Showing all posts tagged: music
25 September 2023
Book cover of Amy Winehouse: In Her Words.
Much has been said about Amy Winehouse since her tragic death aged just 27. But who was the real Amy? Amy Winehouse: In Her Words shines a spotlight on her incredible writing talent, her wit, her charm and lust for life. Bringing together Amy’s own never-before-seen journals, handwritten lyrics and family photographs together for the first time, this intimate tribute traces her creative evolution from growing up in North London to global superstardom, and provides a rare insight into the girl who became a legend.
25 September 2023
The recent, post pandemic lockdown, sometimes poor behaviour of film-goers has been the subject of some discussion recently. Many of the problems frustrated cinema patrons have reported stem largely from the gratuitous use of smartphones during screenings. It’s enough to make you want to stay at home and stream movies instead.
But bad, inconsiderate, audience conduct is not restricted to cinemas. The attitudes of live music fans likewise leaves much to be desired. Not only are gig-goers refusing to keep their smartphones in their pockets, they’ve also taken to throwing objects at the performers on stage. Both Taylor Swift and Harry Styles have been the target of audience-hurled projectiles, at recent shows.
I’ve been a music journalist since the mid-1980s, and one thing I can say with confidence is that people’s behaviour at gigs has become objectively and observably worse over time. These things used to be self-policing and there was an unwritten code. So, for example, if there’s a moshpit and someone falls, you stop and help them back up. If someone’s shorter than you and you’re blocking their view, you get out of their way. If you absolutely must get nearer to the stage, go round the side instead of barging through the middle. Most of these conventions simply fall under the catch-all rubric of Don’t Be a Selfish Idiot.
14 September 2023
It’s been twenty years since American filmmaker Sofia Coppola’s second full length feature, Lost in Translation, was released. Pretty much all anyone could talk about at the time was the whisper scene at the end of the film, when Bill Murray’s character, Bob, uttered a comment into the ear of Scarlett Johansson’s character, Charlotte.
Murray’s words were inaudible to viewers of the film, precipitating a flurry of speculation as to what he said. You name it, people have probably argued in support of it.
I still have Lost in Translation in my aging DVD collection, and maybe every year or so, we bring it out for a spin. But the more I see the so-called whisper scene, the more pointless it becomes. Bob clearly says something uplifting to Charlotte. Great. So why keep it hushed up?
As a way of getting people to talk about Lost in Translation? But that seems like overkill, a stunt even. The movie already has numerous talking points. The pairing of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Their character’s respective marriage problems. Why Charlotte’s husband left her languishing in a Tokyo hotel room, while he went gallivanting around Japan, apparently for work.
But Tom Nicholson, writing for Empire Online, suggests that the karaoke scene is perhaps Lost in Translation‘s most poignant:
The karaoke sequence is a much better embodiment of what the movie’s about — a beautiful bit of intimation and suggestion and just enough irony to stop anyone taking what’s said entirely seriously. Every karaoke song choice is a chance to tell your fellow singers something about yourself using other people’s words.
The songs sung in the karaoke scene were Brass in Pocket, originally recorded by The Pretenders, and More Than This, by Roxy Music. Using other people’s words then could make figuring out what Bob whispered to Charlotte a little easier, if you still want to.
10 August 2023
Jacoténe, the Melbourne based Australian soul and pop singer, whose vocals reminds more than a few people of Amy Winehouse, has released a new single, You Already Know. This a year after she won Triple J’s Unearthed High with her song I Need Therapy.
10 August 2023
As well as being one of the world’s great hip hop groups, the Beastie Boys’ evolution also happens to be one of the scene’s most fascinating.
As well as bringing hip hop to a wider mainstream audience, the Beasties can also be credited for opening up the genre’s horizons, fusing in everything from alt-rock and sample-based psychedelics to punk ferocity.
And they did all with a sense of adventure, fun, and camaraderie.
So, how did a bunch of white kids playing ramshackle hardcore find themselves at the forefront of a cultural revolution?
And tomorrow, Friday 11 August, is a red-letter day for fans of the genre, being the fiftieth birthday of hip hop, which emerged at a party in NYC borough, The Bronx, on Saturday 11 August 1973.
Happy birthday hip hop.
4 August 2023
The Live Music Archive, part of the Internet Archive, contains close to a quarter of a million entries, dating back to 1959. The chances of tracking down recordings of live performances by your favourite artists and bands are therefore probably pretty good.
27 July 2023
Nothing compares 2 U, her 1990 hit, a song written by the Prince, sums up, somewhat, the pathos.
22 July 2023
Melbourne based Australian musician Deborah Conway has been writing and recording rock and pop music in her inimitable style for over four decades. Her hits include It’s Only the Beginning, Alive and Brilliant, and Will You Miss Me When You’re Sober? In 1992 Conway won an ARIA award in the best female artist category for her album, Strings of Pearls.
But Conway is more than a musician. Other claims to fame include a role in the John Clark made film Running On Empty, and some eye-catching work as a model. In October this year her memoir, Book of Life, will be published by Allan & Unwin. This is a title not only for fans of Conway, but anyone with an interest in Australian music history:
If you have listened to any of Deborah Conway’s songs and were half curious about the origins; if you have ever wondered whatever happened to that chick who covered herself in Nutella and was photographed shovelling cream cakes in to her mouth; if you gave a nanosecond of thought to whose bare arse adorned the giant Billboard ads for Bluegrass jeans in the 1980’s and how much someone could get paid to do that; if you liked Tracey Mann’s vocals in The Takeaways but asked yourself, “did she really sing them?”; if you were a movie buff who thought Running On Empty was a classic BEFORE it became a cult phenomenon and need behind the scenes gossip, now’s your chance to find out all this and so much more.
14 July 2023
Some of the books belonging to Charlie Watts, the late drummer of British rock act the Rolling Stones, will be auctioned later this year. Watts was no casual book reader though. Some of the items in his book collection include first edition publications of titles including The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Christie’s describes the cache, which includes rare editions of books by George Orwell, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Graham Greene, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, among others, as “an unparalleled library of modern first edition books, the finest and highest value collection of its kind to come to auction in over twenty years.”
11 July 2023
TikTok has a lot to answer for. It has launched the careers of musicians who recording companies at first refused to blink sideways at, and revived the popularity of some acts who might be considered to have had their day. Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush, I’m looking at you.
But TikTok is not what ails the Australian music industry at present. It’s the lack of Australian material charting at the moment. Incredibly, so far this year, the Australian top fifty album charts have included more recordings solely by American singer Taylor Swift, than Australian acts combined.
Further, the majority of these Swift albums aren’t exactly new. Because how could an artist release numerous new albums simultaneously, that would all be of chart topping quality? Some of Swift’s albums were made years ago. Nonetheless, newer music by Australian artists has been edged out.
And it all comes down to streaming. While the music charts used to include the sales of records, cassettes, CDs, and digital downloads, they now include music that is streamed. Which seems to be old music. And is this creating the situation where much older music now features in the charts, to the detriment of Australian musicians struggling for recognition.