Category Archives: New Music

Tash Sultana Already Does

Tash Sultana Already Does

Tash Sultana Already Does

Tash Sultana Already Does

One of the most common comments I hear while volunteering at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is “How come they don’t make music like that anymore?”

“That” being music like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, or some other dead band or musician of the 1960s.

I have two answers to that question.

  1. On a deeper level, we first experience music at a time and place in our lives that connects those musicians to us in a unique way. Since we can never experience that music again in the same way, it holds a landmark place in our personal history and life view.

As I say, that’s the deeper level answer.

2. On a simpler level, the answer is that “They” already make music like that, but are we are willing to set aside those personal landmarks for a moment?

Tash Sultana Already

Tiny Desk Concerts

NPR’s Tiny Desk series is a gold mine of new music. Host Bob Boilen [retired from NPR on October 2, 2023] described the show as one with “intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered….”

All Songs Considered is the key phrase. If we are searching for golden music, we must be willing to put in the time to pan through a lot of grit, get uncomfortable, and have patience.

Tash Sultana Already Does

Gold in the Cloud

Gold there is, though, in them there sound clouds.

Tiny Desk featured Sultana on April 7, 2017. I was simply surfing the show’s many offerings, but I stayed with her a bit to watch her build the song “Jungle.”

Here is the link to Sultana’s mesmerizing 25 minute 37 second Tiny Desk performance 

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve seen a single  musician use modern electronics to build sounds into a song. For some, such construction is cheating. The sounds are not “real.” Songs need several musicians, not one. To me, that thinking is weak since any electric music is manipulated sound. And acoustic musicians use all kinds of techniques to change acoustics.

Tash Sultana Already Does

Five days one million

In 2016, Sultana posted this video of herself performing/creating “Jungle” in her living room. It fools you because it looks like there is far too much music to come from just one person.

One cute part of the video is when her mom sticks her head around the hallway corner at 2:23.

In its first five days on YouTube, the video had one million views! As of April 2019?  Nearly 40 million views!!! 

Tash Sultana Already Does

Vein of gold

Tash Sultana Already Does

Tash Sultana associates with the musicians’ site  We don’t listen to music on the radio anymore. We stream music and Bandcamp is a streaming site.

Its difference is that it is also a platform for artist promotion,  particularly independent artists.  Artists can post their music for free and we can listen for free.

The idea is that if you like what you hear you can buy the music.  The idea apparently works since the site recently posted the following:

Fans have paid artists $1.25 billion using Bandcamp, and $194 million in the last year


Bandcamp describes Sultana as “…a roots reggae/folk inspired singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Victoria. Since having her hands wrapped around a guitar at the mere age of three, the self taught artist was only destined to expand over the coming years.

For me, it answers the question…

How Come They Don’t?

Because Tash Sultana does already. And she continues to have an energetic tour schedule to put it mildly!

She has released lots of music, her most recent being her Sugar EP in 2023.

Tash Sultana Already Does

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree

Wings of Desire

I’m not sure, but I think the first time I encountered the music of Nick Cave and Cave himself was in Wim Wender’s movie, Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin). I really liked the film and how Cave’s music enhanced the film’s eerie emotionally intense atmosphere.  Cave’s music, though not Cave, was also in Wings’ sequel Faraway, So Close.

Cave seemed to pop up regularly in my meandering musical journey, but I never stopped to listen very long. That was a mistake and I’m trying to catch up.

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016

Nick Cave

Out of ignorance, I thought Cave was either American or English and living in Germany.

He is Australian and surprisingly survived his tumultuous teens. Those years included excessive underage drinking, sexual assault (pulling down a school girl’s pants), the subsequent school expulsion, stripping in public for fun, and gangster obsession. His teens ended with the death of his father in a car crash. His mother told him of the death as she bailed him out of jail for burglary.

Cave has said that he has no memories of his father’s funeral, but remembers that “he died at a point in my life when I was most confused.” Cave later wrote that “the loss of my father created in my life a vacuum, a space in which my words began to float and collect and find their purpose.”

Cave Music

While still in school, Cave and some other students started a cover band called Concrete Vulture. As the name might imply, the covers were by artists such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Alice Cooper.

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016
Boys Next Door

Out of school and still in Australia, they changed the band’s name to The Boys Next Door. Their Cave-led performances successfully got them banned from venue after venue.

Birthday Party

The Boys Next Door made one album and went to London and became The Birthday Party. The stage act, often described as riotous with Cave yelling, howling, and jumping around the stage.

John Peel, a disc jockey, record producer,  and journalist announced their “Release the Bats” the best record of 1981 and success followed.

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016


In 1983 Birthday Party moved to Berlin where it dissolved and some pieces reformed as The Bad Seeds. Simon Reynolds has described Cave’s songwriting as  “the fullest, most hideously voluptuous flowering of the abject in rock.”

Life imitates Art

Cave’s career has careened through other arts such as the above mentioned acting as well as screen writer, author, playwright, and lecturer.

Cave and Viviane Carneiro had a son Luke. Cave had another son Jethro who lives with his mother in Australia.

Cave controlled his demons and found family life in Brighton, England and with his third wife Susie Bick had twins, Earl and Arthur.

On July 14, 2015 darkness descended on Cave. His son Arthur, 15, under the influence of LSD,  suffered a fatal brain injury after plunging onto the underpass of Ovingdean Gap in Brighton.

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016

Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016

Skeleton Tree  is Cave’s 16th album with the Bad Seeds. Arthur Cave’s death occurred during Skeleton Tree‘s writing and recording and sadness surrounds each song. Though the circumstances are somewhat different, I am reminded of David Bowie’s Blackstar.

Knowing what we know, it is a wonderfully difficult album to listen to. W.B. Yeat’s “terrible beauty.”

The album’s fifth song, “Anthrocene” expresses that horrible sadness best:

All the things we love, we love, we love, we lose
It’s our bodies that fall when they try to rise
And I hear you been looking out for something to love
Sit down beside me and I’ll name it for you
Behold, behold
The heaven bound sea
The wind cast its shadow and moves for the tree
Behold the animals and the birds and the sky entire
I hear you been out there looking for something to set on fire
The head bow children fall to their knees
Humbled in the age of the Anthrocene
Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016

Post Skeleton Tree

In May 2017, Mark Mordue interviewed Cave in the Guardian during his first tour since Arthur’s death. Mordue wrote, “he is…slowly attempting to come back into the world, step by step. I suspect it won’t be long before he is up and running at a terrifying pace; Cave possesses a momentum that can knock you over through sheer proximity alone. He tells me he is already writing new songs. “Not to answer Skeleton Tree,” he emphasises, “but to artistically complete the trilogy of albums we began with Push the Sky Away.” 

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree 2016