THE youth have undoubtedly been the hardest hit by the financial and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August the Australian Bureau of Statistics released data showing unemployment was 16.3 per cent for those 29 or under, compared to 5.8 per cent for older workers.
Mission: Banana frontman Sam Ferfolja understands this first hand. After finishing year 12 last year at Warners Bay High, 2020 was supposed to be the year the 19-year-old's psych-rock four-piece amped up their touring and recording commitments.
Instead in March the COVID lockdown curtailed any gig opportunities and he soon lost his job at Taco Bell in Jesmond as business nosedived.
Ferfolja directed that upheaval into songwriting and the result was Dreaming, the blistering new single from Mission: Banana out on Friday.
"I was feeling frustrated obviously with the climate of the world, but also people had a lot of pressure on them," Ferfolja said. "I lost my job and I felt a lot of pressure and I didn't know how to react, so that was what came out with my words in the song."
Ferfolja teamed up with school friends Zane Fleming (drums) and Lachlan Johnson (bass) and Toronto's Sam Murphy (guitar) to form Mission: Banana in 2018.
Last year they released their first single Skin Beach, which has since attracted 78,000 streams on Spotify, and it was followed by their six-track EP Regal Way.
Dreaming signals a shift away from their sun-drenched and cruisy blend of psych-rock towards a heavier riff-based sound influenced by Queens Of The Stone, Royal Blood and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.
"As a band we've decided to go for more of a certain sound," he said. "It's what we wanna do, rather than leave it to fate.
"So we've been going for a heavier sound. Really focusing on the riffs."
Mission: Banana played just their second show since lockdown last Saturday when they supported Sydney band The Buoys at the Cambridge Hotel.
On December 13 Mission: Banana will play Sydney's Factory Theatre as part of their plan to branch out beyond Newcastle.
HUNTRESS IN PACKS
EVERYONE in the Hunter music scene knows Gleny Rae can put together a seriously good line-up.
And she's done it again with Huntress, a tribute to women in music that's coming to the Croatian Wickham Sports Club this Saturday and Sunday.
Back in October Huntress debuted at the Sky Ball and performed songs by Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, Suzi Quatro, Kate Bush and Helen Reddy. The show was so warmly-received Rae decided to keep the girl power flowing.
Huntress features Zoe K, Alice Williams, Helena Kitley (vocals), Ally Bowie (drums), Heather Price (bass), Emily Smith (guitar), Rae (fiddle, keys), Laura Sands (trumpet), Cassie Bofinger (saxophone) and the backing crew of Loretta Wells, Melissa Quinn and Shannen Masia.
Saturday's show kicks off at 8pm and Sunday starts at 1pm. Tickets are available at trybooking.com.
DAVE GO IT ALONE
NEWCASTLE rockers dave the band trekked to Chicago in 2018 to record their debut album Slob Storieswith Nirvana producer Steve Albini.
However, the follow-up will be a more DIY approach.
The three-piece are looking to self-produce their next record with the help of Romy Church, aka e4444e, the younger brother of dave frontman Noah.
The drum tracks for eight songs were recorded on Tuesday in the Church brothers' rehearsal space in the Hunter Street Mall.
"We're trying to do some recording ourselves just to see if they'll be good enough to use," Noah Church said.
Noah's confidence in the DIY approach has grown after Romy produced his debut solo album under the moniker Yev Kassem.
Joy Is A House Made Out Of Tears was released last Friday and sees Noah exploring a more reflective and tender side of his songwriting.
"I was definitely not trying to write off the top of my head, like I have in the past," Noah said. "The songs are less about me, me, me.
"I was reading lots of new things and taking inspiration from places that reflect who I am now, opposed to who I was a few years ago."
Yev Kassem will launch the album at The Edwards on January 10.
TORONTO singer-songwriter Aaron Jurd has made an immediate impact on the iTunes Country Charts, debuting at No.5 with his first EP Changed.
Anticipation for the six-track EP was fuelled by the release of the singles Set Me On Fire, Hard To Breathe, Changed, and If You Were Mine over the past two years.