Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
Meet your new favourite band.
They're called Four Lions, but there's actually five of 'em these days. And you'll find them rocking out in the central Victorian town of Bendigo, where there's long been gold in them thar hills.
They ply their trade in a potent brand of Americana that fuses roots, rock and alt-country. Think Wilco, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Neil Young and Crazy Horse. It's the classic music of small towns with only a couple of bitumen options whenever you want to get the hell outta Dodge.
Four Lions was formed in late 2014 by singer/guitarist/chief songwriter Shann Lions, who liked his new band so much that he named himself after them. He is completed by Keith MacQueen (lead guitar/vocals), Stephen Briggs (keyboards, Hammond), Bradley Bradford (bass), and Gavan Moncrieff (drums, percussion).
Three albums followed in quick succession - Charing Cross (2015), Vahland (2016), and Golden Triangle (2017), all released independently on the band's own label Verse Chorus Verse.
The band's fourth album, Hard Days, is due to drop on May 1 - and it's a bona fide cracker.
It was produced by The Greasy Triplets; recorded by Finn Keane (Wilco) at Head Gap Studios in Preston, Victoria; mixed by Sam Kassirer (David Ramirez. Josh Ritter) in Boston, Massachusetts; and mastered by Ludwing Diaz in San Francisco, California.
It was preceded in November 2018 by the digital-only single Cash Grab, which debuted to a rowdy packed house in the band's hometown (with their own brand of beer on tap!).
Hard Days will be accompanied by an Australian east coast tour in mid-2019, Four Lions' biggest live undertaking so far. All dates/venues will be announced in April.
The album's first two singles, How Much and Stay, will be released on February 1 and April 5, respectively, followed by the Victorian leg of the tour in March.
Four Lions will be working closely with Footstomp Music (You Am I, Ry Cooder), which will oversee the national promotion of the new album and its singles.
The band will also fly the flag for the local brigade at the inaugural four-day Bendigo Autumn Music festival, headlined by Kurt Vile and the Violators and kicking off on April 25.
Chinese astrology will tell you that 2019 is the year of the pig - but it's really going to be the Year of the (Four) Lion(s).
Make sure you're there so you can say "I saw them when ... "
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
A vehicle for his original songwriting, Keith MacQueen formed The Bridesmaid in 2010 and released his self-titled debut album, in which he played all instruments.
A second recording, Closer, was released digitally in 2011.
The Bridesmaid made their live debut in July 2014 after MacQueen was encouraged to take his music into a live setting.
Generally busy with other band involvements, MacQueen has only occasionally performed live under the guise of The Bridesmaid.
But a settled line-up in 2017 - comprising MacQueen, guitarist Anthony Murphy, bassist Jim Marshall and drummer Jarrod Hocking - has paved the way for more gigs in the coming year.
The Bridesmaid also plans to release a new EP in 2019.
Lever & Lions
Lever and Lions is a musical meeting-of-the-minds between Roy Lever (Blackthorn Stick) and Shann Lions (Four Lions), dubbed by the latter the best opening partnership since Lillee and Thomson.
The pair, both Bendigo boys, met after the beer company for which Lever then worked sponsored a video on the making of Four Lions' second album Vahland.
With geography, lengthy musical CVs, and many acquaintances in common, a Lever-Lions joint effort was a no-brainer.
Double A-side single New Year's Day (Lever)/New Year's Eve (Lions), produced by Lions, was released on January 1, 2018 (Verse Chorus Verse). It was followed by a short Victorian tour.
Lever and Lions are currently concentrating on their respective musical mainstays, but have not ruled out future collaborations.