Melbourne producer LUCIANBLOMKAMP has released the video for Help Me Out, the first song off his forthcoming Post-Nature album. Watch below:
Commercial radio has always been whinged about. In fact, I’m yet to hear anyone who raves about Commercial radio. Despite the emergence of spotify, iPod inputs in cars and digital music in general, what radio plays continues to translate to sales. And while sales nowadays also put pressure on radio to play high-selling tracks, if radio takes a chance on something, it usually means the public does also.
This week the radio airplay charts are a grim sight. The only Australian act that features is Justice Crew and they’re followed by international artists Nico & Vinz, Mr. Probz (Yeah, us either) and The Madden Brothers. The number one song, Nico & Vinz’s Am I Wrong was spun 898 times just this week. Compare those artists to any of the Best of 2014 lists doing the rounds and you’re likely to find no similarities.
It’s an age old question but why does radio seem so mundane? It comes down to the fact that it doesn’t like to take risks. Trend-wise it follows American radio playlists and, to some extent, British radio, meaning that it rarely gets to dictate what should be played in the way a station like the UK’s BBC Radio 1 can.
I spoke to the Music Editor at News Limited, Kathy McCabe last year who said, “Commercial radio in Australia is pretty much programmed mainly by what’s happening in America. A few British artists sneak through but it still tends to take its cue from whatever Ryan Seacrest is doing.” This hits the nail on the head. Australian radio is suffering from a lack of innovation as it is so far down the cultural food chain.
This may also be the reason that radio shies away from home-grown talent. 12 of the top 40 artists played on radio this week are Australian. While that may seem positive, this includes Iggy Azalea, Sia and Five Seconds of Summer who spend more time away from the country than in it at present. It’s also interesting to note, that all of them bar one (Sheppard) are signed to a major label.
McCabe told me “We still seem to have this bizarre cultural cringe in terms of the support of Australian music that should be far more fundamental particularly on the airwaves.” The cultural cringe is often what prevents Australian artists from reaching commercial radio. Iggy Azelea found it onto Australia radio but not until she was adopted in America with a record that has no Australian fingerprints on it, really.
It’s worthwhile to look at the fact that on the rare occasion a track that sounds less commercial crosses over it ends up doing pretty well. There’s a little song called Somebody That I Used To Know that shot Australian, Wally de Backer to the top of the charts in this country and then all around the world.
In 2007, Gotye won Best Male Artist at the ARIA Awards to a collective “who?” At the time his album had failed to make the top 20, while none of his singles had charted. Heart’s A Mess was the album’s first single, a song that has now featured on the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
Somebody I Used To Know wasn’t a record made for commercial radio but was one that was swiftly adopted when its video went viral. Without that video, one could speculate that the record never would’ve made it to commercial radio.
A few more examples of songs that have crossed over into the mainstream include Flume’s Holdin’ On, The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy and Lana Del Rey’s Video Games. The three of them sounded completely foreign on commercial radio but with each play a revolution was started. Flume is now the most sought-after electronic artist in the country, the Black Keys have been upgraded to an arena-band and Lana Del Rey has just debuted atop the ARIA charts with her sophomore record, Ultraviolence.
Turns out being different ain’t such a bad thing.
It’s easy to whinge but hard to come up with any solutions to commercial radio’s problems. So, below are a few artists that would find a comfy home on commercial radio while keeping their innovative edge, independent status and creative control.
22 year-old Megan McInerney has only released three tracks but already she’s carving a name for herself on Triple J, having already taken on the infamous Like A Version. Her tracks have a straight-forward simplicity to them with optimistic pop-hooks that would be delectable to commercial radio. If radio were to take a chance on a young Australian artists, my money would be on Mac.
An alternative to: Adele, Sara Bareilles
Most radio-ready track: Roll Up Your Sleeves
Why she’s not on radio: She’s a self-made artist who is neither flashy nor self-gratuitous. Had she been a winner of The Voice, her tracks would be eaten up by radio.
Let it be known that I have nothing against Lorde, but she didn’t exactly make it to the top from nowhere. At 13, she was signed to Universal Music Group which certainly helps with radio airplay. Segue from that to 18 year-old Kiwi artist, Thomston, who’s just released his debut EP Argonaut. His dark, pop tunes could be the perfect antidote to some of the over-thought music coming from male songwriters at the moment. It’s got the sort of electronic undertones that radio is devouring right now.
An alternative to: Lorde, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith
Most radio-ready track: Anaesthetic
Why he’s not on radio: Being a young, unsigned artists from New Zealand doesn’t really bode well for you on radio here.
Girl bands have had a resurgence of late but if you look at the radio charts you wouldn’t know. There isn’t one to be seen in the top 40. M.O. are three girls from London making ‘90s throwback R&B. It’s full of great pop hook, bouncin’ beats and perfect harmonies. Think TLC with a hint of Destiny’s Child.
An alternative to: Little Mix, Neon Jungle
Most radio-ready track: Dance On My Own
Why they’re not on radio: It’s beyond me. The ball is in Britain’s court. Once they catch on, Australia will follow.
This Nashville trio is slightly too enigmatic at this point to make it in the mainstream, but their songs suggest otherwise. With four tracks to their name so far, they’re showing a knack for velvety, synth-pop. It’s melodic enough to stick to radio and also has enough street cred to see it on Triple J’s playlists as well.
An alternative to: Nico & Vinz, Mr. Probz
Most radio-ready track: ILYSB
Why they’re not on radio: They’re far too mysterious right now. Radio doesn’t like that. It wants somebody who’s going to say “This is LANY and you’re listening to the hottest radio station on the planet”.
Liz is the First Lady of Diplo’s label Mad Decent and she’s producing damn fine, millennium RnB. She evokes nostalgia from the golden days of pop/RnB when Britney was queen and Xtina was the dirrrrtiest gal around. Touches of Ryan Hemsworth-esque electronica ensure that Liz sounds contemporary while having a throwback sound. It’s as if she was the sole survivor of the dreaded millennium bug.
An alternative to: Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj
Most radio-ready track: All Them Boys
Why she’s not on radio: She’s channeling an RnB sound that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. While the RnB revolution has flooded online blogs, Ariana Grande is perhaps the first artist to bring it to radio. Hold tight Liz-lovers.
Here’s the full list of what we would play if we got to take over the radio for a day:
Well, Brisbane producer Young Franco is obviously paying no attention to the seasons because his latest track, Close 2 U, is a Summer banger in the midst of Winter. Franco has recruited young singer/songwriter, Joy., who we featured a few weeks ago to sing the hook on Close 2 U alongside sunshine-induced keys and a thumbing beat. It’s got hints of Duke Dumont‘s I Got U, but most of all it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from a Young Franco creation: something young, energetic and vibrant. Close 2 U is the lead-single of an EP of the same name which features another new track, Hurricane. There are no vocals on Hurricane but it’s another deep-house delight.
How’s your bass face? Because this one hits harder than any HAIM track yet. Rapper A$AP Ferg has added a verse to HAIM’s My Song 5 from their 2013 debut Days Are Gone. The song was always the most badass and the record and now Ferg has added a whole other element to his with his crushing verse. “jealous now cos’ I’m working with this female band” Ferg raps in perhaps the most home-hitting statement we’ve heard all year. Yes, we’re jealous. And yes, we’re trying really hard not to like this but it’s impossible.
In other news, the follow-up to Days Are Gone is apparently coming soon according to the sisters themselves.
As if we were touched by a musical angel overnight, the original vocals for Britney Spears’ demo track ‘Alien’, from her 2013 album Britney Jean, were leaked to the cyber world. Here we find her stripped naked (metaphorically I would hope), and left without the trusty safety blanket of Auto-Tune.
Let’s just say it was not her finest effort, and to celebrate this momentous occasion we have decided to take a short trip down memory lane and visit some our favourite moments in pitch correction music’s history.
Auto-Tune; This is your life…..
Cher’s late-nineties comeback to music and the worldwide gay community was marked with the release of her, warped, robotic vocal effect single ‘Believe’. At this time, no one had seriously considered the use of Antares’ Auto-Tune pitch correction software as a recording “special effect,” however Cher says that when she heard the sound she demanded it be left in the recording. Good life decision Cher. While this track was incredibly successful it was also polarising as it represented the ‘sound of the future,’ or, as some may call it, the “Cher effect.”
Who better to ring in the new millennium than French helmeted-duo Daft Punk, with their Auto-Tune anthem ‘One More Time’. After already using vocorder-distored vocals in their timeless hit ‘Around the World’ they turned to the blessed Auto-Tune with the addition of singer Ramanthony. Despite being met with some harsh criticism as to their use of technology, ‘One More Time’ peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in 2000, and is one of the duo’s few charting songs in the US, reaching 61 on the Billboard Hot 100 – likening the criticisms to those levelled in the early days of synthesisers in pop music.
Synths, pfffft. Who uses them in the music industry now?
Some artists do it with a song, others make an album of it. Kanye West is a serial Auto-Tuner. His 2008 album release, 808s and Heartbreak, has stylised voice manipulation plastered all over it. In classic Kanye style he used it without a reason or excuse, with tracks like ‘Heartless’ and ‘Love Lock down’ repping Auto-Tune like there is no tomorrow. Instead of leaning on the vocal manipulator as a crutch for some of his arguably shaky singing, Kanye harnesses technology as an instrument and if you hate it – he doesn’t care. He is Kanye West and he’s the best.
CLICK HERE to see Kanye’s latest Auto-Tuned rant at Wireless Festival!
It may no means requires a high level of production for indie icon and Auto-Tune enthusiast Bon Iver to create a beautiful atmospheric song, rich crafty pitch shifting goodness. All Justin Vernon’s fine voice needs is to be run through a phase-vocoder and repeat the same paragraph of lyrics 11 times, before concluding with a final momentous built up tension. For indie noobs, this song is most commonly known as the sample in Kanye “Serial Auto-Tuner” West’s track ‘Lost in the World.’
I am speechless. No words can be used to describe this piece of utter lyrical genius.
It’s Britney Bitch.
What was allegedly said to be a 2013 warm-up tape of the Las Vegas Starlet in Residence, this very raw demo leaves us all feeling that little bit better about our own karaoke voices.
For those who do not call themselves One Direction fans *cue crying, screaming girls, fainting and a like*, be prepared to instantly fall in love with the superstar heartthrobs. The concept is quite simple, Shred Videos. Videos which craftily remove the audio of some of the world’s biggest music acts and replace them with a ridiculous, yet convincing, auto-tuned version of their song. The end result is a hilariously butchered piece of viral brilliance. You’re welcome:
Masters of mystery, Jungle, have released the music video for Time. Once again, they’ve opted to not feature themselves and have instead taken the Fatboy Slim Weapon of Choice route of assigning the duty of dancing to middle-aged men. Adidas-clad and showing that age is nothing but a number, the two men engage in the dance-off to end all dance-offs, Bucket List-style .
We last heard Montreal producer, Lunice as one-half of TNGHT, a trap-duo formed with Hudson Mohawke. Fresh from smashing speakers around the country, Lunice is going it alone once again with a new single and an album on the way. That single is Can’t Wait To and it’s a skittering, brain-fuck of a track with deep, recurring vocals samples and eery synths. It’s certianly not as in-your-face as TNGHT but like any Lunice production it demands your immediate attention. The song was teased a few days ago in a 30 second video but the full version has now been unveiled. It’s suspected to be the first single from his forthcoming debut album.
Shy Girls‘ track, Second Heartbeat, made waves nine months ago when it first hit our ears. Now it’s back; re-worked by Vancington and still just as pleasing to the ears. Vancington’s offering provides lush synths and a grooving backbeat which accompany the already super-smooth R&B vibe from the original. Glistening chimes and scattered vocals are peppered towards the end of the track, providing a break from the steady beat and giving this remix a distinct, funky flavour.
Sometimes, when an artist is at the peak of their career and you have decided they are your current favourite band, they up and disappear, without so much of a musical trace. Was it fame-related cold feet? Or simply time to move on? Read below for 6 music acts that were on the airwaves non-stop, before being sucked into the black hole, with some never to be heard from again.
You probably remember American indie folk band Fleet Foxes from their 2008 hit Mykonos or the 2011 Triple J-rotational, Lorelai.
With their second EP, Sun Giant, and first and second albums, Fleet Foxes and Helplessness Blues respectively, all receiving critical acclaim, their future looked bright but, alas, it seems as though their success was fleeting (pardon the pun).
In January 2012, drummer J Tillman announced that he had left the band. That didn’t stop speculations of a third album, with the remainder of Fleet Foxes stirring the pot by posting on their Facebook page in June 2013 an image of a laptop, microphone and guitar, titled “Step one”, followed by an image of a broken mandolin, titled “Step two”. The dream was crushed however with the deletion of both posts and lead singer, Robin Pecknold, declaring that the band was splitting for the time being and he was relocating to New York City to study.
Remember that Summer tune to end all Summer tunes in 2012? It seemed as though big things were in store for the Australian duo, described as “one of the hottest prospects in Aussie electronic music”, with appearances at Splendour in the Grass and Homebake and Can’t Get Better Than This amassing almost 6 million hits on YouTube.
It seems as though things didn’t get better than that for friends Johnny Castro and Mathew K Von, with the band splitting up promptly after the release of their January ‘14 track Runaway. Reliable sources have told me that Castro has now signed to Atlantic Records / Warner Music under the moniker of Yeah Boy, with an EP Can’t Get Enough coming out in May. And his other half? Through my finest detective work to date, I have discovered that on July 6th of this year, Von updated his Facebook profile picture. Thrilling stuff.
Meanwhile, fans of the now extinct band are holding on, still trying to figure out the vocal hook in Can’t Get Better Than This.
Remember when Australian rock band Kisschasy told us that Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm At Night?
Over their 10 year career, the band released two gold certified studio albums, two extended plays, a documentary DVD and compilation album, while also selling an excess of 90,000 records.
In 2009, Kisschasy took their new album, Seizures, on tour around Australia, coinciding with their Channel V Oz Artist of the Year win. They were then announced as part of the first lineup for the 2010 Big Day Out, also performing at Southbound, MS Fest, Pushover and 2010 Groovin’ The Moo. So where are they now?
Their location is still unconfirmed but ever-reliable source, Wikipedia, has quoted:
“Despite not having released a fourth masterpiece in almost five years, Kisschasy are not dead and do occasionally tour. Many have speculated that rather than touring, the band needs to get their asses in the studio and crank out some new tunes.”
Many of you will remember Australian R&B recording artist Daniel Merriweather from his 2007 collaboration with Mark Ronson, for the cover of The Smiths‘ Stop Me.
After winning numerous awards, performing with the likes of Mark Ronson, Scribe, P-Money and Kanye West, and also appearing on David Letterman in 2010, it seemed that the Stop Me singer was unstoppable. But then he mysteriously disappeared, with his Soundcloud page not showing a trace until 2013, with the update of the news of collaborations with both The Bamboos and Wordlife.
There have been no musical follow-ups since but a reliable source (AKA Twitter) has led me to believe that, unlike aforementioned Kisschasy, Merriweather has since gotten his ‘ass into the studio’ to ‘crank out some new tunes’.
He’d better get to releasing soon because his fans are getting antsy. “#justsayin”
American indie rock band Black Kids had us jumping around on the dancefloor with their two hits Hurricane Jane and I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You. With their debut EP, Wizard of Ahhhs, receiving critical acclaim in 2007 and their album, Partie Traumatic, debuting at #5 on the UK Albums Chart in July 2008, the Kids’ futures looked bright. But, alas, they too fell into the black hole of musicians.
Was it perhaps the ‘new rules’ enforced on the music industry that caused such a sudden disappearance?
Sources have confirmed that the cause of disappearance was something much less news-worthy, with the reason being that the Kids have simply grown up, focusing on other creative avenues and abiding by the laws of nature.
Amidst procreating and not being dead, Black Kids started recording again in early 2013 with new songs Clocks and Wake Up, touring Brazil and the East Coast of the United States, and, according to their Facebook, are about to commence another tour in a month’s time.
Operator Please, the first band to discuss such a deep topic as the act of Ping Pong, were formed way back in 2005 to enter their school’s Battle of the Bands. After winning the competition, the pop group went on to release the singles, Get What You Want, Leave It Alone, Just a Song About Ping Pong and their debut studio album, Yes Yes Vindictive.
After winning an ARIA Award in 2007 for Breakthough Artist, the five-piece went on several national tours and played at a variety of festivals, including Splendour in the Grass, Stonefest and Big Day Out. In January 2011, Operator Please released their fifth and final single from their second album, Gloves, with the last appearance from the band being their tour with Sparkadia.
The band never officially split, but friends close to the source have informed that they’ve been inactive since 2011, with the band members focusing on separate projects.
Keyboardist, Chris Holland, and drummer, Tim Commandeur, formed the duo group Colour Coding and released their debut Proof in March 2012, before suffering the same fate as their original band and declaring a hiatus in November 2013. Commandeur is now the drummer for Sydney electronic band, Panama.
Lead singer, Amandah Wilkinson is still performing, and looking remarkably different, under the moniker of Bossy Love. She released her debut EP, Me + You (not to be confused with Disclosure’s You & Me) in October 2013.
Which other music acts have disappeared without a trace? Tweet me at @bianca_interns and I’ll do some detective work for you.
The heart seems to be a consistent motif for Angus & Julia Stone‘s forthcoming self-titled record. They have just dropped a new song, A Heartbreak with an accompanying video following on from last month’s Heart Beats Slow. A Heartbeat was the first song the pair wrote with the producer of the record, Rick Rubin, and it’s a dark, folk-tinged number that beautifully juxtaposes the sibling’s voices. The video is suitably dark also and was filmed in LA under a flood of multi-coloured lights. The album is out 1 August following the pair’s performance at Splendour in the Grass, the week before.
Allday (AKA Tom Gaynor) is the most hyped name in Australian hip-hop right now although it’s not Aussie hip-hop as you’ve heard it. On hearing Allday’s debut album, Startup Cult, it becomes clearly apparent that the young Melbourne emcee is inspired by rappers like Future, Drake and Yeezy rather than homegrown acts. As such he’s ushering in a new-age of Australian hip-hop; one based on youthful lyrics, northern-hemisphere beats and a ‘cult’ that has quickly formed around him. As a young artist, Allday has become somewhat of a master at social media. He’s amassed almost 100,000 likes on Facebook and 62,000 followers on Instagram. In celebration of his new album Startup Cult, he took a number of his fans on bus rides around Melbourne and Sydney to listen and chat about the new album.
Allday answered a few questions for the interns about what inspired the bus idea, his favourite R&B tracks at the moment and whether he would win a hot dog eating competition.
What inspired the “Startup Cult” bus idea?
At the moment with all the people messaging me it’s very difficult to reply to every fan so I thought if the quantity of fan interaction is decreasing, let’s improve the quality. At first I wanted to drive around with people 1 on 1 and play them the album but we settled on the idea of a bus. Next time I’m thinking a “booze cruise” around the harbour.
It sounds to us like your music sounds slightly more like American hip-hop than Aussie. Would you agree?
I think the line between Australian and American sounds is that Australian Hip Hop has branched off from 90s boom bap and developed in a certain way. I love and appreciate a great deal of Australian Hip Hop but my musical influence isn’t really rooted in Australian artists. I think it’s very cool Australia has its own sound, but I don’t really consider myself a part of that (beyond the accent).
Youve built up an impressive following without having an album out yet. How important is social media in that?
Social media has been the foundation of everything for me so far. If Instagram and Facebook were to close down tomorrow I have no idea what I’d do. On the other hand, sometimes people overthink social media, I just try to be myself and I think people can sense honesty.
What have you done differently from the mixtape to the album? Do you think the album sounds more cohesive?
Well the album took a lot longer. I thought about what I wanted to communicate and how. Whereas on the mixtapes I would usually just find a beat or whatever and write a rap in 5 or 10 minutes. Then record it in 15 or 20 minutes and that would be a song. For instance, some songs like Sick Sad World or Julia Stiles (mixtape songs) would have about 30 minutes total work in them. When they got to 100,000 views or whatever I realized “wow, I would have done a better job if I knew this many people would listen to it.” So on the album, I tried to do a better job.
Is Right Now a good indication of what is to come on the album or are there some curve balls?
I think there’s some curve balls.
How is the tour going? Is the crowd reacting to the new songs well?
The tour just finished up, the new songs weren’t going amazingly actually but that always seems to happen with me. Maybe I need a bit of practise to perform them or something.
Name your five favourite hip-hop/RnB songs at the minute.
Partynextdoor – TBH
Sampha – Indecision
The Weeknd – Often
Jeremih – Fuck U All The Time
Justin Timberlake – Not A Bad Thing
^ Wow these are all RnB, guess I’m going through a phase at the moment.
1. Would you be Jay Z, Beyonce or Solange in the elevator situation?
I don’t know their personal lives and I don’t want to weigh in on that really but I think I’d like to be Jay Z because I’m already a man and I don’t want to have to get used to a whole different set of genitalia.
2. Do you believe you could win a hot dog eating competition?
I’m a pretty fast eater. The fact that I’m a vegan really holds back my hot dog eating (for the rest of eternity). Vegan hot dogs though, I’m keen to race.
3. Whats your least favourite Instagram filter?
Wow, so many of them suck. Hefe.
4. Money has been left in the ATM. What do you do?
If I was 16, I’d take that money and be buying something terrible with it before you could say “lack of morals”. These days, I’d take it back into the bank and make sure the person got their money back.
5. What do you see in this inkblot?
That’s clearly a woman’s body right? Now I look like some sex-minded perve, damn.
Allday‘s debut LP Startup Cult is out now.