The Mac in Surry Hills and Thursday 11th sees local seven-piece, The Conscious Pilots, continuing their August residency; if ‘aviational jazz-hop’ is your bag, then these guys are definitely the only ones pedaling it so head on down – it’s free entry, so there’s almost no excuse not to check it out. At The Basement, virtuosic fusion guitarist Carl Orr is returning to the country for a rare performance, also on Thursday. Orr has made a career out of collaborations with the likes of Billy Cobham and Steely Dan, so the chops are sure to be flying. The wonderful Arabesk are in support. Friday 12th finds disco obsessive Donny Benet releasing his debut album Don’t Hold Back at GoodGod Small Club on Liverpool St in Sydney’s CBD. Kirin J Callinan and Collarbones are in support at the intimately hip venue. The inimitable 505 in Surry Hills has Sydney’s best reggae outfit, The Strides, doing their thing again. Ranging between an 8 and a 12-piece band, these guys never fail to bring the house down (the last one of these shows sold out, so get in quick!). The Gaelic Club in Surry Hills has Perth indie four piece The Panda Band on Saturday 13th as they continue their touring their fantastic gospel/psychedelic indie up and down the east coast – a list of impressive supports and a trail of warm accolades suggests these guys are worth a look. Also on Saturday, The Basement has Australia’s answer to David Bowie, rock legend Jeff Duff launching his new record Fragile Spaceman to much anticipation. Ever eclectic and eccentric, a Jeff Duff show is always good value. On Saturday at the Manning Bar in the University of Sydney grounds, Aussie legends Regurgitator are coming to town for their Annual Sail tour, with Disasteradio in support. Live appearances from the ‘Gurg are few and far between these days, so don’t miss out! Wednesday 17th finds the fabulous Bayou Band continue their August residency at The Mac. Featuring members of local world music favourites Declan Kelly and Watussi, the band are celebrating the music of New Orleans with a dedicated rhythm and blues revue – think The Meters, Dr. John, John Cleary, etc – entry is free of charge as usual. Also on Wednesday, and only a few footsteps away, Tone has a wonderful line-up of alternative singer-songwriters to warm your ears up in these last throes of Winter; they are Damian Enemark, Lena Wilson, Hot Spoke and Elle Kennard. At the Beach Road Hotel in Bondi on Friday 19th, a young electro-soul singer by the name of Fantine can be found strutting her stuff. Having featured with the Katalyst/Steve Spacek project Space Invadas, Fantine it definitely one to keep an eye on. On Saturday 20th, The Beautiful Girls’ front man, Mr. Mat McHugh is focusing on his solo show, with his current tour taking him to Oxford Art Factory in Paddington – the gorgeous Ashleigh Mannix is in support. Seekae, having returned from a successful U.K. tour, are back in town for a show at The Metro in Sydney’s CBD – get in quick for this innovative trio, they are liable to sell out a show or two. Also on Saturday, Melbourne wunderkind singer, songwriter and producer Gotye is showcasing his new album of soulful, sensitive and epic pop songwriting at Sydney Opera House. Back at The Basement, and local singer and saxophonist Nic Jeffries is playing on Sunday 21st. Jeffries has played for the likes of Renee Geyer and Jamie Oliver and is most definitely worth checking out in this intimate performance space.