Music News

There are certain things that are synonymous with Summer…. sweaty armpits, sticky flies that have decided your mouth is THE place to be, refreshing G&T’s, sand in your bum-crack, and the list goes on….. For me, summer immediately invokes thoughts of spiked juice boxes, home made t shirts paired with compulsory dark glasses, and a finely tuned booty shake in miniscule patch of well-worn grass. In other words- it makes me think of music festivals.

These days there’s a musical festival to suit every taste- from the bush doofs such as Rainbow Serpent to the metal fests like Soundwave. There are music festivals that welcome kids, and those that attract lots of sniffer dogs. Amidst this smorgasbord of musical offerings sits a festival veteran…. the Big Day Out. Read More

There are many that herald dark days ahead for music. With an ever increasing ratio of label-produced disposable pop trash and music sold on the shock value of its artist’s on-and-off screen antics alone, it’s no wonder such predictions are rampant.

With the growing popularity of iTunes and other avenues of downloading music track by track (both legal and illegal), and the increasing use of streaming services such as Spotify, there is certainly little doubt that the way we consume music has changed forever. There are some that say albums as we know them will go the way of the dinosaurs  within a number of years. I for one would like to think that this will not be the case. For amidst the increasing barrage of one-hit wonders and musical wannabes we’ll struggle to remember in a few years time, there remains plenty of passionate entertainers- those not afraid to push the boundaries of musical creativity to produce their artistic visions. It is the albums produced by these “true” musicians that will stand the test of time, remaining akin to literary masterpieces… lyrical storybooks made to enjoy from cover to cover, embedding themselves into the veritable social ethos for their legions of fans. Read More

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I don’t consider myself a music snob, but I have to say that there’s something about commercial radio that always makes me feel like I’ve mixed my beers with my wine coolers. Considering the delicate balancing act between the station DJ’s ubiquitous brand of bum humor and fast food advertising, it’s amazing they have time to play music at all. Amazingly enough, the stuff they do play is on such high rotation that it isn’t uncommon to experience ear bleeds during extending listening sessions. With present day commercial stations broadening their genre selection, now frequently spinning tunes that were once indisputably indie only tracks, it is often with great sadness that I hear songs that I really like suddenly adopted on commercial radio, for I know it won’t be long until the mere opening notes of such songs will invoke a pain akin to childbirth for me. And don’t get me started on their Australian content….or lack of it, with many commercial stations struggling to even reach a 10% Oz music quota during their daily broadcasts…. pitiful!

It’s fortunate that there are so many alternatives to the tediousness of commercial radio these days. From supporting community radio to exploring the veritable smorgasbord of digital station offerings, there is no excuse for subjecting yourself to such repetitious mediocrity any longer.

Dig Music is a relative newcomer to the digital arena- kind of…. this ABC-owned digital radio station actually started out in 2002 and was for many years ABC Radios only continuous stream. In October 2013, it came under the management of youth radio station Triple J. As with the previous incarnations of this station, the musical stylings are aimed at what I would commonly call a more discerning audience of music lovers (aged 30+). In other words, it’s meant to appeal to the kids who tuned in to triple-j around the same time that Seattle became known for grunge music. In saying that, the station is currently in a beta stage of programming. What this means for you, dear reader, is that you have the opportunity to influence this station’s future musical programming…. pretty exciting, huh?

I have been checking out the station over the past few weeks, and I have to say, I’m liking what I hear…. there’s a great mix of old-school indie classics (think the likes of Tom Waits, Flaming Lips, Dandy Warhols and so on) and previously unheard, but instantly likeable new stuff, including a generous lashing of Australian meaty goodness. There’s some cool accessible content, including themed playlists programmed by influential muso’s. At the time of writing, these included the likes of Katalyst, Mia Dyson, Ian Ball (Gomez) and Jae Laffer (The Panics). There’s also a weekly feature album spotlight and an entertaining segment called the Untidy Desk, where artists and groups perform live acoustic versions of their tracks at a desk within the confines of the triple-j office. With no programmed DJs and no intrusive advertising, you can enjoy quality, uninterrupted music any hour of the day.

If you like the prospective sound of Dig Music and would like to hear how it sounds in the first person, there are a number of ways that you can tune in….. From your PC, visit www.digmusic.net.au and hit the Listen Live button; on your digital radio, you can scan for Dig Music; flick across to channel 200 on your Free-to-Air television stations; or download the ABC Music App on your iPhone or Android device.

With the new station due to be officially launched in April 2014, there is plenty of time for you to influence the evolution of Dig Music. You can do this by hitting the DIG IT button beside a currently playing track every time a song tickles your fancy. Unfortunately, this function only seems to be available via the web interface for the station. You can also pitch your program ideas, suggest a guest presenter or throw your hat in the ring as a prospective host by contacting the station directly.

If you have been subjecting yourself to commercial music, it might just be time to clean the blood from those lugholes and seduce them with some quality acoustics. If you’re wanting to check out something new and maybe help shape the future of music in a rather insignificant way, why not give it a listen…. Whatever your justification, I just reckon you should check it out, ‘K? You can thank me later.

 

Can you remember the first song in which you knowingly recognised a swear word? For me, it was probably Shaddup Your Face by Joe Dolce in 1980. In those days, shut-up was still considered an offensive word- now you hear toddlers yelling it at their parents! These days explicit language is everywhere in music- its abundance seems to be inversely proportionate to the amount of quality music that is produced. Perhaps it’s a case of, Can’t Sing? Fuck it!….. This little meme definitely applies to modern American rap- what’s with that shit?!

At the same time, a well placed and poetically delivered profanity can add raw emotion, comedic charm or unbridled power to a song. For the listener, it presents a socially acceptable means of rebellion.  Try this….Stand in a large crowd and start yelling obscenities at the top of your voice. See how long it takes before the boys in blue come to take you away. Now, stand in that same crowd whilst watching a Nine Inch Nail’s gig and I’ll bet you’ll have no problems exclaiming to the world that you want to fuck them like an animal.

No matter how they are used in modern music- be it to make you laugh, make you angry, or just to shock you- the best placed expletive lyrics are those which are linked to passion, and its when they are used and delivered in this context that they make a song truly memorable. Here’s my Top 10 Fave f-bomb Songs:

10. Asshole- Dennis Leary:

If you love a good dose of political incorrectness, then this is just what the doctor ordered. Asshole came in at #1 on the first annual Triple J Hottest 100, way back in 1994. The subject matter obviously resonated with the Australian public. After all- doesn’t everyone know an asshole like the one in the song?

9. Killing in the Name of- Rage Against the Machine:

I just love the power of this song. Perfect for turning the volume up to 11 when you feel like everyone is out to get you.

8. Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole- Martha Wainwright:

To me, Martha’s voice epitomises the human spirit eroded after years of being trampled on and hardened through neglect, to the point that when she swears, it rolls off her tongue just as if she was saying, “I’m just popping down to the shop to get some milk.”

7. Global Concepts- Robert Delong:

This is a cracker dance track from a relative newcomer (and youngster) to the electronica scene. It’s a song that’s grown on me, much like bacteria on soft cheese.

6. Around Here- Thelma Plum

Still under 20 years old and from my old hometown of Brisbane- what’s not to love about Thelma Plum? Especially when she knocks out gorgeous little melodies like this one. It sounds so sweet, bubbly and happy, in fact, that when she does drop the f-bomb, you find yourself doing a double take…. Did she just say what I thought she said?

5. Uncle Fucka- Terrance & Phillip (South Park)

If I had Turrets, I think I’d just like to walk around and sing this song constantly.  Those bouncy-headed pranksters sure know how to offend, but they can also hold a good tune on the bottom trumpet… personally, I blame it all on Canada!

4. Stagger Lee- Nick Cave

Nick Cave could blow me away singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I have no doubt. He is a supreme storyteller, and this song is true testament to that fact. Delivered with such power, and, of course a swagger that most of us could only dream of having.

3. Don’t Marry Her (Fuck Me)- The Beautiful South

I do believe in folk terms, it is referred to as cussing! It’s another one of those songs where the f-bomb is dropped into the lyrics so subtly that it can quite easily be missed upon the first listen (apart from the fact that Fauck is included in the title of the song, I suppose!) I always envision someone yelling an objection at a wedding, dancing up the aisle and whisking away their star-crossed lover to this tune!

2. Fucking in Heaven- Fatboy Slim

I think this song takes the cake for the most simultaneous fucks in a row. I’ll admit, I used to torment my mum by playing this song really, really loud just before my grandma came over to visit…. bad daughter!

1. Add it Up- The Violent Femmes

This song teleports me directly back to my teenage years every single time I hear it. It symbolises underage drinking, unrequited love and parties at houses when parents were away. It’s one of those songs that never seems to grow old- probably because it is awesome.

So there you have it- my Top 10. There is one more song that I think deserves an honorable mention, and that is The Angels with Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. Whilst the song itself doesn’t contain any explicit language, its “extra lyrics” are so well known that they might as well have been part of the original tune. I can’t say I know of any other song where this is the case.

What are your thoughts on swearing in songs? What is your favourite explicit song? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Oct 25 2013

Spring Serenade

Spring has well and truly sprung, but you’d be forgiven if you were yet to realise that fact. With most areas along the east coast of Australia feeling the effects of an early onset of summer, and winter obviously not getting the email that it is no longer needed in Melbourne, spring has seemingly been waylaid somewhere along the way.

Typically, when I think of spring, my mind is awash with images of green buds, blossoming flowers, windy days and new life. In reality, spring can be a little paradoxical- the onset of warmer weather often leaves me yearning for a summer that is still seemingly an eternity away, and feeling a sense of entrapment when the flirtatiously fleeting warmth is cruelly whisked away and replaced by bitter cold, blustery wind and drizzly rain. Symbolically, spring can be seen as the welcoming of new beginnings and a reminder of the circle of life. It is a season for venturing outdoors, for exploration, digging in the dirt, and for mischievousness.

Now, I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but there have been a number of occasions in years gone by where I have managed to alter the weather with a combination of specifically chosen tunes and tribal-like interpretative dance moves. You could think of me as a suburban Storm if you like. Unlike the X-Men namesake, I have only ever used my powers to induce sunshine- I can’t imagine why I would ever be inclined to whip up a storm… Anyway, this extended cold spell has got me thinking that it might be about time to get some sun shining down on southern Australia and kick the warm spring weather into overdrive.

So without further ado, here is my serenade to spring. The following 25 songs may or may not reference spring, but they all manage to make me feel like spring is here. Play them loud, dance like a maniac, and let’s see if we can’t relocate our spring! Drop me a line if you have any additional suggestions to add to the playlist! Enjoy!