An Ode to Short Trips and Throw Pillows

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Welcome to the set, it’s yours. Paint it, frame it, set fire within it, practise your scales, paint your nails, and scream the lyrics to Billie Jean. Things will break, and you’ll make mistakes, but it doesn’t matter this is your set. Yours to shape, reconfigure and create. A place where your ideas will take a million forms. Your mind rest here, for thousands of hours and millions of minutes, while your bones ache from failed yoga attempts.

Welcome to my room. It’s had a colourful past that’s for certain, but there’s only so much you can do within four walls. This is a feeling that even new throw pillows can’t solve. A few weeks ago I had to flee. 700KMs, no less. To a nebulous of music, smoke and tragic beer. Here, a miraculous recovery was had, where my invisible sims bar turned green after being red for so long.

Small parts of you get lost when trapped in four walls, surrounded by the same faces. While new is not always better, it is definitely necessary.

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Critics Divided (Ed Sheeran): There’s Always Rain For The Parade

To the alt-gang, nobody loves an underdog more than me. But that doesn’t make the mainstream the enemy. Believe me, I know what it’s like to hear that new voice crash through the sound waves, pounding the speakers with the rhythm that with will be locked in your head for life. For me that happened when I heard the song The A Team.

At that point in time it didn’t have 213,287,392 views. In fact it was around the 100,000 mark. The song delicately recounted the story of a woman selling her body in exchange for cocaine. Soon after, Small Bump came to the fore, telling a friend’s account of what it is like to experience a miscarriage. Whilst these were the richest in content, the sonic layering of Give Me Love and Grade 8 are in my eyes still yet to be beaten. That was Ed’s first album.

We’ve now hit the third, and the verdict in: The boy is good, if not the best. He became the first artist to have every single track from an album enter the Top 20, he broke Spotify with more than 218M streams in four days, and scored the biggest one-week vinyl album sale in more than 20 years. Despite the acclaim, I do admit that this isn’t my favourite Ed Sheeran album. But! You have to give credit where it is due.

Today, Pitchfork was retweeted one too many times with caption ‘Ed Sheeran’s new album is awful’. Taking her fangs to the jugular, the writer labelled the album soulless and lacking in introspection. But unfortunately, Divide wasn’t the only thing under fire. She attacked Sheeran’s brand as a humble, innocent act, and instead crowned him generic and feeble in his pursuit of love. Before finally delivering the sucker punch, whittling down his entire body of work down to Bublé-esque wedding tunes (aka. basic bitch music).

After a year of peddling upbeat music reviews for zonked out teens with droning twangs, who for some bizarre reason are highly regarded in niche pockets, I find these reviews a little hard to take. Undermining artists for what appears to due to their success makes little to no sense. Absolutely, there are artists that are undeserving of the title. But choose your targets wisely, and with reason. Not because of spite and clickbait.

P.S. Dare you to play this at your wedding.

The Intersection of Politics and Music

This unlikely pairing has had an ongoing fling for centuries, with music often reflecting the lifestyle of its flamboyant partner, politics. So when in 2016 have the two had a rendezvous?

First cab off the rank is the Black Eyed Peas with their remake of their 2003 anthem Where Is The Love. The track itself is an ode to this absolute disaster of a year, commemorating the collapse of global affairs, whilst targeting gun violence.  The video features images from the Syrian war, the migrant crisis (including three-year-old Alan Kurdi on the beach) and Black Lives Matter protests. The most distressing part of the video is the appearances from Sandra Sterling, the aunt of Alton who was killed by police earlier this year, Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando who was controversially shot, and David O’Brown, the Dallas Police Chief.

Beyoncé’s Formation has also been dubbed a public declaration of her support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whilst there are no explicit ties to the organisation, powerful images within the video tell the whole story. The video shows a child dancing in front of a police riot and a wall spray painted with the words “stop shooting us”. Beyoncé also sinks a New Orleans police car.

Axis Of Awesome’s Jordan has recently come out publicly as transgender and gives some insight into her experience in their cover of Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Since Caitlin Jenner came onto the scene, transgender has become a topical subject on the media agenda. Finally a dialogue was brought to the fore and promoted a new strain of acceptance. This has been vital for lobbyist groups promoting puberty blockers, and to protecting the rights of transgender parents.

Macklemore’s Kevin highlights a lesser known epidemic in America, drug addiction. The rapper tells the tale of a young musician who lost his life under the influence of prescription medication. Many are focussed on gun violence, but in 2014 47,000 people were killed by overdoses – more than were killed by guns, or in traffic accidents. In a year where the news cycle has been dominated by trivial Trump quotes, songs like these are an important reminder that important political issues can be sidelined. Irrespective of a crises gravity.

The last and possibly the largest connection between politics and music in 2016 is Beyoncé’s  entire album, ‘Lemonade’, which was released conveniently in the same year as the US election. The concept album describes the inner torment of a jilted wife, whose husband has had sexual extra curricular activities. After working through the stages of depression and anger, the protagonist finds herself at the point of forgiveness, willing to uphold her wedding vows despite her partners indiscretions. Sound familiar? Oh yes, Hillary and Lewinsky a.k.a. Bey and Becky. One of the biggest stains on Clinton’s campaign was her decision to stay with Bill. People have perceived her as weak because of it. However, Beyoncé is a trendsetter, with many seeing her as one of the most powerful women in the world. If Bey stayed with Jay, then maybe people will stop judging Hillary for her choices.

BORN JOY DEAD DISS THE CORPORATE GRIND IN VIDEO “SOURDOUGH”

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Work seems to be a central theme of the 2016 music canvas, although when lead singer Ben Dalton croons “work work work”, he means it in a slightly different way to Rihanna. The track itself articulates the reality of most creative types, the formidable day job. It’s all about what you have to do to bring home the [sour]dough.

Set in an 80’s workplace, the band is decked out in paisley ties and slicked barnetts. With their ironed eyebrows and suits in tow, they take us through the do’s and don’ts of office life. Saying no to food fights, roller-chair races and indoor cricket in a series of role play scenarios, it highlights the truly beige nature of the corporate grind.

Despite being office rapscallions, the band has created a truly charming summery indie tune. Swirling guitars over an airy vocal melody kick off the track, giving way to Dalton’s vocals. It’s perfect for a trip to the beach; a place the band would much rather be by the sounds of it.

If you’re an indie fiend, or confused about how to behave in front of your colleagues, flick it a play!

Article can also be found at AAA Backstage.

 

America

America is a strange place to me, a completely foreign vessel. Having only been to New York, I can only base my views off popular culture and what I’ve seen on the news. It seems to be weirdly inspiring, defiant and corrupt as can be, fuelled by ambition and unparalleled patriotism. I’m so curious to see the rest of it, and thankfully I’ll be back there soon. So, here’s yet another travel themed playlist.

I’m actually addicted to making these.

THE OF THE SUN REVEAL NEW ALBUM, TITLE TRACK “TWO VINES”

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Empire Of The Sun is teasing us once again with the release of title track, Twin Vines from their upcoming album.

To be honest, we were a sceptical when Nick Littlemore described the album as an “image of a modern city overtaken by a jungle, almost like mother nature taking back the planet”. This was not something that we thought could be achieved sonically, and we’re not sure it is, but the track was definitely a pleasant surprise!

The band has kept to their promise of returning to their “roots”, having followed the winning formula of We Are The People from ‘Walking On A Dream’. Kicking off with an acoustic guitar, which is later joined by a pulsating rhythm that work in tandem to build to the the dynamic chorus. Despite the common pattern, Two Vines does stand alone sonically, and draws strong parallels to MGMT.

Back with a vengeance is the distinct nasally tones of Luke Steele. With the quaint sonic background, his commanding vocal presence is felt for the duration of the track.

When premiering the track on Triple J this morning, the pair likened themselves to “fishermen”.

“We go into the studio and throw out a line, sometimes we don’t catch anything and other times it’ll be a big haul of melodies and chords”.

Based off this logic, they have reeled in the Atlantic Salmon of singles. It’s tasty, and the perfect accompaniment to a beach getaway. If this is anything to go by, the album launch is something to pencil into the calendar.

The fifteen track album will feature many VIPs including Fleetwood Mac’s guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, Prince’s guitarist and vocalist Wendy Melvin, as well as pianist Henry Hey and bassist Tim Lefebvre, who were instrumental in the recording of David Bowie’s curtain call Blackstar. It is set to drop on 28 October!

Can also be found on AAA Backstage.

Tiaryn Will Turn Heads With Debut Single “Cement Love”

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Tiaryn has emerged from the heart of the Melbourne music scene with her debut single, Cement Love. Both empowering and vulnerable, she navigates through her inhibitions about modern day monogamy with her unique blend of electronic-pop.

Despite her jazz background, Tiaryn, as many of us have are, became captivated with the swells of arts, culture, and music in Melbourne. Diving in head first, she started sewing seeds in the underground by collaborating with numerous artists and bands. Drawing on these experiences, and her classical background, she is off to a flying start.

Cement Love is a peculiar blend of percussion, melodic chords, and sampled soundscapes. The sonic roller-coaster cruises through the surfy vibes of the verse, creates a sensation weightlessness during the airy, echoey bridges, and peaks at the chorus as all the elements come together.

However, it will be Tiaryn’s vocals that you remember. With elements of Tina Arena in her lower register, her spectacular higher range also stands firm, gliding over the acrobatic melody. The rumours are true, classical training pays off!

The songstress simultaneously delivers a vulnerable, yet empowering vocal as she comes to terms with the dynamics of contemporary relationships.

“As a child raised in a Christian family, I was brought up with a strong value for monogamy. This song came about from realising the limits of monogamy, and the desperation when certainty fades” said Tiaryn.

Her astonishing pop-sensibilities and soaring vocals make Tiaryn one to watch. If you’re around, be sure to check out her launch on September 17 in Melbourne!

 

FAN GIRL DROP HILARIOUS COFFEE-SMASHING VIDEO FOR “NOLITA”

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Fan Girl have emerged with the third video in the trilogy of ‘Let’s Kill Our Insides On-Screen’, with a classic Melbourne twist on DZ Deathrays’ music video for The Mess Up, and Dune Rats’ infamous Red Light Green Light music video. 

Much like DZ Deathrays, the lads pound shot after shot (except theirs are of the espresso variety) over the soundtrack of their new sonic circus, NoLita.

Sat in a local caffeine dwelling, the boys look ominously at one another before chugging back the first cappuccino. You wince as they scold their oesophagus’, and are handed their next obstacle, the latte. Eventually the gents hit the seizure inducing, rapid fire round, as the screen flashes violently.

This is when it becomes an instructional tape on “how to give up drinking hot milk products”, as the duo hit their limit and race out to the street to do the inevitable. Both sickening and compelling, the video is the perfect match to the Nescafè-blend intensity ofNoLita.

While the video is less extreme than its predecessors, the track itself wins the Gold medal as far as we’re concerned. Fans of Radiohead and The Beach will flock to this schizophrenic journey of mismatched hooks and lush harmonies. The song features a variety of sounds including circus organs, drums, and a guitar thunderstorm.

Despite the video’s humour, if you listen closely the lyrics strike a very different chord. Detailing feelings of desolation in an unfamiliar city, vocalist Noah Harris exposes his vulnerability in his search for familiarity by reaching out to an old friend.

Can also be found on AAA Backstage.