having things change while you’re away, not realising how ephemeral experiences are until they don’t happen anymore, fear for a planet we’re losing because of greed, an ode to art and music that’s really shaped your life that can transport you back in time, longing to maintain sensitivity and to not sink into hollow despondency.”

Through evocative, emotionally resonant music, Goodbye, Hotel Arkada speaks not just for its beloved namesake — a hotel in Croatia facing renovation — but for a universal loss that is shared. It’s shaped by change; nothing will ever be the same, and here, the artist, evolving in synthesis, celebrates and mourns the tragedy and beauty of the ephemeral, all that is lived and lost to time.

Documented and edited in uncharacteristically measured sessions over the course of two years, the material remains rooted in improvisation while glistening as the most refined and robust in Mary Lattimore’s decade-long catalogue. It finds her communing with friends, contemporaries, and longtime influences, in full stride yet slowing down to nurture songs in new ways.

Memories, scenes, and split-second impressions have long filled Mary’s musical universe. As one of today’s preeminent instrumental storytellers, she has “the uncanny ability to pluck a string in a way that will instantly make someone remember the taste of their fifth birthday cake” (Pitchfork).

Mary’s impulse to record life as it happens matches her drive to travel and perform, as profiled by The New York Times: “Lattimore recognized that being in motion shook loose strands of inspiration, moods she wanted to express with melody. She needed, then, to remain on the go.” That sense of fluidity has also made her a prolific collaborator outside of solo work. 2020’s Silver Ladders, recorded with Slowdive’s Neil Halstead, opened the door for Mary to widen the vision of her primary project as well.

“All of these people I asked to contribute have deeply affected and inspired my life,” she affirms.

October 3, 2023



THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15: PERTH FESTIVAL. Tickets on sale here.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17: GEELONG @ TENT POLE. Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone proudly presents Scottish post-rock monarchs Mogwai, bringing their epic live show back to Australia for the first time in six years. Unleashing their colossal sound in all its beauty and fury, the tour will feature Mogwai’s UK 2021 number one record As The Love Continues, as well as classic Mogwai tracks from their innovative career.

One of the best loved and most ground-breaking post-rock bands of the past three decades, Mogwai’s psychedelic adventures on the furthest frontiers of noise have earned them a reputation as vast as their thunderous music. Though they may be placed in the “file under post rock” corner, As The Love Continues shows that they get broader and broader in their vision.

Like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey, Mogwai remain a band whose favourite album continues to be their latest one. Ten records in and still no disappointments or mistaken creative left turns.

You may know what to expect from Mogwai, but you will never get the same. Mogwai are still offering solace from the mundane. They remain a transcendent soundtrack to whatever movie you are making in your head.

The band has also created many acclaimed films and television soundtracks, most recently the Apple TV+ show Black Bird. Mogwai founder Stuart Braithwaite recently published his acclaimed autobiography, Spaceships Over Glasgow: Mogwai and Misspent Youth.

As Braithwaite recalls: “We heard the first Arab Strap album and thought, ‘fucking hell we can’t mess about’” and 25 years later, Mogwai still aren’t messing about. 

Everything stays and everything passes, but our fate is to pass. The Mogwai way is to stay. As the title of one of their albums said, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will – where it says “Hardcore”, read “Mogwai”.

The Mogwai formula (surfing a wave of instrumental intensity, not to go into too much detail) not only holds out, but still causes small earthquakes: their latest album, As The Love Continues reached number one in the British charts to everyone’s surprise, including theirs. Because although the Scots have modulated their proposal towards (ahem) pop, whilst avoiding falling into the noise for the sake of noise trap (now there are also voices, synthesizers, harmonic games on the menu…) they have not now, suddenly, become radio friendly.

Quite simply, the rock sphere has spun, spun and spun and, in the end, it has come to the realisation that Mogwai were not just on the axis, they were the axis.

June 26, 2023

Lonnie Holley + Mourning [A] BLKstar

artwork by Carl Breitkreuz


MELBOURNE: SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23 @ MAX WATT’S, with special guest LEE BAINS (USA). Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone and Triple R proudly present the return of cosmic American musical and visual artist, Lonnie Holley, performing in a massive ensemble with Mourning [A] BLKstar, a multi-generational Black Culture collective who bring an emancipatory, rejoicing jazz / gospel choir energy to Lonnie’s mystic, soulful songs. Stirring in one moment and a balm the next, Lonnie Holley is a magical performer who weaves jazz, poetry, folk, blues and hard-won wisdom into a visionary sonic tapestry of pure joyousness.

Recent RRR Album of the WeekLonnie Holley’s new release Oh Me Oh My was produced by Jacknife Lee (The Cure, REM, Modest Mouse) with collaborators Michael Stipe, Sharon Van Etten, Moor Mother and Bon Iver serving as choirs of angels for Lonnie’s message: Thumbs Up For Mother Universe. That’s also the title of a new documentary film about Lonnie’s life and work, a story of survival, endurance and triumph which has much to say about race, social class and culture in the American South.

Oh Me Oh My was named Best New Music on Pitchfork and has won universal acclaim. Both elegant and ferocious, stirring in one moment and a balm the next, Lonnie Holley is a magical performer who weaves jazz, poetry, folk, blues and hard-won wisdom into a visionary sonic tapestry of pure joyousness. 

  • “At 73, the outsider artist has made his most ambitious and approachable album: an extraordinary aural memoir that tells a cosmic story of survival” – PITCHFORK – 8.5 BEST NEW MUSIC
  • “Holley has an almost shamanistic quality, as if he possessed all the wisdom of the universe” – THE NEW YORKER
  • “For Lonnie Holley, every performance is a spontaneous creation. Arriving late to fame, the Alabama-born artist has an almost childlike ability to make a song out of anything he imagines, like a freestyling MC crossed with a jazz improviser. Fusing on-the-spot poetry and cascading piano, he plunges us into deep pools of memory – his own and that of his ancestors in the American south – in order to emerge spiritually recharged” – THE GUARDIAN, 30 ARTISTS TO SEE LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE

Lonnie Holley‘s masterpiece to date, Oh Me Oh My, details histories both global and personal. Lonnie Holley’s harrowing youth and young manhood in the Jim Crow South are well-told at this point — his sale into a different home as a child for just a bottle of whiskey; his abuse at the infamous Mount Meigs correctional facility for boys; the destruction of his art environment by the Birmingham airport expansion. But Holley’s music is less a performance of pain endured and more a display of perseverance, of relentless hope. Intricately and lovingly produced by LA’s Jacknife Lee (The Cure, REM, Modest Mouse), there is both kinetic, shortwave funk that call to mind Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and the deep space satellite sounds of Eno’s ambient works. But it’s a tremendous achievement in sonics all its own. 

It’s also an achievement in the refinement of Holley’s impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. On the title track, which deals with “mutual human understanding”, Holley is able to make a profound point as ever in far fewer phrases: “The deeper we go, the more chances there are, for us to understand the oh-me’s and understand the oh-my’s.” Illustrious collaborators like Michael Stipe, Sharon Van Etten, Moor Mother and Bon Iver are proof of Lonnie Holley as a galvanizing, iconoclastic force across the music community.

click below to watch/share the video for “Kindness Will Follow Your Tears (feat. Bon Iver)”, which depicts Lonnie’s wondrous visual art creative process;

Lonnie Holley was born on February 10, 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama. From the age of five, Holley worked various jobs: picking up trash at a drive-in movie theatre, washing dishes, and cooking. He lived in a whiskey house, on the state fairgrounds, and in several foster homes. His early life was chaotic and Holley was never afforded the pleasure of a real childhood.

Since 1979, Holley has devoted his life to the practice of improvisational creativity. His art and music, born out of struggle, hardship, but perhaps more importantly, out of furious curiosity and biological necessity, has manifested itself in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and sound. Holley’s sculptures are constructed from found materials in the oldest tradition of African American sculpture. Objects, already imbued with cultural and artistic metaphor, are combined into narrative sculptures that commemorate places, people, and events. Lonnie Holley’s music and art distil a lifetime of struggle into a triumphant display of perseverance, of relentless hope, of Lonnie’s mantra, ‘Thumbs Up For Mother Universe’. As a visual artist, work is now in collections of major museums throughout the world, including  The Met, The Smithsonian, and Art Gallery of NSW.  His work is on permanent display in the United Nations, and has been displayed in the White House Rose Garden. Lonnie’s work features prominently in the 2023 exhibition, Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He has also experimented with film, photography, and video throughout his career. His directorial debut, the short narrative film I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The 2023 podcast, Unreformed: The Story of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children, follows the history of the infamous reform school in Alabama (which many refer to as a “slave camp for kids”) and profiles Holley’s early life and the struggles he and so many others suffered at the hands of the state of Alabama. 

In 2022, Lonnie Holley was named a USA Artist Fellow. His visual art is represented by Blum & Poe Gallery (Los Angeles) and Edel Assanti Gallery (London). He continues to make art and music from his home and studio in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lonnie’s sublime music includes stream-of-consciousness lyrics delivered in his deeply expressive, world-worn yet beautiful voice. His debut album, 2012’s Just Before Music, was his first studio recording, following several years’ worth of home recordings unheard by the general public. Following its release, Holley began touring with musicians such as Bill CallahanDeerhunter and Animal Collective, in addition to making more collaborative studio albums, including 2018’s politically charged MITH and 2021’s Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection, with Matthew E. White

To quote a review from Lonnie’s recent Big Ears Festival artist-in-residency performance:

“It was a joyous affair, filed with hard-won wisdom and alternate perspectives on race, social structures, and the odd bit of divinity. He was backed by genre-bending collective Mourning [A] Blkstar. More shaman than frontman, although he’d likely prefer to be called a preacher, Holley ‘s performance was a treatise on enlightenment through sound. He sang of hardship, revelation, and love — and he did so with a joy in his heart. That was evident from the moment he took the stage” – BEATS PER MINUTE

click below to watch/share the trailer for Thumbs Up For Mother Universe, thenew documentary film about Lonnie’s extraordinary life and work:

June 25, 2023

Mount Eerie + Black Belt Eagle Scout


THURSDAY OCTOBER 5 – SYDNEY: VOLUME FESTIVAL @ ART GALLERY OF NSW with Black Belt Eagle Scout. Tickets on sale here.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 6 – CASTLEMAINE: THEATRE ROYAL with Black Belt Eagle Scout. Tickets on sale here.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 7 – MELBOURNE: MAX WATTS with Hana Stretton (solo show). Tickets on sale here.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 8: BRISBANE POWERHOUSE with Lydian Dunbar (solo show). Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone proudly presents the return of Mount Eerie (Phil Elverum), touring Australia for the first time in five years, with performances to include “new songs from an in-progress album”. Mount Eerie will perform as a band for the first time ever in Australia, with Black Belt Eagle Scout as his backing band in Sydney & Castlemaine. Black Belt Eagle Scout, the band led by Swinomish/Iñupiaq singer-songwriter Katherine Paul, will also perform an opening set at both shows. Phil Elverum will also perform solo Mount Eerie shows in Melbourne and Brisbane. Tickets for all shows on sale now!

Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum is an artist and human being from the Pacific northwest town of Anacortes, Washington State. His recordings, released variously as The Microphones and Mount Eerie, represent just a portion of his artistic output, which has ranged from running a label to self-publishing books, photography, and painting. But it is for his stunningly original music that he is known best, from the earliest tape experiments of the ’90s to the immersive sound-diary of Microphones in 2020.

Phil Elverum has never shied from exploring the high mountain passes, finding new ways to sculpt with sound, and trying to communicate the momentary experience of being human as clearly as the water from freshly melted snows. As Phil explains, “It’s always just been autobiography. But mere memoir would be useless without penetrating beyond the surface of the reflecting pool, down to the bedrock stream bed, details washed downstream. I used to call my recordings a different name. A small clump of albums from 1997-2002 were called “the Microphones,” including some popular ones. But the essence of this project has never really changed: me exploring autobiographically in sound and words with occasional loose participation from friends. The name it has been called has never mattered much to me… We all crash through life prodded and diverted by our memories. There is a way through to disentanglement. Burn your old notebooks and jump through the smoke. Use the ashes to make a new thing.”

The old smell of air

coming faintly through the spring

crack in the snow above a hibernating bear’s winter den,

the smell of long self-absorption,

burrowing into one’s own chest, re-breathing the exhales of one’s own breath,

the smell of squinting in the dark

ruminating in dreams

beneath layering years, the snow still falling.

In the dark smoldering

slowly burning through all the old clothes, sifting through the ash,

wiping old shedded fur from the eyes

nosing out into the light.

In that brief moment when the airs of the past and present meet,

at the mouth of the open bed,

egoic solidity burns away in the spring wind, self becomes fuel,

there is only now

and the past is a dream burning off.

Fragments arranged along the trail, crumbs consumed, dust blown,

no route back.

Instead of shoring up the tilting walls of whoever I think I am, I push at the seams and try to tip it all over. I do not want to be well known by my name or an image or an idea that might trail me around. I do want to know well, and to share insights, about the workings of time and weather growing and eroding this one life.

It’s always just been autobiography. But mere memoir would be useless without penetrating beyond the surface of the reflecting pool, down to the bedrock stream bed, details washed downstream.

I used to call my recordings a different name. A small clump of albums from 1997-2002 were called “the Microphones,” including some popular ones. But the essence of this project has never really changed: me exploring autobiographically in sound and words with occasional loose participation from friends. The name it has been called has never mattered much to me.

In the summer of 2019 I played a little local concert under the old name for no big reason. The little flurry of weird attention around this announcement got me thinking about what it even means to step back into an old mode. Self commemoration would be embarrassing. I don’t want to go backwards ever. There is nothing to reunite. So I nudged into the future with these ideas and came up with this large song. It took almost a year to write and record, working constantly at home, digging through the archives, playing the same two chords forever on the same $5 first guitar. In it I have tried to get at the heart of what defined that time in my life, my late teens and early twenties, but even more importantly, I tried to break the spell of nostalgia and make something perennial and enduring. All past selves existing at once in this inferno present moment. The song doesn’t seem to end. That’s the point.

We all crash through life prodded and diverted by our memories. There is a way through to disentanglement. Burn your old notebooks and jump through the smoke. Use the ashes to make a new thing.

– Phil Elverum

For Black Belt Eagle Scout’s Katherine Paul, the land runs through her blood. And it called to her. In dreams she saw the river, her ancestors, and her home. When the land calls, you listen. And KP found herself far from her ancestral lands during a time of collective trauma, when the world was wounded and in need of healing.

There is a throughline of story in every song, a remembrance of knowledge and teachings, a gratitude of wisdom passed down and carried. When you stand on ancestral lands it is impossible to be alone. You feel the arms and hands that hold you up, unwilling to let you fall into sorrow or abandonment.

In her songs Katherine Paul has channeled that feeling of being held. In every note she has written a love letter to indigenous strength and healing. To quote She Shreds Magazine: “If you can imagine all of the best things that the Pacific Northwest has brought us—Mount Eerie, Grunge, Sleater-Kinney, The Girls Rock Camp, and lush mountain ranges—reimagined and told through the perspective of an Indigenous Swinomish/Iñupiaq woman; if you can imagine the magic that would bring to your life, then you can imagine Black Belt Eagle Scout.

June 25, 2023


artwork by George Gillies


FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 – MELBOURNE: THE CURTIN with special guests YL Hooi + DJ Noise In My Head. Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone proudly presents the first Australian tour by travelling Pan-Asian musical family, TENGGER 텐거/天郷.

From their home base in Seoul, with regular pilgrimages to their studio in the highlands, TENGGER — itta, Marqido, and RAAI — create psychedelic new-age kosmische drone magic with harmonium, voice, and toy instruments (played by itta) and analogue synths (played by Marqido), with interpretative dancing by RAAI which brings a cosmic, life-affirming sense of wonder to this family’s magical performances.

TENGGER‘s tour coincides with their self-titled 13th album, to be released by We Are Busy Bodies on September 29th. The album represents an opportunity for the globetrotting family trio to explore their origins, and finds TENGGER accepting the mood of the world, using the motion of wind and waves as sonic inspiration. TENGGER’s interest in cosmology is reflected in their mystical outlook and lyrical approach.  In their words: “the album’s sound starts from the breaking dawn, and circulates around until it reaches the night sky and the milky way.

Opening single “PANAPTU” offers a reverent respect to “the earth and the sky“, the band write. “The sun, the rain, and the things that grow on the ground make up our bodies and soul. Both can be compared to a mirror. Humanity (on the earth) looks up at the sky; the sky looks at us Illuminate each other and influence each other. Change is happening every moment.” “PANAPTU” refers to a traditional Tungusic Shamanic metal mirror, and also their ancient observatory. PANA translates to “shadow of the soul”, and PTU to “bowl to hold the shadow”. The relationship between the PANA and PTU is like that between a lamp or starlight, and a mirror. 

(lyrics and English translation)

무엇인가를 찾고 있다면 if you are looking for something

무언가 역시 우리를 찾고 something is also looking for us

서로를 비추는 Illuminate each other

Music designed to induce enlightenment”– THE FADER
“Clear and bright, fed by the deep wells of feeling TENGGER have drawn from the natural world” – PITCHFORK
“From field recordings to krautrock to something they call ‘aural hang-gliding’, TENGGER have truly put their stamp on psychedelic music” – UNCUT
“Like stepping through a glowing portal and gasping at the wonders of another world” – STEREOGUM

Starting out as a duo with the moniker “10”, they adopted the name TENGGER when RAAI was born in 2012, to mark the expansion of the family. TENGGER means ‘unlimited expanse of sky’ in Mongolian, and also means ‘huge sea’ in Hungarian. Travel, as spiritual experience in real environments, and the sound between the space and the audience, has been a central theme of TENGGER’s works. The family’s yearly pilgrimages inform every aspect of their art. 

Having won global critical acclaim for their previous albums and appearing at international festivals such as Le Guess Who? curated by Moon Duo, TENGGER were scheduled to showcase at SXSW 2020. When the pandemic forced SXSW to cancel, Itta and RAII returned to Seoul and Marqido travelled to his homeland Japan, when sudden border restrictions between Japan and Korea forced his separation from Itta and RAAI for seven months. As The Wire magazine reported,

For young Raai the separation was particularly tough. “He was crying every night,” recalls Itta. “We talked every night by video link, but Raai wanted to hug his father. These days he’s working hard to express his emotions about this situation – actually he started composing when he was six – so he’s writing lyrics and melodies about what he wants to do. For example, he wants to watch the beautiful ocean with his father and mother.” RAII’s compositions resulted in his debut EP, which was released for his 9th birthday (!), listen here / read an article about RAII and TENGGER in the Korea Times.

For most of the year Marqido remained stuck on the large island of Shikoku in southern Japan. Shikoku is famous for pilgrimages around its 88 Buddhist temples. TENGGER have done this pilgrimage multiple times, and restored a rural house on the pilgrims’ route for artist residencies. Originally named Kumakogen (meaning far in the highlands), TENGGER rechristened it Studio Kyurt (a blend of Kumakogen and yurt).

Last year, TENGGER’s 7th studio album Earthing was released via Melbourne label Ramble Records. “Staying at Studio Kyurt, walking nearby, climbing mountains, gazing at waterfalls, or reaching the ocean, we observed a lot of things. And then we could receive the message from nature, There is nothing divided and we are connected all in the life circulation. and we could make it into this album in nature. Paying respect to “Now”, the time of living with sharing the message with you all audiences through music”, the family shared.

무엇인가를 찾고 있다면 if you are looking for something
무언가 역시 우리를 찾고 something is also looking for us

서로를 비추는 Illuminate each other

(* “PANAPTU” means Tungusic Shamanic metal mirror, and also their ancient observatory.  “PANA means shadow of the soul, and PTU means bowl to hold the shadow. The relationship between the PANA and PTU is like that between a lamp or starlight and a mirror.” – from a book called “Shaman Empire”)