Double J’s all-month-long 90s retrospective continues this week with another ‘Best Of’ list, sure to have a few of you wailing at both the inclusions and exclusions. ‘The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s‘ includes a few contributions from me, including tunes from 808 State, Cibo Matto (pictured), Transglobal Underground, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and GusGus.
Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?
That’s the question Double J is asking all throughout June, as they go deep on the decade that shaped so many of us musically. There are charts galore as part of the 90s celebration, starting with ‘The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s’. Despite growing up in Scotland during the 90s, I wasn’t entirely oblivious to the Australian music scene. There were a few choice acts that made their way up and over the crest of the globe, but only one of my favourites has made its way into this particular ‘Best Of…’ list.
The annual Eurovision Song Contest has nearly always scored nil points when it comes to credible artists belting out top-notch songs. Yet, there have been a few moments across the decades where it seemed like cool might prevail against the onslaught of kitsch.
I’ve selected a few well-known artists that put their career on the line in hope of a Eurovision win, and you can watch performances from all of those on the Double J website.
Often our knowledge of music from other countries is limited to what we might call ‘novelty’ acts – or those that seem so absurd to our Western ears, that they scream for attention. For example, can you name any Korean artist or song other than Psi and ‘Gangnam Style’?
Even Russia is not immune to the curse of the novelty. Perhaps their best known export is Pussy Riot, who rode to international attention on a wave of anti-Putin sentiment clad in balaclavas, smashing the oligarchy, patriarchy or any other kind of hierarchy they could stomp their boots on.
This week, Fat Planet returns to the radio after a multi-year hiatus – now broadcasting nationally on Double J on ABC Radio.
Every week, I’ll be introducing you to some of the great music from around the world – but it’s not a ‘world music’ show. If you’re unsure what that means, I’ve prepared some notes on a few new tracks that will kick off your Fat Planet journey just nicely.
Many moons ago, my radio program Fat Planet boomed out of the FBi Radio transmission tower, spreading a heady diet of brand new music from all around the world, and together we laughed and danced and cried and made merry for many years. Flash forward to 2017, and I’m super-stoked to tell you that Fat Planet is returning, with the same curatorial mission – to uncover vital sounds from music cultures around the globe. This time around, Fat Planet finds it home with the genius minds at Double J, and it all kicks off next Wednesday (18th January) 8pm.
‘The Roman / Crossing The Fourth Threshold’ is the new single from Medicine Voice, the second track to be singled-out from the album ‘I And Thou‘ (out now on Provenance). To mark the moment, Medicine Voice has collaborated with artists Louisa Clayton and Kevina-Jo Smith on a beautiful new film clip, shot on location in the Blue Mountains.
Saturday 26 November I’ll be rolling out my Beau Kannon alias for a DJ set at Neon Fern a night of “dark techno, leftist pop and electronica”, and of course ferns. Taking place at Baroque in Katoomba, there are also sets from Melty, Ghostgirl (whose new album A.I. Ambient Intimacy was released earlier this week), Mannheim Rocket (3BS Records) and Broken Chip. Plus digital installations from Mark Sabb of U.S. online mag Felt Zine. Tickets and info on Facebook.
Super-excited to finally release the excellent ‘Always’ EP from Lovely Head through Provenance – a six-track experimental pop EP from Sydney producer, ex-No Art guitarist & writer Vivian Huynh. Exploring themes of tension, distance and lust, ‘Always’ is a combination of desert guitar, misshapen beats and quiet longing. Available on digital and super-limited lathe cut 10” vinyl, shipped with full-colour sleeve print.
Last year, when I started to think about the artists that I was keen to have in the Provenance family, Vivian Huynh was an early addition to the list. I loved No Art and was a superfan of her solo work as Lovely Head. I’m stoked that Viv agreed to come on board, and doubly stoked to be releasing her new Lovely Head EP ‘Always’ on 21st October.
The final episode of the first season of Out From Under is a mix of new music released in September 2016 featuring work from Severed Heads alumni Garry Bradbury and Room40 mainstay John Chantler; Regis takes on MY DISCO (pictured) in a remix for the Downwards label; Blake Freele & Sam Price drop a new collaboration; we tackle brute noise from Blut; and also hear new work from Panoptique Electrical, Pale Earth, Cooper Bowman, Harrow, H∃✖†⏄P∄, FATE ÆFFECT and Catfingers.
In the second episode of a two-part Out From Under special, I talk to Mitchell Jones; founding member of both seminal Australian experimental band Scattered Order and the early 80s record label M-Squared which balanced the prevailing sounds of post-punk with lo-fi punk electronics and experimental explorations from a close knit community of artists.
Whilst the legacies of post-punk, DIY electronics and proto industrial are widely known and documented in the UK and US scenes, their impact in an Australian context is less widely recognised. Bonding over the discovery of Cabaret Voltaire imports in Sydney record stores, Scattered Order formed in 1979 and gorged on a wide range of inputs to create a sound and visual aesthetic that was unique in Australia at the time. Together they also formed the label M Squared and fostered an impressive roster of bands such as Makers Of The Dead Travel Fast, Systematics and Ya Ya Choral.
Brett Thompson has been the guiding force in the Australian band Rand & Holland for nearly fifteen years, but its been a tumultuous and often torturous ride. Widespread love for their lo-fi folk debut led to a polished pop follow up that furthered their critical acclaim whilst also setting in place a chain of events that led to the band conducing an artistic volte-face. They recorded a dark, intense and experimental third album, polarising audiences at a short series of live shows before abruptly breaking up.
I am the type of Aphir fan who will think nothing of assembling a cheer squad to turn up at her gigs wearing matching t-shirts and furiously waving pom poms. I am thus immensely excited that she is joining the Provenance family for her upcoming album, due later this year.