Showing all posts tagged: music

A history of the Beastie Boys as hip hop turns 50 this year

10 August 2023

One for fans of erstwhile New York City hip hop act, the Beastie Boys, a write up from 2015 by Don Condon, music editor at Double J.

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.


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Find live music performances on the Live Music Archive

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.



Vale Sinéad O’Connor, 1966 – 2023

27 July 2023

Nothing compares 2 U, her 1990 hit, a song written by the Prince, sums up, somewhat, the pathos.



Book of Life, a memoir by Australian musician Deborah Conway

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.


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Books owned by Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones to be auctioned

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.”


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Music streaming has filled the Australian charts with old songs

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.


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Love & Pain, Ben Gillies, Chris Joannou tell their Silverchair story

4 July 2023

Love & Pain, by Silverchair's Ben Gillies, Chris Joannou, book cover

Book cover of Love & Pain, written by Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou.

Wednesday 27 September 2023 will be a red letter day for fans of erstwhile Australian indie rock act Silverchair. That’s the day Love & Pain, a book co-written by Ben Gillies, the band’s drummer, and bass player Chris Joannou, is set to be published by Hachette Australia. That Gillies and Joannou are behind this book is what makes it so compelling, as, to date, not a lot has been heard from former members about their time in the band.

So much has been written about Silverchair over the years but very little has been said by the band’s members. In Love & Pain, childhood friends Ben Gillies (drummer) and Chris Joannou (bass player) tell us tales about growing up across the road from each other and starting in Silverchair, wild stories from the peak of their days in the spotlight, and the ups and downs of how their lives have panned out since.


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Myf Warhurst with Melissa Fyfe on Good Weekend Talks podcast

3 July 2023

Radio and television broadcaster Myf Warhurst speaks to Good Weekend Magazine writer Melissa Fyfe, on the Good Weekend Talks podcast (Spotify link).

I used to listen to Warhurst when she presented on Australian radio station Triple J, from 2000 to 2007. She later had a show on Double J, originally known as Dig Radio, a digital station that was spun off from Triple J in 2002.

Her television credits include Spicks & Specks, a quiz show, and being an Australian commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest. Presently Warhurst is a narrator for stage rock musical, The Rocky Horror Show, which also happens to be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year.

Update: if Spotify is not your preferred streamer, you can also tune into the podcast via Apple, or Google.


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This Never Happened, a mobile phone free music festival, coming to Australia

25 June 2023

Audience at a live music show facing the stage

Image courtesy of Pexels.

Should mobile phones be banned at music festivals? What sort of question is that? After all, is not recording the happenings of the day, be it video clips, or photos, and sharing them online, part and parcel of the music festival experience? Well it is, but doing so also has a downside. Just ask anyone who’s standing towards the back of the audience. The wall of held up arms and mobile phones might be about all they see of the show.

How’s that meant to be fun? But that’s not all. Evidence suggests recording certain events or experiences, by filming or photographing them, may diminish our ability to remember said occasions later on. So perhaps live music events would be more memorable, and more enjoyable for all concerned, if everyone left their phones at the ticket office?

That’s what Sydney based Australian event promotor Pia Del Mastro is betting on. Del Mastro is collaborating with American musician and electronic music producer Daniel Goldstein, also known as Lane 8, to bring such a rare creature, a music festival that does not allow the use of mobile phones, to Australia, in July 2023. The event, aptly enough, is called This Never Happened.

Lane 8 has been organising mobile phone free music festivals for several years overseas, and Del Mastro says they would be a first in Australia, in the mobile phone era. Lane 8 observed audiences were more engaged and immersed in the show, and gave their full attention to the bands performing, when they weren’t thinking about a device in their hand, which all makes sense.

It still remains to be seen how Australian festival goers will take to such a radical proposition. I’ve been to the occasional preview film screening, or product launch, where attendees needed to leave their phones at the front desk, but we were only without our devices for a couple of hours.

But This Never Happened will differ. Revellers will instead keep their phone, but be given a sticker to place over the camera lens. Del Mastro expects a degree of peer pressure, together with the phone-free spirit of the event, will see most of those present keep their devices pocketed away.

But we’ll find out soon. The first This Never Happened event takes place in Melbourne, on Friday 14 July 2023. I get the feeling though audiences, once they lose themselves to the music, will embrace the concept with open arms, and open eyes.


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Only human artists, not AI creators will receive Grammy awards

19 June 2023

The Recording Academy of the United States recently amended their rules to stipulate that only human artists and creators can receive Grammy awards. Speaking in a recent interview, Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said AI musical compositions can be entered for consideration, but at this stage no awards will be presented to such works.

At this point, we are going to allow AI music and content to be submitted, but the GRAMMYs will only be allowed to go to human creators who have contributed creatively in the appropriate categories. If there’s an AI voice singing the song or AI instrumentation, we’ll consider it. But in a songwriting-based category, it has to have been written mostly by a human. Same goes for performance categories – only a human performer can be considered for a GRAMMY.

The 2024 Grammy Awards are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 31 January 2024.


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