Page 1

December Issue

Melbourne | Free

2 0 1 8 : t h e y e a r t h at wa s Who topped our polls of the year’s best? The Offspring talk us through their classic Smash album

The nice and naughty list of Christmas movies and albums

Drag Race royalty Shangela and Sasha Velour spill the T


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Credits Publisher Street Press Australia Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen Group Senior Editor/National Arts Editor Maxim Boon Editors Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths, Sam Wall

Warning: This article might get a bit list-y.

Assistant Editor/Social Media Co-Ordinator Jessica Dale

I

Editorial Assistant Lauren Baxter

t’s that time of year when those of us who keep lists (go back to the Feb edition of this column for more details) get to unleash the results of those lists that we’ve kept for the preceding 12 months. As with 2017, I found myself listening more and more to songs of artists I like over albums, but there was definitely a trio of standout albums for me this year: Courtney Barnett’s Tell Me What You Really Think, Alice Ivy’s I’m Dreaming plus Cash Savage & The Last Drinks’ Good Citizens. I’m not alone here, as Barnett’s album has also taken out the title of our Album Of The Year as voted by The Music staff and contributors in our annual Writers’ Poll. While all three of these albums are local, they aren’t the only local albums that have made my personal top ten of the year. Other local long-players that impressed are Ryan Downey’s Running, The Goon Sax’s We’re Not Talking, Lowtide’s Southern Mind, Cool Out Sun’s self-titled debut and Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. There’s also local representation in multi-national outfit Superorganism, whose self-titled set also ranks as one of my favourite ten albums of 2018. Rounding out that ten is a solo album by Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn, a beautiful alt-pop treaty known as Record. For me there were two standout songs of 2018: Native Tongue by Mojo Juju and This Is America by Childish Gambino. Both powerful songs accompanied by equally powerful videos. Both songs also topped our Writers’ Poll — well ahead of any other competition this year. Rounding out my top song choices of the year was much harder and really can’t be contained to a mere ten. It was a stunning year for locals dropping cracking standalone tracks. To name but a few, may I recommend: Lionel — Slagatha Christie; Twin — VOIID; Sunlight — Emerson Snowe; Thankful — Candy; Star Surfer IX — The Gametes; Mr La Di Da Di — Baker Boy; Don’t Call Me — Sweater Curse; Enough For Now — Flowertruck, Scream Whole — Methyl Ethel, Familiar Five — Marcus Marr and, of course, Dancing — Kylie Minogue. It was also the year that former Moloko member Roisin Murphy came back with a vengeance and released a string of disco stormers. If you aren’t familiar with them, get looking now. Coming in close behind on the party front is Lizzo’s Boys — how is this US artist not a superstar yet? Other internationals with great tunes this year include Little Simz (Offence), Idles (Danny Nedelko), Graham Coxon (Walking All Day), Generationals (It May Get Bad…), Neneh Cherry (Kong), Brockhampton (1998 TRUMAN), Slaves (Cut And Run), Shopping

Gig Guide Henry Gibson gigs@themusic.com.au Senior Contributors Steve Bell, Bryget Chrisfield, Cyclone, Jeff Jenkins Contributors Nic Addenbrooke, Annelise Ball, Emily Blackburn, Melissa Borg, Anthony Carew, Uppy Chatterjee, Roshan Clerke, Shaun Colnan, Brendan Crabb, Guy Davis, Joe Dolan, Chris Familton, Guido Farnell, Donald Finlayson, Liz Giuffre, Carley Hall, Tobias Handke, Mark Hebblewhite, Kate Kingsmill, Samuel Leighton Dore, Joel Lohman, Matt MacMaster, Taylor Marshall, MJ O’Neill, Carly Packer, Anne Marie Peard, Michael Prebeg, Mick Radojkovic, Stephen A Russell, Jake Sun, Cassie Tongue, Rod Whitfield Senior Photographers Cole Bennetts, Kane Hibberd Photographers Rohan Anderson, Andrew Briscoe, Stephen Booth, Pete Dovgan, Simone Fisher, Lucinda Goodwin, Josh Groom, Clare Hawley, Bianca Holderness, Jay Hynes, Dave Kan, Yaseera Moosa, Hayden Nixon, Angela Padovan, Markus Ravik, Bobby Rein, Peter Sharp, Barry Shipplock, Terry Soo, John Stubbs, Bec Taylor

Advertising Leigh Treweek, Antony Attridge, Brad Edwards, Thom Parry sales@themusic.com.au Art Dept Ben Nicol, Felicity Case-Mejia print@themusic.com.au Admin & Accounts Meg Burnham, Bella Bi accounts@themusic.com.au Distro distro@themusic.com.au Subscriptions store.themusic.com.au

Contact Us Melbourne Head Office Ph: 03 9421 4499 459-461 Victoria Street Brunswick West Vic 3055 PO Box 231 Brunswick West Vic 3055 Sydney Ph: 02 9331 7077 Suite 129, 111 Flinders St Surry Hills NSW 2010 Brisbane Ph: 07 3252 9666 WOTSO Fortitude Valley Qld 4006

info@themusic.com.au www.themusic.com.au

Courtney Barnett cover photo by Kane Hibberd. Kendrick Lamar cover photo by Ian Laidlaw.

The Music

18

T h e s ta r t

(Answers On A Postcard), Ezra Furman (Suck The Blood From My Wound), Gwenno (Tir Ha Mor), Young Fathers (In My View), tUnEyArDs (Heart Attack), Suuns (Watch You, Watch Me)... this list could go on, but you get the drift, it was a good year for songs. Hands down the best local live act I witnessed this year was Nice Biscuit. However, plenty of the acts already mentioned above also provided exciting gigs to back up their recorded music (Barnett, Downey, Cool Out Sun, Snowe, VOIID, The Goon Sax). But mention must also be made of soon-to-everyone’s-favourite A Swayze & The Ghosts as well as Tape/Off and The Merindas. And without doubt the best international was US soul singer PP Arnold. She is back for more gigs this month — DO NOT MISS OUT. Also don’t miss out on New Zealand’s Wax Chattels when they return in February, their BIGSOUND showcase was this year’s most intense. And if anyone brings Fortune Shumba back in 2019, lock yourself in for one helluva joyful experience. Away from music, TV bought joy in the form of British shows Killing Eve, The End Of The Fucking World, Detectorists, Mum (not to be confused with banal US sit-com Mom) and Bodyguard. Locally, it’s hard to go past Nanette but there was also Mystery Road, Romper Stomper, Riot, The Great Australian Bake Off and Hard Quiz. The US delivered the jaw-dropping final season of The Americans as well as Barry, Insecure, Santa Clarita Diet, The Good Place, Atlanta: Robbin’ Season, Better Call Saul, Last Week Tonight, Full Frontal, Halt And Catch Fire, Tig Notaro’s Happy To Be Here, The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina and You’re The Worst. And, let’s not forget UK/ US hybrid Trust, Wellington Paranormal (NZ) and Deutschland 86 (Germany). All that TV viewing left little time for films, although Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lady Bird and Annihilation impressed. But not as much as notyet-screened-outside-film-festivals Holiday. Hopefully the the unnerving Swedish film gets picked up for distribution here in the new year. Please read on for more lists as we unveil the full results of our 2018 Writers’ Poll. All staff and contributors lists will appear in their entireity online late December.

Andrew Mast Group Managing Editor


Our contributors

This month Editor’s Letter

18

Toto

47

The best Boxing Day film releases

23

Fleetmac Wood

48

Hannah Story

25

Xmas gifts: shoes

50

editor from Sydney. Former Arts Editor of The

26

Xmas gifts: audio

52

‘Bachelor Editor’.

Xmas gifts: alcohol

54

The best (and worst) Xmas albums and films

56

Guest editorial: Australian Venues Association’s Maz Salt

The Music Writers’ Polls 2018 28 Album Of The Year

29

Mona Foma curator Brian Ritchie

59

Neneh Cherry

60 62

Your Mona Foma cheat sheet

30

Song Of The Year Live Performances Of The Year

31

TV Show and Movie Of The Year

32

The year in numbers

33

The Big Picture

34 36

Pic: Sam Jone

s

2018: It wasn’t all bad

Good Things The Offspring, Dashboard Confessional

38

64

The year in film, TV and arts

40 How not to spend New Year’s Eve The Music staff share their horror stories

Soccer Mommy, Dead Letter Circus

Brendan Crabb Brendan Crabb has been freelancing for The Music for nearly a decade, interviewing many major names in hard rock, metal, classic rock and more along the way. He’s also a cricket tragic, Manly Sea Eagles fan and podcast junkie. Follow him on Twitter @JarOfTripsis.

Your Town Surviving the summer Our top tips for beating the heat

68

Summer suds and summer jams

70

Summer festivals

72 74

Your gigs

76

Howzat! Sasha Velour and Shangela Laquifa Wadley

AN.TV, where she is informally known as the

The Arts

Pic

: Pooneh Ghana

Artist Of The Year

Music, she also currently writes for PEDESTRI-

78

This month’s local highlights

82

The end

44 46

The Music

20

Brendan Crabb pictured with Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall

Shit We Did: Movember

Hannah Story is an arts and culture writer and

T h e s ta r t

Josh Braybrook Josh is passionate about documenting music artists emerging from Melbourne’s vibrant music scene and has been shooting live events and festivals since 2014. You’ve likely seen his face masked by a camera, capturing an array of dynamic photos at most of the city’s major venues. He is also a film editor and emerging screenwriter.


Friendship band PlayStation Classic

WA artist Stella Donnelly’s massive national run, supported by Alice Skye, finally hits the east coast this 1 Dec. The Finally Made Some Friends band tour is Donnelly’s first national tour where she’s brought along her full live band.

Viva la Vivid Following a huge tour last year, US rockers Living Colour are returning to Australia this 15 Dec to perform highlights from their 1988 debut album, Vivid, plus a special encore of their hits. The New York outfit are due to hit most major cities.

Play day Sony’s teeny tiny PlayStation Classic is out Dec 3. Less than half the size of the original PlayStation, the pint-sized console comes with 20 cripplingly nostalgic titles from the era, including Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee.

Beth heads New Zealand indie rockers The Beths wowed crowds with their BIGSOUND appearance this September and now they’re back for a run of headline shows from 19 Dec. They’ll be supported by fellow NZ locals and 2018 BIGSOUND alum, Miss June.

Iliza Shlesinger

Living Colour

Here’s looking at you LA-based comic Iliza Shlesinger hits our shores this month with three performances of her latest comedy special, Elder Millennial. The tour includes an appearance at AAMI Just For Laughs Sydney and starts this 4 Dec. The Beths

The Music

22

T h e s ta r t


Stella Donnelly

Boat Show

Boxing Day releases

Need a dark room to chill in, post Chrissy? Head to the cinema! Ralph Breaks The Internet

Jess Locke

Get it WA-born rockers BOAT SHOW are heading out on their massive end-of-year run starting 30 Nov. It’s your last chance to catch them in 2018, the I Don’t Get It tour will be the band’s last east coast dates for the year.

Sarah Silverman and John C Reilly reprise their roles as loveable misfits Ralph and Vanellope for Ralph Breaks The Internet. This time the pair are out of the arcade and onto the world wide web, where the drag races are gritty, the dark net is a slum, and the Disney Princess are oddly self aware. For anyone who fell in love with this odd couple of digital BFFs during their first wrecking outing, this is the update you’ve been waiting to install.

Gravy train

Holmes & Watson

Paul Kelly is kicking off the festive season with some special Making Gravy shows this month. The Aussie icon will be joined at concerts ‘round the country by some huge hand-picked local names including Alex Lahey, Mojo Juju and Angie McMahon.

Just when you thought the fruit couldn’t hang any lower, Will Ferrell and John C Reilly, stars of Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, have reunited for Holmes & Watson. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most enduring characters have just days to solve a murder in

Locke’n’roll

Buckingham Palace, or the next person to die will be the Queen. Shenanigans of the most anachronistic kind ensue, indubitably my

Jess Locke’s only just wrapped up supporting Tiger Jaw around the country but her own headline tour, celebrating her recent 7” comprising My Body Is An Ecosystem and Nothing At All, starts up in Melbourne, 5 Dec.

dear reader. Expect fun, dumb, post-Chrissy screen action.

Aquaman

Although the DC cinematic universe has been a pretty consistent source of disappointment, early indicators are strong that things might be better down where it’s wetter, under the sea. Jason Mamoa takes the lead on Aquaman’s first standalone film, which looks jam-packed with kingly soul-searching and trident fights. Aquaman’s screen time in Justice League was a little more surly surf bum than defender of the oceans, but maybe the tide has turned? Paul Kelly

The Music

23

T h e s ta r t


Ooze company Following his massive sold-out regional run earlier this year, Melbourne rapper Ivan Ooze is ending 2018 with a bang, playing a headline stint for recent single Deserve. The east coast tour kicks off 7 Dec.

ARIA Award Winners 2018 With the ARIA Awards just gone, here’s who won on the night: Apple Music Album Of The Year

Ivan Ooze

Amy Shark – Love Monster Best Male Artist

Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) Best Female Artist

Amy Shark – Love Monster Best Dance Release PNAU – Go Bang Best Group

5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood Breakthrough Artist

Ruel – Dazed & Confused Best Pop Release

Amy Shark – Love Monster Best Urban Release

Rabbiting on What happens when you cross Peter Rabbit with Game Of Thrones? The mildly traumatising 1978 movie Watership Down, that’s what. This Netflix-made CGI reboot looks a little less nightmare-inducing. Find out for yourself from Christmas Day, 25 Dec.

Hilltop Hoods –

Clark Griswold (feat. Adrian Eagle) Best Independent Release Gurrumul –

Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) Best Rock Album

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel Best Adult Contemporary Album Vance Joy – Nation Of Two Best Country Album

Kasey Chambers & The Fireside Disciples – Campfire Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album Parkway Drive – Reverence

Best Blues & Roots Album Tash Sultana – Flow State

Best Original Soundtrack Or Musical Theatre Cast Album

Jimmy Barnes – Working Class Boy: The Soundtracks Best Children’s Album Justine Clarke –

The Justine Clarke Show!

App of the month: Relaxing Puzzle Box

TOP time Twenty One Pilots arrive in the country this 7 Dec in support of their recently released fifth studio album, Trench. The US duo have a run of arena concerts scheduled for Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

If you’re looking to while away a few hours teasing your brain, this bundle of four beautifully designed puzzlers from game developer Maciej Targoni, aka Rainbow Train, is just the ticket. Each is unique and engaging and you can get the lot in the Apple App Store for $4.49.

Apple Music Song Of The Year 5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood Best Video

Dean Lewis – Be Alright Best Australian Live Act 5 Seconds Of Summer – Meet You There Tour Best International Artist

Camila Cabello – Camila

Music Teacher Of The Year

Scott Maxwell (Grant High School, Mount Gambier)

Up Left Down

The Music

24

T h e s ta r t


Sh*t we did With Maxim Boon

Movember Finally, society has found a productive use for the upper lip! Once a year, men all over the world allow their follicles to let their freak

Royce Da 5’9”

flags fly (from the gob up, at least) sprouting

Inching up US rapper Royce Da 5’9” lands Down Under for his firstever Aussie headline tour this 14 Dec. As well as his extensive solo work, the Detroit hip hop artist has collaborated with some of the biggest names in rap, including Eminem, Dr Dre, Diddy, Logic and J Cole.

Podcast of the month: Dear Joan & Jericha Watership Down

God help anyone seeking advice from Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine’s gloriously offensive creations, antagonistic agony aunts Joan and Jericha. The pair combine decades of experience in “female sexual health, psycho-genital counselling and sports journalism” to guide their audience through life’s little pickles.

a mighty movement of moustaches during the month of November. And not just for the sheer virile heck of it, either. It’s perhaps a problematic side-effect of male pride, but us blokes don’t talk enough about the intimate particulars of our health. As a result, potentially fatal yet treatable illnesses, such as testicular and prostate cancers, take the lives of thousands of men every year. Back in 1999, to try and tackle the stigmas that were causing such needless deaths, a group of young men from Adelaide (yes folks, we Aussies bloody invented Movember!) hit upon the idea of using a month-long mogrow to drive awareness and raise money. And in the two decades since it first started, “Mo Bros” - aka, those taking part in Movember – have collected millions of *insert foreign currency of your choice here* and the Movember movement has become one of the most successful NGOs in the world. So, what more reason did I need to join the cause? Time to start sprouting a new soup strainer, me thinks.

The Verdict It’s important that I preface this report with a few facts about my lousy Anglo-Saxon genes. I am not a hairy man. In fact, I would go so far as to say I am one of the least hirsute gents on god’s green earth. When that comes to the business of beard growth, I suffer from a condition I like to call “Terminal Boy Face.” I am well into my 30s and still regularly get asked for ID. Even for things that don’t require ID – that’s how cherubic my childlike mug is. So, even attempting this altruistic odyssey into the world of facial hair may have turned out to be a biological impossibility. But hey, y’all! Turns out that given time – plus a daily regimen of lip massages – I can (kinda) grow dat mo! I also grew a few dollars to boot, as well as more than a few Insta followers (moustached Maxim is quite the thirst trap). If, as some style soothsayers predict, we have indeed reached the tipping point of peak-beard, humanity may well be entering a new facial hair epoch: the golden age of the ‘tache! And if that’s the case, well, everything’s comin’ up Boon. Twenty One Pilots

The Music

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T h e s ta r t


Seeking an equitable solution in the world of copyright protection With APRA AMCOS and PPCA coming together to form a new copyright protection services body that is due to launch next year, Australian Venues Association’s Maz Salt examines why the association was formed in protest.

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commercial radio, and Australia should be both proud of its accomplishment and wary of multinationals that want to change it. Out of the combined $470 million that was collected by APRA AMCOS and the PPCA in the 17/18 financial year as specified in the respective annual reports, a substantial portion was collected on behalf of global record companies that own copyright to commercial music and is transmitted via royalty arrangements offshore. A large percentage of venues in Australia play and support local, underground and unreleased music in addition to music from countries where copyright ownership is difficult to ascertain. If we are paying large fees for copyright we want to make sure that it is being directed to the right place, not simply to large record companies. There are also questions about equity — PPCA currently charge some venues according to the price of a meal. We would also ask why the rates differ so wildly from barbershops, to retail businesses, to pokies venues, to cafes, bars and nightclubs. Pity the business that has multiple sides to one shop — APRA and PPCA want to charge different rates for different activities within the same business. You would go to a barbershop for a haircut but why do people go to a nightclub? The music is critical, but don’t forget socialising for a range of subcultures and the fact that we are already paying the DJ or the band to perform what is predominantly original music. Paying APRA AMCOS or PPCA so they can pay the artist seems ridiculous, particularly when they can’t say with any clarity or confidence that the fees we pay for a specific event or a specific venue are going to the artist they are charging us for! There are lots of discussions about minimum rates for artists to ensure a living wage and the AVA would love to be a part of that discussion, but we feel that making APRA AMCOS and PPCA more accountable is critical to that dialogue — both separately and together as the OneMusic joint venture. What it comes down to is the price of shit. The reality of this discussion is that where a venue can pass that cost on it will. We are all aware of the image that venue owners can have (‘Mercedes-driving house-owners’ was one great slur made on social media this week) but not all operators are rolling in buckets of cash; hospitality has one of the highest rates of failure in small business. It’s an extremely rewarding but tough gig. Many of the people you see with successful venues have spent a lifetime working on both them and other venues that may not have been successful to get where they are. In reality, operators will have to pass on these additional costs to the artist and the touring agency or pass them onto the consumer. In the case of a venue that doesn’t feel that it can ask that from its demographic, it will wear the cost. If it’s passing it on to you via ticket prices and surcharges then you lose, if it’s passing it onto the artist they lose and if the venue wears the cost we all lose as it will only provide further barriers to live music in Australia, and who in their right mind wants to see that?

he Australian Venues Association (AVA) was formed in early 2018 by a group of concerned Melbourne venue owners. It now represents a raft of venues from restaurants to festivals, cafes, live music venues, nightclubs and small bars. It is a not-for-profit and everyone involved so far is a volunteer. We hope to grow into an industry-wide body that can represent our members’ interests in a range of fields, but the impetus around the formation was both the current and proposed (under a new joint venture called OneMusic) fees charged by APRA AMCOS and the PPCA for copyright protection services in Australia. If you use copyright music in your venue you need a licence from the authors of that music. APRA AMCOS define’use’ as “anything from playing the radio, turning on a TV in the reception area, copying music from one device to another, streaming music through an iPad, piping music through your phone system, using a background music supplier, organising a concert and more”. Currently, this is collected through two different companies; APRA AMCOS and PPCA. The new OneMusic joint venture, set to launch in mid-2019, looks to bring into place a new fee structure that integrates APRA AMCOS and PPCA’s current fee models for venues. One case study we have looked at sees fees for a local 200-capacity Melbourne nightclub reportedly increase from a negotiated rate of $28,000 to $100,000 a year. For some venues, this new fee could be more than rent and liquor licensing combined and is of course just as important to the success of the venue. It could very easily lead to nights closing, venues closing and live music events slowing down. There are historical grievances around these aforementioned agencies that we would love to have clarified but remain unanswered. “Where’s the money?” probably sums it up best. None of our members dispute that there is a right to collect on behalf of copyright holders, indeed many of the venue owners we represent also are registered with APRA AMCOS as copyright owners and are musicians of long-standing tenure. The picture is a lot more intricate than the ‘venue owners trying to rip off impoverished musicians’ rhetoric that APRA AMCOS and the PPCA would have you believe. The AVA has therefore formed a committee that includes songwriters as well as venue owners in an attempt to establish an equitable solution founded on common ground and mutual respect. Much of the music that is commercialised in this country has its beginnings in the local pub, small bar and local festival circuit long before it becomes commercially exploited. Musicians put in years and years of dedication to honing their craft but for all of the successful artists emerging, there are also plenty of pretty quiet gigs that are supported by the passion of the venue owner. The critical infrastructure needed to support a diverse music ecology includes small venues, large venues, festivals, artists, education, community radio, artist managers and recording studios, as well as labels and

“We feel that making APRA AMCOS and PPCA more accountable is critical to that dialogue.”

The Music

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Guest Editorial


2018

Wr i t e r s ’ Polls Art i s t

o f

The Music annually takes a deep dive into the minds of its contributors to find out what made their year. The votes have been cast, the results tallied and 2018’s best and brightest can finally be revealed. By Hannah Story.

t h e

1 Childish G a mb mbino

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estrangement care of Instagram Stories, and it only made us like her more — for both her unabashed persona and her slick rhymes. Meanwhile, her appearance back in June on Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns web series managed to upstage Jerry Seinfeld himself. Courtney Barnett is the only Aussie in the very top spots, but it only seems right that she be up there after she copped our Album Of The Year title — and have you seen her live shows? Still, she’s joined by four other Aussies to round out the top ten: Amy Shark, Baker Boy, Mojo Juju and Gang Of Youths. Baker Boy and Mojo Juju both could be higher — their music drawing on their Indigenous heritages has been almost explosive, forcing people to sit up and pay attention. Meanwhile, Gang Of Youths are one of the most hard-working bands on the live scene this year, backing up the praise for last year’s Go Farther In Lightness. Amy Shark finally gets the acknowledgement she deserves for her huge ARIAwinning debut Love Monster and will in all likelihood be taking out (if not a top five placing) next year’s Hottest 100.

= 4 . Dr a k e

=4. J a n e l l e Monae

co

3 . C o u rt n e y B a r n e tt

onsidering the huge cultural impact of This Is America, of course The Music’s writers voted for Childish Gambino as their Artist Of The Year. On top of that, he released the Summer Pack EP as a digital download, gifting us with two bonafide summertime jams. His cancelled Australian tour was one of the most hyped of the year, and the rescheduled dates abroad are expected to be some of Donald Glover’s last under the Childish Gambino moniker — that fact certainly had punters scrambling to lock down their tickets. Outside of the musical world, Glover starred as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, all as details continue to emerge about his Guava Island film project, which also features Rihanna. Then the world’s sassiest, wittiest rapper Cardi B came in hot at #2: while her debut studio album Invasion Of Privacy only came in at #6 on the Albums list, there’s been so much hot tea coming from Cardi B it’s impossible to ignore her this year. After having a very public brawl with fellow rapper Nicki Minaj in September, Cardi let us all in on everything building up to the

P i c: Ju

P i c : Po o n e h G h a n

a

2. C a r d i B

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The Rest

Past winners

6. Kanye West, 7. Amy Shark, 8. Baker Boy, 9. Mojo Juju, 10. Gang Of Youths

2017: Kendrick Lamar, 2016: David Bowie, 2015: Courtney Barnett, 2014: FKA twigs. 2013: Lorde, 2012: Tame Impala/Frank Ocean, 2011: Gotye

The Music

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Writers’ Polls


A L B U M

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P i c:

Poo

neh

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T e llll m e H o w Y o u R e a llY l lY F e e l

fter losing out in the 2015 The Music Writers’ Poll to Tame Impala’s third record Currents, Courtney Barnett’s grittier second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, has finally taken its deserved place at the top of the pack. It’s also the first time the Aussie has nabbed the top spot since the aforementioned Tame win. Another moment: it’s the first time a woman/band with a woman in it has taken the top spot since 2010 when Arcade Fire won for The Suburbs. Interestingly, aside from Tame Impala — and it could be argued that band really is just Kevin Parker — it looks like solo dudes are usually The Music writers’ jam for #1 (see: Kendrick in ‘17, Bowie in ‘16) since 2011. So it’s incredibly cool to see a young woman top the list, especially solo. Tell Me How You Really Feel has all the hallmarks of a great Australian album, Barnett’s wordy, witty songwriting, delivered mostly in a lackadaisical drawl, interrogating uncomfortable topics like violence against women and bullying online. While lead single Nameless, Faceless dropped in February, then the full album in May, it felt particularly of its time when in June, young Melbourne comedian, Eurydice Dixon was tragically murdered in a local park. Inspired by a Margaret Atwood quote, Barnett sings, “I wanna walk through the park in the dark, men are scared that women will laugh at them. Women are scared that men will kill them.” The whole record is ripe with moments of emotional clarity and Barnett’s skill as

both a shit-hot guitarist and a songwriter are on show, the music taking on more of the darkness and almost garage elements of her live sets. Tell Me How You Really Feel is an artist’s statement, sometimes boiling over with anger on say, I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch, before turning back to the careful study of life’s minutiae on City Looks Pretty. The Presets and DZ Deathrays are the only other Aussie artists to join Barnett in the top ten, at #3 and #7 respectively. The Presets’ electro-dance is some of the best in the country, if not in the world right now, while DZ’s heavy but very fun music is only getting better with every record. Continuing the run of solo women starting with Barnett, Janelle Monae and Kali Uchis join her as #4 and #5, with Cardi B and Florence + The Machine taking the powerful female artist count up to five in the top ten, which gives us a 50-50 split for maybe the first time. That’s not to say the rest of the top ten is dude-heavy: you’ve got dream-pop duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, Beach House, skewing the list even more in favour of young, extremely talented women. We’d be amiss to not talk about Parquet Courts at #2, the NYC indie band that so speaks to an Australian temperament — it’s the kind of laidback, but weirdly high energy music that helps them fit with our existing surf-garage-rock scene so seamlessly. Finishing up the list is Kanye West. It’s not his strongest album, but it’s still got bite.

3. The Presets

4 . J a n e ll e M o n a e

5. Kali Uchis

Wide Awake

Hi Viz

D i rt y C o mput e r

Isolation

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2 . P a r q u e t C o urt s

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P i c : B e n S u l l iva

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A

Courtney Barnett

P i c: Eb r u Y il d

The Rest

Past winners

6. Cardi B – Invasion Of Privacy, 7. DZ Deathrays – Bloody Lovely, 8. Florence + The Machine – High As Hope, 9. Beach House – 7, 10. Kanye West – Ye

2017: Kendrick Lamar – DAMN., 2016: David Bowie – Blackstar, 2015: Tame Impala – Currents, 2014: Chet Faker – Built On Glass, 2013: Kanye West – Yeezus, 2012: Tame Impala – Lonerism, 2011: Bon Iver – Bon Iver, 2010: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs, 2009: Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

The Music

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Writers’ Polls


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Childish gambino

This is america

he 2018 Writers’ Poll Song Of The Year is super noteworthy because of the high representation of people of colour in the top five — that’s four out of five artists. This Is America, of course, topped the list by a wide margin and is one of the most politically charged anthems of the last decade. Childish Gambino addresses both gun violence and racial discrimination in the United States in an incredibly confronting way both in the song and in its incredibly impactful video clip. It’s undoubtedly the video clip of the year, as Gambino draws upon viral dance crazes and historical cultural stereotypes including the Jim Crow caricature to confront police violence against black Americans and the horrors of racially motivated mass shootings. The whole thing is aching to be unpacked and makes a statement about what it is we are willing to look past in order to live without guilt, to avoid our history. It’s followed by an equally powerful Indigenous Australian anthem in Mojo Juju’s Native Tongue: a song the artist describes as about self-empowerment and reclaiming culture. It also so happens to be groovy as hell. It forces you to consider the relationship between this country and its First Peoples and the ongoing discrimination experienced by them, enacted in paternalistic policy, or say, ignoring the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Song Of The Year is also a really interesting category because it’s made up of six women — not including Sweater Curse, a band which also has a woman in it. That ratio is a super exciting one, featuring Janelle Monae’s smooth Make Me Feel, plus includes a stack of Aussies in Mojo Juju, G Flip, Courtney Barnett and Laura Jean. That’s just over a half-half local to international split in the top ten (well, technically 11 as there was a tie for tenth), not taking into account the presence of Troye Sivan on 1999. Didirri was the other Aussie in the mix at the pointy end. Talking viral videos, Drake’s In My Feelings has to get a mention — it turned into an internet meme challenge thanks to comedian Shiggy’s pink tracksuited dance, with the new Queer Eye guys and Will Smith giving it a crack. Drake then took some of his favourite examples and dropped them into the clip. Interestingly, Drake’s vote was split with God’s Plan also garnering a few votes and even Nice For What. Barnett too had multiple votes for different songs, with Charity and Hopefulessness also getting some nods. The Music Writers’ Poll is not complete without a walloping of punk, thanks to British rockers IDLES, and a pure dose of pop, which Charli XCX & Troye Sivan’s nostalgia feast, 1999, delivers. Its video clip is also a contender for top video clip of the year. The song is fun, pure and simple, and if you don’t like fun, that’s your problem.

2. Mojo juju

3. Janelle Monae

=4. G Flip

=4. Drake

Native Tongue

Make Me Feel

About you

In My Feelings

The Rest

Past winners

6. IDLES – Danny Nedelko, 7. Courtney Barnett – Nameless, Faceless, 8. Sweater Curse – Can’t See You Anymore, 9. Laura Jean – Girls On The TV, =10. Charli XCX & Troye Sivan – 1999, =10. Didirri – Formaldehyde

2017: Lorde – Green Light, 2016: Beyonce – Formation, 2015: Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta, 2014:, FKA twigs – Two Weeks, 2013: Daft Punk – Get Lucky (feat Pharrell), 2012: Tame Impala – Elephant, 2011: Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (feat Kimbra)

The Music

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Writers’ Polls


I n t e r n a t i o n a l

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P e r f o r m a n c e

1 Kendrick Lamar

Pic: Ma

rkus R a

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ur live act list is super diverse, showing that our writers’ pool is super diverse — just as it should be. But of course the winner is Kendrick Lamar, our Artist Of The Year for 2017. Seeing Lamar live is the kind of visceral experience any devoted hip hop head would sell their left foot for. And we’ve just gotta be grateful he even deigned to bring DAMN. down this way. Being in a stadium or Splendour where the entire crowd is singing along to 2018 Hottest 100 Winner HUMBLE., and being able to watch Lamar, possibly the best rapper of the ‘10s, at the height of his powers, is a privilege.

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2. Grace Jones, 3. Aldous Harding, 4. Bob Dylan, 5. The Killers, 6. Panic! At The Disco, 7. Queens Of The Stone Age, 8. The Bronx, 9. Pink, 10. Mogwai

2017: Patti Smith, 2016: The Cure, 2015: Blur, 2014: Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, 2013: Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, 2012: Radiohead

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festival they could, as well as SXSW. It’s all an impressive effort and altogether stands as testament to the power of their live sets. Gang Of Youths are joined in the top ten by a stack of others from across genres — from the heavy music of Parkway Drive, to the indie/alternative of Alex Cameron and Emerson Snowe, the melodic punk of Luca Brasi and the snarling rock of Drones offshoot Tropical Fuck Storm. It’s no surprise that our writers enjoy brutal rock music — the type of shows where you can hurl yourself into a mosh — considering the category’s previous winners: mostly Violent Soho and Nick Cave/Warren Ellis projects. Only Carmouflage Rose represents hip hop/ rap this year, but he can easily hold the genre up on his own, delivering unique performances at mid-range festivals and small venues, with just his excellent debut EP Taste in his arsenal.

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ho else could win Best Aussie Live Performance but Gang Of Youths? They’re easily the hardest-working band in the business and gained the most votes from our writers by far. They kicked off the year doing the festival rounds, before headlining Splendour In The Grass, playing the NRL Grand Final — befuddling some sports fans who had no idea who they were — and finally ending the year with a huge sellout national tour, breaking venue records along the way. They’ve even found time for US and European excursions, playing just about every summer

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Folk singer-songwriter Aldous Harding breaks up the nostalgia-fest, the 28-yearold’s more intimate live shows an excellent counterpoint to the massive venues the rest of our top five can captivate. She’s on her own here in our top ten: the acts making up the rest of the top ten — Panic! At The Disco, Queens Of The Stone Age — can all command large venues, but that closeness a smaller venue affords is part of what makes her live shows feel so special. Whether you caught her in Melbourne or Sydney, or at Laneway Festival, there’s no denying Harding’s more understated singer-songwriter talent and the way she can move a crowd.

Past winners

1 Gang Of Youths M i c:

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The Rest

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Historically The Music love a big act — a retro(ish) act playing a kind of once in a lifetime show: see 2017 winner Patti Smith, 2016 winner The Cure and even 2015 winner Blur. That’s not saying all those names aren’t still current, just that they reached the peaks of their powers maybe a few years ago (don’t @ me). They’re still worth seeing, it’s a huge bucket list thing and often they’re still incredibly talented, the kind of seminal artists who broke an entire genre, which honestly probably explains the high standing of everyone from Grace Jones to the obvious Bob Dylan to even The Killers this year. Jones at 70-years-old still puts on an unrivalled R&B show, while Nobel Prize winner Dylan, at 77, is someone you’d be a fool to miss. Sure, The Killers don’t have that kind of longevity, but they did define the sound of indie-rock in the ‘00s and, for some reason as late as March 2018, their 2003 hit single Mr Brightside was still in charting in the UK.

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Kira Puru’s groovy pop is some of the best in the country right now — it’s fun and fiery and sizzles on stage and, if you thought you could keep your hips in check at one of her shows, you’ll be very quickly found wrong. Meanwhile Courtney Barnett’s rock music is at times guttural, taking on a garagey bend as she wails on her guitar and lets her clever lyrics speak for themselves. She took out Best Aussie Live Performance back in 2015 and it’s only a matter of time before our Album Of The Year winner does it again.

The Rest

Past winners

2. Parkway Drive, 3. Kira Puru, 4. Courtney Barnett, 5. Alex Cameron, 6. Emerson Snowe, 7. Luca Brasi, 8. The Presets, 9. Tropical Fuck Storm, 10. Carmouflage Rose

2017: Midnight Oil, 2016: Violent Soho, 2015: Courtney Barnett, 2014: Violent Soho, 2013: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, 2012: Dirty Three, 2011: Grinderman

The Music

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Writers’ Polls


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Possibly the most dominant subtext running through our top ten is how often we hide our truest natures. Maniac, easily the most A-List laden show of this year’s winning crop, saw Jonah Hill and Emma Stone star in Patrick Somerville’s dark comedy wrestling with the complexities of mental illness. The Haunting Of Hill House took the ghost story trope into new, psychologically sophisticated territory to explore the ties that bind and the hurts that fracture a family with a tragic past shrouded in secrecy. The BBCmade Bodyguard delivered a taut, politically incisive window on the threat of extremism through the lens of unresolved emotional trauma, while Killing Eve, another BBC success featuring a powerhouse performance by Sandra Oh, also used counter-intelligence as a vehicle to look at the yin and yang of empathy vs sociopathy. BoJack Horseman and Better Call Saul — no strangers to this annual review — both brought their A-game to the TV party again this year, while Big Mouth hit

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t’s the golden age of TV, so they say. And since we’re all spending so much time with the ol’ gogglebox, it’s probably not drawing too long a bow to say our watching habits could be a kind of litmus test for the psyche. So, what do the telly triumphs singled out by our writers reveal about the minds behind his mag? Well, that we’re all a bit afraid. But if that sounds a tad bleak for a rousing review of the year’s best bingewatching, we’d beg to differ: millions of years of evolution didn’t make us a bunch o’ scaredy-cats for nothing. Fear keeps us alert, keeps us alive, and keeps us honest. And it’s those finer fear factors that can be found percolating through many of this year’s highest ranking shows.

the “it’s funny cos it’s true” bullseye, ep after ep after ep. But it’s our eclectic top three that seems to reveal the most about what anxieties might be praying on our collective minds at present. The Handmaid’s Tale, starring the irrepressible Elisabeth Moss, continued to feel terrifyingly prescient in a world riven by political divides, while Donald Glover (the king of this year’s poll results) showed us how to see the funny side of struggle, making lightning strike twice for dramedy Atlanta’s second season. But it’s a newcomer to this year’s top ten that takes the crown, with a show that took existential terror and spun it into comedy genius. The Good Place, helmed by Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper and Ted Danson, is a heaven-sent sitcom about what might be waiting for us in the great beyond. It seems we’re a bit preoccupied with what comes next, but at least we’re headed there with a smile on our face.

The Rest

Past winners

2. Atlanta, 3. The Handmaid’s Tale, 4. Big Mouth, 5. Better Call Saul, 6. BoJack Horseman, 7. Killing Eve, 8. Bodyguard, 9. The Haunting Of Hill House, 10. Maniac

2017: Stranger Things, 2016: Stranger Things, 2015: Game Of Thrones, 2014: True Detective, 2013: Breaking Bad, 2012: Breaking Bad, 2011: Breaking Bad

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1 Black panther

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ing films in Australia this year. Add to its smash success and cultural import a script that is actually good, plus the thirst appeal of Michael B Jordan, and you’ve got yourself The Music ‘s Movie Of The Year. But our writers are also into big heart-wrenching musical dramas, which explains #2 and #3 — Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born. It’s no surprise a collection of music writers would froth over a Queen biopic, but the performance of Rami Malek alone earns its place at the top of our list. Meanwhile, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut with his remake of 1937 film A Star Is Born exposed us both to Cooper’s singing voice and to Lady Gaga’s impressive acting chops. Still, our love of blockbusters and musical dramas doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate an auteur film: In Bruges director Martin McDonagh’s confronting and discomfiting Three Billboards Outside

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urns out The Music’s writers are into Marvel movies. Who knew? Looking at our top ten we love a bloody fantasy/superhero story, starting with Black Panther, before big-upping Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 (the latter’s first film topped our poll back in 2016). Black Panther is of course #1 and is also the most culturally significant, an allblack superhero movie and the first Marvel flick to be helmed by a black director in Ryan Coogler. Black Panther broke box office records and became the highestgrossing film by a black director and, as it stands, sits at #3 on the list of top gross-

Ebbing, Missouri, rounded out the top five, while Greta Gerwig’s first film Lady Bird was at #6. Both films were nominated for plenty of Oscars this year, including Best Picture, but only Three Billboards... won, thanks to the strength of Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell’s performances. While Three Billboards... tackled homophobia, racism and sexual violence, Lady Bird took a more subdued view of the world — it’s a feminine approach to ‘00s/’10s mumblecore movies where Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet start to come of age, but where the focus really is on female friendships and the relationships between mothers and their daughters.

The Rest

Past winners

2. Bohemian Rhapsody, 3. A Star Is Born, 4. Avengers: Infinity War, 5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 6. Lady Bird, 7. Deadpool 2, 8. Solo: A Star Wars Story, 9. Sweet Country, 10. Annihilation

2017: Blade Runner 2049, 2016: Deadpool, 2015: Max Max: Fury Road, 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel 2013: Gravity, 2012: The Dark Knight Rises, 2011: Drive

The Music

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Writers’ Polls


2018: the Year in Numbers

It’s hard to believe, but the end of 2018 is very much in sight. As you’ve seen, our writers have sharpened their pencils, put on their thinking caps and put together their ‘Best Of’ 2018 lists. So, just how much goes into those lists? We’ve tallied the votes, as well as asked the team why they picked their number one, to look back at the year by numbers.

1

My number one was...

Sam Wall Vic Editor

My number one TV show was…

84

TV shows voted for

68

Adventure Time

The final season flooped my heart.

Movies that we loved

Jessica Dale Assistant Editor/Social Media Coordinator

My number one artist was… Gang Of Youths Gang Of Youths have gone from strength to strength this year, which includes opening for the Foo Fighters on their US tour, launching their own festival, and breaking venue records across Australia - and they deserve of success and accolade they get.

Mark Neilsen National Editor - Magazines

My number one film was… Three Billboards

3

Outside Ebbing, Missouri

From the time the trailer dropped with

The number of billboards that made it into our top films of the year

Frances McDormand dropping the swears, you knew this film was going to be one hell of a ride. The trailer was so funny and initial thoughts it was a comedy soon gave way to a very stirring, emotional experience on witnessing the film. Nothing is black and white in the movie, you think you know who to root for, but then something shifts and not everything is as clear as before.

Lauren Baxter Editorial Assistant

My number one song was… Normal People Never ones to stick to the conventional, Fucked Up’s Normal People is a genredefying, post-punk anthem with indie-rock

352

T he number of gigs our wri t ers vo t ed for

hooks that sound as familiar as they are original. It twists through different sonic narratives in its attempts to make sense of this thing called life and calls for dancing, moshing, singing, thrashing and everything in between.

167

T he number of in t ern at ion a l gigs t h at m ade our wri t ers t op fiv e shows of t he y e a r

Daniel Cribb Editor

My number one international gig was… Pink Everything just worked, and that has to

be attributed to how hard working Pink

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T he number of swee t, swee t Aussie gigs t h at could h av e been # 1

and her team are. The band was tight, the backing dances were on fire and Pink didn’t miss a beat. It was mind-blowing watching her fly around the entire arena while nailing soaring vocal lines.

Neil Griffiths Editor

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albums t hat made it in t o t his y e ar’s final lis t

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Individual songs t hat were vo t ed for

Art is t s t hat could have t opped t he y e ar

My number one Australian gig was… PNAU I caught PNAU at Splendour this year and it was easily one of the biggest highlights all weekend. The colours! The lights! The sounds! Nick Littlemore losing his shit on stage! PNAU’s live show is a 100% must see event for any fan of live music.

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City Calm Down Photo by

Joshua B r ay b r o o k The Forum, 14 June 2018

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ressed in matching black outfits, homegrown talent City Calm Down waste no time with pleasantries, opening with the frantic guitar cracker Distraction/Losing Sleep. The moody Blood follows before the lads take things back to 2012 with the Joy Division-esque Pleasure & Consequence. Throughout the evening the quartet is joined by various touring musicians playing a variety of instruments from the trumpet to the saxophone, adding another dimension to the band’s already invigorating live performance. Vocalist Jack Bourke’s baritone commands the crowd’s attention during songs such as the pulsating If There’s A Light On, the fast-paced Falling and Blame. The crowd can’t get enough of Bourke and his bandmates as they dance along to these fantastic tunes, with one particularly tall fella at the front of stage continually throwing his arms in the air and singing his heart out. The band gets nostalgic before the synth-heavy Decision Fatigue, explaining how they formed 10 years earlier after seeing The Presets in this very same venue, with the electronic act coincidentally playing here the following evening. Joan, I’m Disappearing, one of City Calm Down’s best songs from sophomore album Echoes In Blue, has the eager crowd bopping along before the thrilling Rabbit Run and 80s synth rocker Your Fix end their hour-long set. The bustling crowd clap and cheer as they’re bathed in darkness before the band return for their inevitable encore. The epic title track Echoes In Blue is followed by the anthemic In This Modern Land, with City Calm Down asserting their status as one of the best live Australian acts going ‘round.

Tobias Handke

To read the full story head to theMusic.com.au

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What a wonderful world Let’s face it — it’s been another muvva-fudger of a year, with enough human misery and ecological horror to send even the most optimistic of us into an existential tailspin. But before you smash a handful of Valium and lock yourself away in a bunker somewhere, take heart, dear reader: 2018 wasn’t all bad. Here are a few uplifting reasons why it was a glasshalf-full kinda year. Illustrations by Felicity Case-Mejia

emember back in December 2016, when we all collectively breathed a sigh of relief and thought, ‘Well, thank fuck that year from hell is over. Phew! It’s gonna be nothin’ but plain sailing from here in out, you guys.’ Oh, what poor, damn fools we were. Between escalating climate change, white supremacists, Manus and Naru, #MeToo, the alt-right, ScumMo, and the endless sushi-train of steaming poop that is Trump’s White House, 2018 has kept up the trend of soul-crushing FML that’s been the idee fixe of the past three years. But as earth completes another lap around the sun, we at The Music are refusing to give in to the dread. We’ve scoured the year’s feel-good stories so you can see out 2018 with a just lil’ bit of hope.

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New Zealand’s First Baby’s debut at the UN

Ezra Miller’s Playboy shoot

The Wentworth by-election

With the shocking revelations of the scale of sexual abuse being wielded by Hollywood’s power brokers, most notably by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a dark secret of the entertainment elite was brought to public light. But as the patriarchal status quo was toppled, we saw a shift in the previously entrenched culture of discrimination that not only empowered women but also those existing outside the heteronormative. While Ezra Miller, star of Justice League and Fantastic Beasts, is by no means the first actor to openly discuss sexuality, the 26-year-old became a symbol of a change in the movie industry by posing for the cover of Playboy magazine, with an accompanying interview discussing gender-fluidity and polyamory. Given recent attacks on the trans community, from both President Trump and closer to home Aus PM Scott Morrison, Miller offers an A-list level rallying cry for tolerance and open-mindedness when it comes to gender identity and sexuality.

We don’t think it would be hyperbole to say that Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is one of the most inspiring political figures in the world today. Not content with being the first world leader to give birth while in office (not to mention her progressive politics and the unparalleled diversity of her cabinet), she also made history in September by being the first leader to bring their baby, Neve Te Aroha, to the United Nations General Assembly. Ardern appeared with her three-month-old daughter in the New York-based hub for global diplomacy before giving a wonderful speech at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.

After being ousted by his own party, former PM Malcolm Turnbull resigned from parliament precipitating a by-election in his constituency of Wentworth. Formerly a steadfastly safe seat for the Liberals, the local election became a litmus test for the nation’s political yen, denied the chance to elect the newly installed PM Scott Morrison after an internal coup that saw yet another leadership spill. Despite some uncertainty in the immediate wake of election day, as postal and absentee votes were hurriedly collated, independent candidate Kerryn Phelps was declared the new member for Wentworth, joining the Lower House crossbench in the largest official byelection swing against a government in Australian political history. The significance of the win has been seen as a microcosm of the same anti-right backlash witnessed in the US, offering a reassuring sign that public sensibilities have not succumbed to the populism that has seemed such a conspicuous force in recent geopolitics.

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Elon Musk sends his car into space

It’s been far from a flawless year for ol’ mate Elon Musk. The man who might well be humanity’s best hope for becoming a multi-planet species has made a few questionable choices in 2018, from smoking the whacky-tobaccy on camera with Joe Rogan to starting several wincing scandals with a triggerhappy Twitter finger. But this is a feature about the good stuff of 2018, so we’re going to focus on what could arguably be the most perfect balancing act between being a baller and nerd ever accomplished. In February, as a demonstration of the launch capacity of Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket, Musk launched his very own Tesla Roadster into a billion year orbit around Mars. With a mannequin in the driving seat wearing one of Space X’s cool AF space suits, live footage of the car beginning its epic journey was relayed around the world (literally). Not only was this a feat of amazing engineering, it was also done with such whimsy and dorky humour it will ever be simultaneous one of the cleverest and dumbest things every accomplished by humankind.

A year of marriage equality in Australia There has never been a more nail biting use of boring data analysis than during the eternity-seeming five minutes David Kalish of the Australian Bureau of Statistics kept the nation on the edge of its seat before finally revealing the landslide victory for same-sex marriage equality in November last year. The right for same-sex couples to marry was made law by December and in the past year, scores of couples have tied the knot, finally given the equal dignity to have their relationships recognised. And because


we’re a tiny bit partial to the odd soupcon of schadenfreude here at The Music, it was also satisfying to see the backlash against former PM Malcolm Turnbull, who despite putting the LGBTQIA+ community through the humiliation of the NO campaign, attempted to take credit for marriage equality on Twitter on the anniversary of the result. Sorry, not sorry Mal.

The Trump Blimp As demagogues go, Donald Trump has given satirists plenty to work with. The tangerine skin, the pursed sphincter of a mouth, the fairy-floss combover, the teeny-tiny hands — there’s plenty for caricaturists to ham-up. But one unignorable piece of protest art emerged in 2018 that perfectly captured another of Trump’s most odious qualities: his childlike penchant for temper tantrums. The giant inflatable blimp in the shape of a baby-Trump, complete with diaper, first took to the skies over London, when the American president made his first official state visit to the UK. But it has since floated around the world, drifting above protest marches across America and beyond. Expect to see a lot more of the Trump baby blimp in 2019.

Ethnic, cultural and gender victories in the American Midterms

While we may not be directly involved with American politics, the globally reaching consequences of Donald Trump’s chaotic term in office has had the world on tenterhooks. So the Midterm Elections, which were viewed by many political commentators as a crucial referendum on Trump’s ability to lead the land of the free, still had many of us Down Under rapt with anticipation. The results were not just a partisan victory for the Democrats, who not only took back the House of Representatives but also several key Governorships, they were also a stunning victory for women of colour and minorities. Several historic, defiantly progressive firsts were achieved, including the youngest woman and the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress, and the first openly gay Governor.

BDE

They may be just three little letters, but they represent something of a very much larger scale: big dick energy. The social media phenom began in late June when Ariana Grande tweeted (and then quickly deleted) about former fiance Pete Davidson’s substantial dong. Now, in the year of #MeToo, a story about male genitals sounds a little tone-deaf. But BDE is not merely a matter of anatomy, but rather a state of mind. It describes someone with confidence without cockiness, charisma without self-centeredness, and animal magnetism without sexual entitlement. Best of all though, BDE has nothing to do with gender — or in fact the size of a penis. Twitter was abuzz with suggestions of women with lashings of BDE, including the likes of Serena Williams, Rihanna, and Australia’s own Cate Blanchett. It might seem strange that the male appendage could be used as a feminist totem, but for many, it was an appropriation that really captured the empowerment and defiance of a post #MeToo world.

Hannah Gadsby conquers the globe

In March 2017, Hannah Gadsby announced her intention to retire from stand-up comedy with a swansong show enigmatically titled Nanette. Those who saw it during its premiere season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival left the show shellshocked. After a typically joke-laden intro, Gadsby took her final show in an extraordinary direction, unleashing a furious rebuke to toxic masculinity and the patriarchal discrimination that has impacted the lives of women, LGBTQ-

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IA+ folk and other minorities for decades. The show was instantly declared a masterpiece, picking up the coveted Barry Award at MICF, followed by the Best Comedy Show Award at Edinburgh Festival. A massive New York season followed, released by Netflix as a comedy special, sending the kudos of Nanette into the stratosphere. For many, Gadsby’s words were an expression of unflinching defiance in a climate when many people are living in fear and uncertainty. There are many extraordinary moments in Nanette, but one quote that perhaps best captures its ferocious spirit is this: “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.” Here here.

The spider-man of Paris In late May, a sunny afternoon in Paris took a nearlydisastrous turn when a four-year-old child managed to scramble over the railing of a balcony on the fourth story of an apartment building. The toddler dangled high above the concrete paving slabs below, as horrified bystanders looked on expecting a tragedy to unfold. But then, something miraculous happened. 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama sprang into action, scaling the outside of the building in mere seconds to rescue the child from what would have been an almost certainly fatal fall. The incredible incident was captured by multiple mobile phones, and stories of the man dubbed “the spider-man of Paris” quickly made headlines around the world. Following the rescue, Gassama left the scene, with no expectation of reward or accolade. However, once tracked down by the media a few days later, the Malian immigrant was granted French citizenship by President Emmanuel Macron in recognition of his extraordinary act of heroism.


You can never have too much of a good thing

“I

t’s been a long time, I’ll do my best to remember.” The year was 1994 and according to lead guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman, The Offspring were “just trying to figure out what we were gonna do with our lives and how long we could make this punk rock thing happen”. “We never really thought we’d make a living doing it,” he remembers of the time. “It was just what we loved doing for fun... It was something you might get away with for a few years but it certainly wasn’t going to be a career. But we didn’t care, we still loved doing what we were doing. We loved touring on weekends and summer vacations and playing the odd local gig during the week so we thought, ‘Let’s make another record.’” That record was Smash and as time would come to tell, it was the record that changed everything for the band. Now as it approaches its 25th anniversary, the iconic ‘90s outfit are heading Down Under to play it in its entirety. Here we go track by track with Noodles to find out why “you gotta keep ‘em separated”.

Time To Relax

Smash hits Almost 25 years ago, Epitaph Records released what would become the best-selling independent album of all time. Lauren Baxter travels back to 1994 with Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman to find out how The Offspring made Smash.

Return to The Places Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba speaks to Rod Whitfield about preparing to revisit 2001’s The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most.

“John Mayer [not that one] is a voice-over artist and we wanted to get somebody to give commentary in between songs and so we hired him to come in and do a lot of this intro and you know just kind of cheesy, like introducing lounge acts in between the songs. It was really humorous to us and got people to hopefully pay attention that another song was coming.”

Nitro (Youth Energy) “You know, which is really the intro to the record. We wanted something that started off with a drum roll and then just straight into heavy guitar, bass and drums; uptempo, punk rock sounding stuff. The riff in the intro is real simple. Almost like a Chuck Berry double stop on speed kind of thing. But also something we thought the kids would sing along to. It’s pretty straightforward structure-wise.”

Bad Habit “Bad Habit‘s just a fun one right? Really kinda about a guy... You know, freeway shootings were a big deal back then, in like the early ‘90s, and most of them were indiscriminate — people just shooting from car to car when they went into a road rage. They didn’t call it road rage so much yet, it was really just shooting, random shootings on the LA freeway. And Dexter was a very slow driver and he would get in the fast lane and he would either be writing songs or going over his school homework and forget about how fast he was going or how slow he was going really. So people would be ripping around him all pissed off. And I’m the guy who’d be getting pissed off. I’m the guy who drove like a maniac, screaming and yelling at all the slow morons in the fast lane, so...”

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ock bands have long celebrated some of the pivotal albums of their careers with dedicated anniversary tours, playing their most iconic records end to end in celebration with their audience. And that’s exactly what Dashboard Confessional are doing when they perform at the debut Good Things Festival. The American alternative/ acoustic rock outfit will play their crucial second album, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, in full for Aussie fans. Vocalist and co-founding member Chris Carrabba is well aware of the potential for disappointment that this creates between the band and hardcore fans devotees of the record. “Let me put it this way, I felt very relieved to find myself proud of the songs,” he laughs, “I know it’s a tall order, for some people this is a very important record, they’ve listened to it many, many times and they still may

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Gotta Get Away “Gotta Get Away was probably, I guess, one of the slower ones on the record, little bit more of a rock beat, but those drums definitely sound reminiscent of TSOL, who were a band we were big fans of. We kind of got the inspiration from them. I don’t think there’s any secret there for anyone who knows both bands. But the main riff of that song actually came from an older song that we had done called Cogs that we did in the mid-late ‘80s; one of the earliest tracks we had ever done. It was really fast and kind of choppy, the first song Cogs was, and it didn’t really have any flow or anything and so once we kind of came up with that drum beat and then worked the main riff into the chorus structure, it went a lot more smoothly.”

Genocide “Dexter started experimenting with different tuning so we actually changed the tuning on the guitar there a little bit so we could do some open drone notes. It’s a real simple chord structure for the most part. Starts off with a three-chord kinda thing and then we add a few more chords later [laughs] but the way he kind of did the droning chords with C F G tuning of the bottom strings was interesting to me and fun. It’s also got, well, certainly a heavy, angry meaning to it, but it’s also got that sound I think as well.”

Something To Believe In “That was one of the few songs that I don’t think we played when Smash came out, we never really played that one. I don’t know why. It wasn’t one of the most popular. Smash being our third record, at the time we had to cut something. We were ready to play all these songs but that was one we hardly, until recently when we started doing Smash in its entirety for anniversary shows, we never really played that live. We had to all relearn how to play that one. It’s a fun song, I love that song. I always did. But not one that ever got its due. It’s kind of an odd song to be playing live and also I don’t think people are as familiar with it. You know, from there we go straight into Come Out And Play and everyone loves that one.”

Come Out And Play “When I first heard [the “keep ‘em separated” part] for sure, I knew it was Blackball doing it. That’s our friend Jason McLean. We call him Blackball because he was just a fan, he would come to shows and scream at us to play Blackball off our first record [laughs]. He was a one-hit wonder every time he’d show up to the show, that’s all we could hear, so we started calling him Blackball; a lot of his friends still call him Blackball too. But Dexter was writing that one and that one changed — I didn’t hear that line until we were in the studio. The structure of the song we had together, the Middle Eastern riff, and I thought that was all really cool. Then I heard

listen to it many times. But I don’t listen to it, I mean I play some of the songs from it, but I don’t listen to the record. I’ve got to make sure, first and foremost, I’ve got to hope that I instinctively connect to what they connected to and then deliver that. “It’s more important to get the chords right,” he adds, laughing again, “which I will, maybe not today, but I will!” Of course, this begs the question, has he or will he be listening to the album itself in the lead-up to this tour? “I haven’t listened to it yet, at this point,” he admits. “I’ve just played them, and probably wrong! I’ve just been playing them and playing them, and kind of letting the nuances of however they feel right now be what the songs should be. Probably in a week or so I’ll actually go back and listen and find out just how flatly wrong I am.”


As the brand new Good Things Festival looks to breath life back into the heavy music festival scene, The Music is lacing up our Dr Martens in preparation. Hitting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane this month, we know it’s going to be “all good baby baby”. the tagline “You gotta keep ‘em separated” and I thought, ‘Oh man.’ I thought it was funny, I didn’t think it was going to be the hit that it was.”

Self Esteem “Self Esteem was a little bit more of a sleeper hit than Come Out And Play. Come Out And Play comes out and grabs people right away I think, whereas Self Esteem just kind of grew on people over a longer period. So that’s why we always end with Self Esteem and it really gets the crowd going. “I wasn’t a big fan of the song when we were first doing it, I think because of the tempo and to me, it just seemed kind of, well, you know when you are rehearsing it just as a band instrumentally, you don’t really hear everything. Once we got in the studio, it really started to come together. We started off with the intro instead of doing the ‘blah blah blah blah ‘it was just an acoustic, playing the guitar really, and that was too reminiscent of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit really and so we thought, ‘What can we do?’ and Dexter was like, ‘What if we just did this?’ and we all went in and did the gang vocal on that and then I thought, ‘Ok, that’s got something that makes people listen right away.’ To me, again, super funny and kinda nonsensical. The whole song is pretty tongue-in-cheek but also relatable. I’ve had these big muscle-bound dudes up front with their arms laying over the barricade singing along that they’re just a sucker with no self-esteem [laughs]. That always kind of cracks me up.”

It’ll Be A Long Time “I don’t remember much about this. This is another one that we’ll throw in from time to time. I love this song, it’s a great song. One of the barn burners that’s definitely more uptempo and in your face. More aggressive. I think it’s a great song, plenty to sing along to. Still got plenty of melody I think.”

Killboy Powerhead “We had a friend who hipped us to The Didjits and we dug it and we were looking at this record and going, ‘Ahh maybe it needs something... Maybe it’s a little light as far as songs.’ We had really 12 songs if you don’t count Time To Relax as a song, so we wanted to add one more and we just decided to do it. It’s a fun riff, we never even asked the guys if we could do it [laughs]. We never asked The Didjits, Rick is the guy who wrote the song, Rick Sims, it’s his band. So when we finally met him, he just came in and was kinda just really just amused at the whole situation. I’m glad we didn’t ask him and he said no and [laughs] I think he’s probably glad we didn’t ask him and he said no too.”

What Happened To You?

toured with. Voodoo Glow Skulls as well back in the day, we played with them a bunch. And going back further we loved The Specials and stuff like that. There was always ska happening in the punk scene. I think for a band to do just ska can maybe, it’s such a defined style of music that it can really kind of... It can become monotonous sounding if that’s all you’re playing, but I think to throw a song in here or there can really add flavour. We all felt that way.”

It’s all good With so many good things at Good Things, here are our pick of some of the other acts on the bill.

Babymetal

So Alone “So Alone was just a quick one that we wrote. There’s not really much to the song, it was really just kind of like a venting of aggression. Very punk, in your face for sure.”

Not The One “Not The One was kind of a little trippy. We started working with some effects for the first time. We don’t use a lot of guitar effects to lay and things like that and Dexter had this idea for this riff that was really kind of drenched in delay that drove the song and then he also had the idea for the lyrics on that one about you know, ‘Hey [laughs] don’t blame us! Let’s blame the generation before us for fucking up the world.’ God, poor kids today, they’ve really got it — the world’s way more fucked up. It’s kind of ironic, ‘We’re not the one, don’t blame us,’ but at the same time, if we’re not helping to make it better we’re part of the problem still.”

Unabashed J-pop precision meets unrelenting headbanging, few bands have shaken the metal world as much as BABYMETAL. While one of the original members Yuimetal has recently left the group, this is one act not to be missed. All we know is that when we grow up, we want to be in BABYMETAL.

Smash “Smash was just the one to kind of tie it all in. I always think of Smash as straightforward, vintage Offspring sound. You know, uptempo, something you can sing along to, little bit of guitar riff in there along with the heavy bar chords and palm-muted driving guitar bass and drums. I think it was one of the last ones written for the record and we were kind of getting an idea of how to tie this all together. We wanted something that, we didn’t want — like the next record we went with, Ixnay On The Hombre [laughs] — long, not easy to say. With this record we just wanted one word, that kind of just, ‘Argh!’ you know. One word that sounded like ‘argh’ and Smash was it.”

The Offspring tour from 5 Dec.

Ecca Vandal

If you’ve never come across Ecca Vandal, we don’t know what to tell you other than you’re missing out. Get down early and witness this fiercely original blend of punk, hip hop and

Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.

soul and don’t say we’ve never done anything for you.

“We always called it the ska song and really that was inspired by our friends in Operation Ivy and Rancid, who later we

Dropkick Murphys

And even some the songs that have been played regularly in the live set over the past 17 years or so will have to be revisited and possibly re-learned in their original form and with their original arrangement in order to appease the fans still hooked on their original incarnations. “Of course,” he says. “Some of those songs have been in the set for a long time, and what’s been fun has been going back to the original versions, because songs evolve. In fact, they must evolve, we play live all the time, we play hundreds of shows a year.”

Never been to Ireland? Get a dose of Celticpunk hospitality by way of Massachusetts

To read the full stories head to theMusic.com.au

Dashboard Confessional tour from 5 Dec.

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as the entire mosh is put in a collective headlock by Dropkick Murphys. Beers will be hoisted high and then consequently spilled before we ship up to Boston. Whoa-oo-oh.


Shangela: And because we are in and out of drag on RuPaul’s Drag Race, as much as it would be nice to think we have this Superhero persona where no one’s gonna clock us if we’re Clark Kent, if you see what I’m saying. Oh honey, no! They clock us no matter what we’re wearing, no matter how big my shades are. The fans will still find you! But that’s also amazing, to be honest. I think Sasha and I have very similar experiences while we’ve been on this journey to discover who we are as performers and as people. And right now I think I’m living my most valid truth, which is being in drag. And being Shangela has really helped me conquer this barrier of fear I always had as a boy, going into auditions, to read for roles. When you’re a drag queen, honey, you can’t have a lot of fear. You get so accustomed to people whispering or turning to look or whatever, so you lose a lot of that self-consciousness and learn how to live your most authentic truth. Which for me is in a pair of heels and wig.

Thank you for coming to Australia, I know Aussie Drag Race fans feel very lucky to have you here. Of course, you’re both

hugely successful in the States, you’re TV personalities, so you could probably get

away with not coming out to countries as

far-flung as Australia. So, why is it that you still choose to tour your live performances so widely around the world?

Shangela: Well firstly, we are just so thankful to have fans around the world and the best way to connect with them is to come to where they are. The other part’s a little selfish. I grew up in a little town called Paris, Texas. And when I was a kid I would see planes flying over my house and I’d look up and think, ‘One day that’s going to be me on there.’ So now, to be able to travel the world, it’s an amazing feeling to know that those dreams I had as a kid have come true. I mean, it’s a real hustle, I’m not gonna lie. Right now, I’m on a 170-city tour - this is city 107. But we just do our work and have the energy to keep going because we are getting to live a dream, you know. It’s what we love to do and we’re so thankful for that.

Shasha: In fact, I think we construct personas for ourselves that can live fearlessly. Our drag is our armour, it’s our protection. Shangela: Halleloo!

mance on the season 9 finale has become the stuff of Drag Race legend, especially

the now iconic “rose petal ruveal.” What is the secret of the perfect lip sync stunt?

Practice, for a start! I practiced with the rose petals over and over in my hotel room. I only had a very small number of silk rose petals to work with, so I had to scrabble around on my hands and knees after every rehearsal and stuff them back into that wig! So practice, that’s important. But also, anything you do in a lipsync - as with any kind of performance - has to tell a story. What you’re wearing, how you move your face; everything, including the reveal moment, has to come from the emotions you’re trying to convey. That’s my idea of the perfect lip sync.

Shangela, your ascent as a drag star is

unique in that you went on Drag Race just a few months after getting into drag. You

had to learn a lot of your craft in the public

gaze, already a celeb. How has that influ-

Shangela Is Shook tours from 1 Dec Sasha Velour: Live & In Colour tours from 9 Jan

enced you as an artist as your career has gone from strength to strength?

Sasha: And as much as we love being on TV, looking fabulous and doing fabulous photoshoots where we’re perfectly styled, drag is at its best when it’s live, when it’s happening in real time. And it’s not just about performing. It’s also about meeting people, getting to swap stories and learn about people and laugh with them, in person, face to face. Even as terrifying as we look up close!

Shangela: It put a greater responsibility on me. And to be honest, I put that on myself. Because I was so new when I walked onto the set of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 2, I was new, but I didn’t feel it. The thing is, if you look at me on season 2, what I saw was, ‘Oh honey, she came to win! I am a professional! There is no way I ain’t taking that $20,000 home!’ But then seeing the show when it aired, I was like, ‘Oh, honey. Oh no.’ And even being there, on that first challenge, I suddenly realised there was a lot I had to learn! But I knew I could work hard, and I knew that I could chase something if I wanted to badly enough. So I made it my mission to catch up, and catch up fast. Because being the girl who failed twice on Drag Race, I didn’t want that to be my legacy. So I got it together, I asked a lot of questions, I watch a lot of videos. I became, truly, a professional!

Before you were Shangela and Sasha,

you were DJ and Alexander. Now, of

course, the world knows you almost exclusively by your drag alteregos.

Do you still feel a separation

between your two identities, in and out of drag?

Sh an ge l a

Shasha: I honestly don’t think of myself as divided entities anymore. It all feels like a fluid spectrum depending on how corseted or covered in sequins and makeup I am. The truth is, that always in my life I was trying to create an existence where I would get to express this Velourian side of myself. I just never imagined that doing it on this scale would ever be possible. Many of us who grew up in the ‘90s, no one was telling us that we could be successful as cross-dressers. So I tried to be an actor and

The Music

Your winning lip sync for the crown perfor-

Sasha, since winning the

show, you’ve delivered

some truly stunning looks

through collaborations with

incredible independent design-

ers, especially from your native

New York. Why have you made collaborawinning Drag Race queen?

Sasha: Drag is a collaborative art form. It has to be a reflection of a whole commu-

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Arts

ur

tion such a visible part of your reign as a

Vel o

“L

et’s change the motherfucking world!” This was the rallying cry ofRuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 winner Sasha Velour as she accepted her crown after one of the most thrilling finales in the juggernaut show’s herstory. And without question, the motherfucking world has most definitely been changed by drag. The hit reality show’s influence has propelled the art form to the highest heights of the pop culture zeitgeist. From the ever-growing list of catchphrases

nity. For most of my drag career before Drag Race, I was mostly solitary in all my efforts. And drag has also been, at times, a way for me to process and deal with very personal sadness and trauma. There were times in my early drag career when it was the only thing that gave me any optimism. It’s always been something that has given me hope and joy, but since winning the show, I’ve been able to share that joy through collaborations. So, I wanted to make my reign a celebration of the Brooklyn drag scene and all the amazing designers and artists who are part of that. And the way in which I collaborate with people, it’s a true exchange. So everything I wear still feels very Sasha Velour.

ha

RuPaul’s Drag Race royalty, Sasha Velour and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, are headed to Australia in the next couple of months with two brand new solo extravaganzas. Maxim Boon met the pair to talk world fame, “ruveals”, and being a professional. Halleloo!

act in boy roles, I tried to be a graphic designer and get my artistic juices satisfied that way. But this way - being Sasha - feels like the ultimate culmination of my whole life, of all my passions, as a performer, as an artist, as a person.

- “Halleloo!” “Miss Vannnnjie,” and “Back Rolls?” to name only a few - to the veritable dictionary of drag-speak that has entered common parlance - YASSS KWEEN, you can tell the children, this is how it is done hunties, because the library is open, ockurrrrrr? *Tongue Pop* - the global popularity of the multi-Golden Globe-winning show has made international megastars of its alumni. And fortunately for Drag Race fans (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), the show’s stars are more than happy to bring their talents to the people, no matter how far away they are. The Music caught up with two of Drag Race’s most idolised divas ahead of their upcoming solo sojourns Down Under.

Sas

Life’s a drag


D.D DUMBO/ANGIE MCMAHON M O J O J U J U MELB & BRIS

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Unholy night Ah, New Year’s Eve. A hallowed day on the Gregorian calendar, where folks come together from all around the world and celebrate the year that was by getting as cooked as humanly possible. The only silver lining to making a boob of yourself on last hoorah of the year is that we’ve all been there and everybody has their own horror story to bury (or share).

“Don’t drink the Banana Wine”

M

y worst NYE was also my first NYE, when I was about 15. My mum let my sister and I go to this Corey Worthington-esque rager at this giant house on the condition that we only drank the two alcopops that she gave us. I was super pumped and had bought this little tuxedo from Oxfam. I looked the biz. We got there and I drank my two passion pops, but that only gave me a taste for more liquor. I managed to bum a few drinks until I just went rogue and started drinking

whatever dregs of alcohol I could find. Eventually, I found this bottle full of yellowy liquid that was labelled “Banana Wine”. It tasted fucking vile but I began chugging away about half a litre of it until one of the older guys yelled “Dude stop! That’s the bong water!” I went from mildly buzzed to totally catatonic in about five minutes, spewed all over my second-hand tux. The take away from this: don’t drink the Banana Wine.

“I thought there were ghosts”

I

was out in the city somewhere, and I’d had a pretty hectic cocktail of — let’s just say, “substances” — that ended up being pretty speedy and pretty hallucinogen-y at the same time. At the end of the night, with the sun coming up, I got lost inside a big abandoned school, and because I was still so mashed I thought there were ghosts haunting the place. So I was wandering around with a fire extinguisher trying to cover the ghosts

with foam to spook ‘em out of there. I was absolutely head-to-toe doused in all this fire retardant dust when I walked out onto the street to continue my odyssey home. Still quite worse for wear, I started talking to this dude who I eventually realised was a priest. Had a lovely conversation but didn’t realise that I had followed him straight into a church and taken a seat in the front row of a service. I left after two minutes.

“I told my mum that my friend had gotten the dog stoned”

A

nd as is customary at this festive time of year, we’ve kept things in the fam, trawling the murky depths of The Music staff’s NYE shame for your vicarious delectation — although, for legal reasons (or something) we’ve (barely) concealed their true identities. Dive into these true tales from the five patron saints of New Year’s done wrong.

I

was at my parent’s place and my dear friend had been sneaking off the whole night to go and have a cheeky one behind their shed. He came back and our little Border Collie had obviously stayed up way too late with the rest of us so the poor little thing’s eyes were super red. He kept falling asleep with us until eventually he jumped up and my mum noticed his bloodshot eyes. So for some reason, I told my mum that my friend had gotten the dog stoned, which

is definitely not the happiest way to celebrate the New Year seeing as how pissed off my mum got. It’s been probably about four years now and my mum will not believe the truth or forgive our friend for what he supposedly did.On some deep level, I think she’s still carrying a very heavy grudge against him for something he didn’t even do.

“I was just pushing vomit into the carpet”

I

was probably 19 and I was working that night at a Woolworths bottle shop. I finished my shift at 11 pm and then got changed and rushed over to a party. I got there and everyone was definitely already drunk. So I thought “I gotta play catch-up!” and I smashed six cans of Smirnoff Double Black in a row very quickly and I still wasn’t drunk. But then I was really drunk.The rest of the night was a blur. I recall passing out

on a front lawn — someone’s front lawn, no idea whose — and sleeping on a trampoline for a bit. I got home and it was early morning, so I went to my bedroom to crash but ended up throwing up all over the floor. I tried to clean it up until mum came in and found me and just said: “Go to bed, you’re making it worse.” I was really just pushing vomit into the carpet.

“Crowd-surfing to Africa by Toto”

A

local DJ called CC Disco, who I’m really good friends with, was having a crazy house party one year in a backyard. Loads of people there and the theme was “Neon And Glitter”. So lots of people were covered head to toe in glitter wearing neon yellows and pinks and purples. Very intense. A good friend of mine was crowdsurfing to Africa by Toto.Was quite a big night but eventually, we realised there were only five of us left at the party and we didn’t

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know whose house it was. Then at ten in the morning, we also remembered that we had tickets to the Summer Days festival which started at 11. We left said party covered in glitter, in neon colours and without any sleep and went to Summer Days at ten in the morning and carried on New Year’s well into the midnight of that night. The longest 48 hours of my fucking life.


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December


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Kicking goals Nashville singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, tells Joel Lohman she’s just doing what comes naturally.

W

hen we talk on the phone, Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy sounds flustered. She’s in the process of moving from her family home in Nashville into her own place. “I’ve been running back and forth from my parents’ house,” she says, “trying to get internet set up and all that fun stuff.” Since releasing her excellent studio debut album Clean earlier this year, Allison herself has been all over certain sections of the internet, often in “women in rock” think-pieces. Does she feel like she’s part of a movement or scene? “I feel like I have friends in the music industry,” says Allison, “just people I’ve met or toured with. I’m just writing songs like anyone else is. I don’t feel like my songs are driven to empower any particular group. I think they’re just what I like to write and what I experience in my life. I definitely see similar artists I get grouped with a lot of the time but they’re mostly artists I’ve never listened to or people I don’t know. Some are people that I love.

Roll up, roll up! As Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus unleash their latest effort, frontman Kim Benzie tells Brendan Crabb about being proud exponents of “sissy metal”.

I don’t think anyone feels like we’re all working together to make a movement.” In Allison’s 21 years of life, rock has been superseded by hip hop and EDM as the dominant musical force. Does she ever wish she lived in a more rock-friendly time? “I guess sometimes I think maybe I’d be making more money or I’d be more popular if I lived in a time period where rock was big,” Allison says. “But I love a lot of the music that’s coming out now, and I think there’s still a lot of great rock music. I don’t really care if it’s the biggest thing in the world personally. I like the time period I grew up in. There are definitely things I hate about 2018, especially in America. But yeah, I don’t know if I would like living in any other time period any better.” Another shift in Allison’s lifetime is that distinctions between genres matter less than ever before. Allison — who’s been known to cover both NSYNC and Dixie Chicks — says she’s glad this purist mentality has mostly died out. “I think that allows people to have broader taste and experience more good art,” she says. “Because good art isn’t in one genre — you can find it anywhere. I think having broad taste makes you a more complex person and makes you connect with different types of people, than if you just liked rock or pop, you maybe wouldn’t connect with.” Despite being a musical omnivore, she reckons she’ll stick to her own musical lane — though not due to lack of interest. “I don’t know if I could write in a different style,” says Allison. “I think the way I write comes out the way it comes out. But I don’t know. I would love to be able to make a different style, but I don’t know if creatively it’s something I can do.” Another generational change reflected in Allison is her willingness to talk about mental health. She regularly tweets

dudes... It’s probably fucking torture for them

ed writing songs about, being about relation-

to have to sit there and listen to it for 40

ships, interactions and your own state, your

minutes,” he chuckles. “I think someone just

own vibration. That’s why we went with the

called it ‘sissy metal’. I think was the best term

self-titled album as well; because we thought

we ever heard. I can’t remember the whole

it was a return to the themes of where

thing, but we kept that term with us for ages.

we began.” On previous records, the group has taken

That was the best one, someone going, ‘This

a strong ethical stance regarding issues such

Australian sissy metal.’” The new album — recorded over a six-

as fracking. Despite the 24-hour news cycle

week period at Studio Circuit, Gold Coast — is

and social media readily providing plat-

their first set of all-new material since 2015’s

forms that many artists are willing to utilise,

chart-bothering Aesthesis. “This album has

some musicians, especially stateside, seem

no screaming, so it definitely qualifies as

reluctant to openly reveal a political stance,

sissy metal,” Benzie laughs. “We don’t have

for fear of potentially alienating sections of

any breakdowns in the songs, that could be

their fanbase. “I found with the music, having two

another thing.” devotees

albums pretty much all about, one about,

embrace it or not, Dead Letter Circus brims

‘Let’s awaken together,’ and the one where, ‘I

with the melodic sensibilities, ethereal atmo-

see you there awake, let’s hit the streets and

spherics and towering riffs that won them

march together.’ Like a call-to-arms, and hav-

legions of fans elsewhere. As 2017’s The End-

ing people come along and sing these songs.

ead Letter Circus vocalist Kim Benzie

less Mile, whereby the quintet re-imagined

But the second that you might do a political

takes The Music ‘s call during that

songs from their career in an acoustic and

post on your Facebook, or support Sea Shep-

you just said that you hate about musicians.’

oft-anxious limbo period for an art-

strings-laden setting drew near completion,

herd, like [something] as passive as that; give

That, ‘I hate it when musicians get into poli-

ist. Namely, their new self-titled album (and

Benzie happened upon a burst of creativity

money to the people that are trying to save

tics.’ So people get really offended.

fourth full-length of all-new original material)

that led to thenew LP arriving “a year ahead

whales from Japanese whalers, you’ll get

“I don’t really have any kind of emotion

is completed, and they’ve been living with it

of our normal schedule”. His “seed ideas” were

some dickhead on there saying, ‘Mate, just

about it because you can’t really get angry

for an extended period. Now the Brisbane

fleshed out with assistance from bandmates,

stick to the music.’

about people expressing themselves. It’s

melodic prog alt-rockers are awaiting its

who could scarcely believe their frontman

“When people come to like ten of your

more of a fascination of, like, ‘How did you

release, including the inevitable feedback

already had dozens of songs in development.

shows you become acutely aware of the

even come to that conclusion?’... And it’s like,

This fruitful period for the singer even-

shape of their head,” the vocalist laughs. “You

‘Where do you want to see passion in other

On that front, what’s the worst review the

tually spawned a change in tack as a lyricist.

look at the profile pic and you’re like, ‘Fuck-

people?’ We don’t really change any of our

singer can recall the band receiving? “When

“We sort of spent a couple of albums in real

ing hell dude, you have been in the front row

behaviour because of it, definitely not. And

we go overseas, we quite often get lumped

political revolution mode, I guess. And this

for the past three years, singing the words to

we’re not scared of it, it’s just a fascination

[with], like, we get sent to super heavy metal

one kinda swung right back to what we start-

a song which is pretty much everything that

of the human condition that people react

D

from fans and critics alike.

Whether

grizzled

metal

The Music

46

Music


about her experiences with body dysmorphia. “I think it’s a defence mechanism for me personally [laughs], like, joking about it. I don’t know if it really helps, to be honest. I think it’s better than not being able to tell anyone you have an issue. But I don’t know that it fixes any of my problems. I think it can be helpful to other people, to see artists they like talking about it. If they’re struggling with body issues or depression or anxiety. I think it can be super helpful to see someone else be open about it, especially if you’re not being open about it with people around you.” As someone with young fans, does it feel important to help normalise body image issues? “I never really think about, like, having a fanbase [laughs]. It just doesn’t feel that natural to think, ‘I should say something for my fans.’ Like, I’m just a normal person. I just tweet when I’m thinking about it a lot and it’s weighing on my mind. Just like I might write a song if I’m bottling something up.” Humility and frankness are part of what makes Allison’s work so appealing. She’s not trying to be the voice of her generation. She just wants to figure out how her new modem works.

No place like home Forty years into their career LA poprockers Toto have been catapulted back into the zeitgeist courtesy a Weezer cover, and guitarist Steve Lukather tells Steve Bell about embracing the madness.

Soccer Mommy tours from 30 Dec.

Pic: Ian Laidlaw

If you are suffering from any of the issues that have been discussed or need assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

in certain ways to it. You’re like, ‘Wow, I never thought that dude would say that.’ I couldn’t imagine many people I know steering away from it because then I guess that would

I

t all started with a joke. A Weezer fan begging the coverloving LA alt-rockers to record a version the ‘80s classic rock hit Africa by Toto, the quest gathering enough critical mass that the band finally acquiesced and put a version up online (only after posting a version of Rosanna — Toto’s other big ‘80s hit — first). Soon Weezer’s version of Africa went gangbusters, reaching the top of the iTunes sales and alternative airplay charts, and Toto’s massive resurgence was up and running. Their return might have been driven by some semblance of modern irony, but to Toto, it’s no less than completely triumphant. “The last couple of years have been amazing, man!” gushes founding guitarist Steve Lukather. “We got back together in 2010 to help our brother Mike [Porcaro — bass] — who we sadly lost because of his battle with ALS, which sucked — and that was fun so we said, ‘Do you want to do it next year?’ and I blinked and we’re going into 2019, so it’s been nine years back together and it just keeps getting better and better every year.” “And then this Africa thing took off and the memes and videos and the jokes and TV mentions and the Weezer cover — it’s amazing! Our streams have jumped up to 10 or 12 million a month now, and we’re over half a billion streams on all of our catalogue. And young kids are showing up at our shows, so the cross-promotion of Toto and Weezer really worked, which is a win-win for both sides and I’ve never even met these guys! “It all just happened by accident, so then we thought, ‘Why don’t we do one of their songs for fun?’ and that worked too — they got a big hit record after ten years in a dry spot and our stock went through the roof, so everybody won!” Toto’s return cover of Weezer’s 2001 single Hash Pipe sounds remarkably

Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.

almost be like selling out, wouldn’t it? The modern sense of that would be [being] too scared to do things because you’re offensive. That’s playing it way too safe.”

D ead Letter Circus (BMG) is out now. Dead Letter Circus tour from 29 Nov.

The Music

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Music

vibrant but remains an odd choice given that — aside from the obvious drug connotations — it’s lyrically about a trans prostitute working the streets of Santa Monica. “We kinda did it in our own way just like they did our song in their own way, and now I’ve actually become a Weezer fan,” Lukather continues. “We listened through a heap of their stuff and some things popped out and some were more obvious, and I know what the lyric to Hash Pipe is about — I lived near Santa Monica, I’ve seen this shit.” “But we took a light-hearted approach and I made some crack about the fact that I was smoking hash before those guys were even alive — that was a throwaway line that the press got hold of — which really propelled things. But we loved the groove and we thought musically we could do more with that song than say, Beverly Hills, which is more of a clichØ for us as we live there. It was meant out of respect and love and not as a piss-take.” Which is apt, because Toto purportedly thought Weezer were taking the piss when they heard about the Africa cover. “Well at first we were, like, ‘Wait a minute man, are these guys going to do us or what?’, but when we heard it we actually thought it was really good,” Lukather chuckles. “They did it on a dare or a joke — they’ve done other old songs too — and we just thought it was another cover, we never thought it would blow up and I don’t think they did either. I never would have called this in a million years, it’s just like one of those, ‘What the fuck?’ moments, but in a good way.” “Now we’re pulling big crowds again all over the world and at festivals like we’re doing down in Australia. We get to play in front of a younger audience, and sure they know the Africa song and they know Rosanna and Hold The Line, but there are a few other songs where they’ll go, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that was you guys,’ or, ‘These guys are really good!’, like they’re coming from a different place — we’re not just the Africa band, we’ve got a lot of other shit in our wheelhouse.”

Toto tour from 30 Dec.


W H Y

D O N ’ T

YOU...? Pic: Ben Cope

On the eve of their Australian tour, as well as the impending 40th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk in 2019, The Music asked remix project/ dance party Fleetmac Wood’s Roxanne Roll to highlight some of the Tusk tracks in their set.

Tusk

For our Smooth Sailing remix of Tusk we combined four versions of Tusk that are found on the deluxe reissue, teasing out the USC marching band at the beginning and moving through various alt versions. There’s something medieval about this rabble-rousing track. I worked on this remix the week after the 2016 US election result and I channelled the feeling of rebellion and people power into this one with the extra percussion and drum solos. There’s a wild energy and a sense of fun that was a brilliantly unexpected move after Rumours.

“It’s all about getting people dancing at our parties and this remix really gets people on the floor.”

Sisters Of The Moon We like to focus on feminine power in our sets, which is often missing in dance music culture. Stevie Nicks is a force of nature in this disco shawl stomper with a bewitching groove. We play my Roxanne Roll remix, which includes a sample from the live version on the 1982 Mirage Tour, which surpasses the album version. Hunt it down on YouTube.

Sara

Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.

Each lyric of Sara is like a chapter heading in a Fleetwood Mac bio - a cryptic clue to be unravelled seductively. Cathartic to the max, Stevie Nicks works through the pain of multiple break-ups, betrayals and a daughter that never was? Considering all this disappointment, it’s surprising how sensual this track is... “U ndoing the laces.” To me, this actually feels like a duet, where Mick Fleetwood’s delicate, con-

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music

sidered drums almost answer her call - ecstatic and buzzing with sexual tension. Sara entrances you with a hypnotic groove that is both soft and heavy. Mixed emotions, extreme loss and an acceptance of - this is the life you lead when you live within the castle walls of Fleetwood Mac. Drowning in a sea of love, where everybody wants to drown... We play a few different remixes of this song and it’s on our to-do list to make more.

Storms

Fleetwood Mac wrote so many hits and potential hits that they literally couldn’t fit them onto records (hello, Silver Springs ). Maybe tensions were particularly high between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks when it was Storms ‘ day/week/month in the studio - it feels like this song was given less attention, or perhaps the simplicity is intentional? It’s understated and almost tearful. I wanted to turn the sadness into an uplifting, joyful moment without losing the drama. It’s all about getting people dancing at our parties and this remix really gets people on the floor.

Brown

Eyes

One of our all-time favourite Christine McVie tracks, beautifully layered harmonies over a hypnotic beat make this perfect for the first twirlers on the dancefloor. The alt version with Lindsey Buckingham and Peter Green on the Tusk deluxe edition is a must listen.

Fleetmac Wood tour from 21 Dec.


Festial pics: Josh Groom, Claudia Ciapocha, Markus Ravik, Simone Fisher, Bianco Holdernes, Jodie Downie

Stomping grounds

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The Music

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style


The Music

•

December


Sound advice Christmas is kicking down the door and we all know what that means: it’s time to crack out Michael Buble’s seminal yuletide album, Christmas. And since the Canadian crooner’s dulcet tones deserve only the finest delivery, we’ve selected some top audio tech that will ensure you end the year on a buzz, instead of listening to one.

Nura Nuraphone Arthur C Clarke believed that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic. We believe that in less understanding times the Nuraphone would have gotten somebody burnt as a witch. These spellbinding headsets automatically adapt to your unique, personal hearing using a self-learning engine, so every song sounds custom-made for you. $499.99, nuraphone.com

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Headphones

If you like to move it while you shake it, MOMENTUM True Wireless might be ear buds for you. Since hitting the market recently, anyone with something to say on the subject has come to the same conclusion: Sennheiser’s MTW set the standard for untethered, high fidelity sound. They also come with a nifty, magnetic charging case and an easy to use app.

Expanding once again on their bulletproof ATH-M50s, Audio-Technica have released the ATH-M50xBT model, capturing their long-proven signature sound while adding Bluetooth capability. The sleek design of the M50xBT’s predecessor has only been enhanced by going wireless and the 40-hour battery life means they’re never going to leave you hanging.

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Audeara A-01 Headphones

Audio-Technica AT4033a Microphone

Designed by both doctors and engineers, Audeara knew exactly what they wanted from their A-01 Headphones: clarity over volume. A-01s perform a medical-grade audiogram to test your hearing and then pump out tunes based on the evaluation. The Australia-owned company claims you’ll find notes you never knew you lost, and they’ve got a 60-day guarantee to back it up.

When the fine people at Audio-Technica redeveloped their AT4033 model microphone they took a guaranteed home run stuck an A+ on it. Since then the AT4033a has been much-lauded for its versatility, well-designed suspension cradle and for consistently capturing clean, quality sound at a fraction of the price you would expect.

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Gear


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December


Christmas

Spirits

The festive season is upon us, so it’s time to let your hair down and enjoy a tipple or two. We’ve paired some of the world’s top brands with our favourite indie distilleries, so you can enjoy a glassful of worldclass quality with a uniquely Aussie, boutique twist.

Q.O

Be Of Good

cheers

Before you knock back the same old same-old, why not give these original cocktails a try. The Melb our ne Mule A refreshing take on a classic that’s oh so Melb. In a tall glass, pour 1 nip Melbourne Moonshine Apple Pie Shine over ice. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice and top-off with Matso’s Ginger Beer, chilled. Serve with a lime wedge.

D

(Left to right) Melbourne Moonshine Memo Gin (700ml RRP $70) Melbourne Moonshine Apple Pie Shine (700ml RRP $75) Absolute Vodka Original (700m RRP $40) Kahlua (700ml RRP $35) 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka (700ml RRP $60) Broken Heart Quince Gin (500ml RRP $70) Cointreau (700ml RRP $47).

Quincey S lo ans A sharp and sweet short sipper. Pour 2 nips Broken Heart Quince Gin and 1 nip Cointreau into a cocktail shaker over ice. Add a squeeze of lemon, a splash of fresh grapefruit juice and 1-tsp agave nectar. Shake, strain and serve in a chilled short glass with a large ice cube and a lemon twist.

D

Cor pse Revolver More hair of the gods than hair of the dog. Pour 1 nip Mebourne Moonshine Memo Gin, 1 nip Cointreau, and 1 nip Melbourne Moonshine Sweet Tea Shine into a shaker over ice. Add a generous squeeze of lime and a dash of bitters. Shake, strain and serve in a chilled martini glass with a lime twist.

D

Espresso Mar tweeni Is it dessert? Is it a drink? Is it both? You decide. Pour 2 nips Absolute Vodka, 1 nip Kahlua and 2 nips cold-brew espresso into a shaker over ice. Shake, strain and pour into a chilled martini glass. Over a spoon, pour 1 nip Baileys Irish Cream, float 1 tsp whipped cream on top and garnish with dark chocolate shavings.

D

Kamikaze Cosmo So damn refreshing, it’s to die for. Pour 1 nip 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka and 1 nip Cointreau over ice into a tall glass. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lime, fill halfway with cranberry juice and top off with ginger ale. Serve with a lime twist.

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C u lt u r e


VANS.COM.AU

The Music

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December


Yuletide yawns and seasonal sanity wreckers

An avalanche of albums The Christmas music market is a billion-dollar industry that’s unfortunately usually more naughty than nice. Here’s our round-up of this year’s musical stocking stuffers. William Shatner - Shatner Claus

Bring a second pair of reindeer print undies, because you’ll shat-ner your pants laughing when you listen to this record from Captain Kirk and friends!

Ladies and gentlemen, the most wonderful time of the year is finally here. A time where Christmas ham enthusiast and competitive bon-bon player Donald Finlayson sacrifices his mind and body to investigate the best and worst of Holiday media.

Engelbert Humperdinck - Warmest Christmas Wishes Fine seasonal ballads from a man who changed his perfectly normal name to Engelbert Humperdinck.

Eric Clapton - Happy Xmas -BUH-NUH-NA-NUHNUH- If your old man’s a baby boomer -BUH-NUHNA-NUH-NUH- Then get him this album for Christmas -guitar solo- IT’S ONLY $22.99 BABAH!

Jessie J - This Christmas Day When your featured guest on a Christmas album is Philadelphia’s Boyz II Men, you know you’re in trouble as an artist.

The Monkees - Christmas Party The latest release from one of the many “Oh, they’re still around?” bands from the ‘60s. Worth it just for the jovial Alex Chilton cover.

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The Tracking Crew - Asquithmas We’ll explain the title so you don’t have to waste time Googling it. Asquith is a suburb in Sydney located on the Upper North Shore.

Mark Vincent - The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Every Christmas tune that Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin ever covered, re-recorded by a man who wishes he did it first.

Samantha Jade - The Magic Of Christmas A Christmas album from that woman who was on The X Factor Australia once. You can listen to it, or not. Up to you.

David Campbell - Baby It’s Christmas Every Christmas tune that Michael Buble ever covered, re-recorded by a man who wishes he was Michael Buble.

John Legend - A Legendary Christmas Like Newman from television’s Seinfeld, there’s no denying that this album certainly is very merry. Stevie Wonder kills it on the harmonica on the opening track too.


Film failures of the festive season For whatever reason, the cinematic works of the holidays are either complete horseshit or total gold. Here are five of the absolute worst.

Christmas classics Not all festive flicks will turn you into a Grinch, here’s five of the best: Home Alone

Daddy’s Home 2

Once upon a time, we lived in a world where the word “daddy” wasn’t always preceded by the phrase, “Please choke me harder.” It was once a warm term used by children to lovingly refer to their real fathers, but thanks to the septum-pierced teens of the modern world, daddy is just another ordinary word that’s lost its way, much like the term “dingleberry”. A formulaic seasonal romp featuring an all-star line-up of Hollywood goblins like Mel Gibson (who visibly struggles to hold back the racial slurs), Will Ferrell, John Cena and Mark Wahlberg, the gang’s all here - but the continued lack of an appearance from my main man Vince Vaughn feels like a missed opportunity. Given that the cast and crew surely would have objected to the idea of Christmas being exposed to his dark, mountain troll aura, his absence is understandable.

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

Call the RSPCA, call PETA, call Garfield and tell him we want him back because this paw-ful film is truly a travesty. Professional “She’s so awkward!” actress Aubrey Plaza provides the voice of Grumpy Cat, an ancient meme that was only funny to people who may have found a car after mowing their lawn. Aside from just how crap the film itself is, the real horror of Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is that it was actually quite profitable for the slave-traders that made it. So now that Hollywood can turn any meme into a Christmas shitfest, you have to wonder what we’ll be force-fed next holiday season. If it’s something like ‘A Very Harambe Christmas’ I’ll be riding Santa’s sled into oncoming traffic.

Shrek The Halls

After the emotional trauma that was the Halloween-themed Scared Shrekless, the mouth-breathers at DreamWorks Animation have once again brought back the scariest ogre since Vince Vaughn for Shrek The Halls. After Donkey discovers that Shrek is oblivious to the meaning of Christmas, he decides that it’s time for the nontheistic neo-pagan ogre to finally accept the spirit of the

holidays into his giant green heart. How appropriate that the inhabitants of Shrek’s swamp are oblivious to the existence of Jesus because I’m sure the studios of DreamWorks Animation are completely devoid of God’s light too. Perhaps they were cast into eternal darkness for creating 2004’s Shark Tale? Ask your local priest. Shrek The Halls is an ideal film for negligent parents who need to distract their ratbag son “Brayden” so that mummy and daddy can hit the pipe behind the clothesline before Crimbo lunch.

Christmas With The Kranks

Starring reformed cocaine trafficker Tim Allen as the grinchy Luther Krank, the film revolves around the exploits of the titular Krank family as they attempt to skip the holidays while battling boy scouts and their Christmas lightobsessed neighbours. Allen’s performance is as wooden as a Nutcracker doll, with his hollow, soulless eyes crying out for a distant past spent on the set of Home Improvement alongside a young Pamela Anderson (God bless). Between this and The Santa Clause, it’s clear that Tim Allen was trying to sculpt a future for himself where kids left out power tools and nose candy for him on Christmas Eve. Christmas With The Kranks? More like Christmas With the Wanks.

A movie that funded a roughly fifteen-year bender for Macaulay Culkin, the original Home Alone is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Grab some eggnog and enjoy.

Die Hard German terrorists with Fabio haircuts battle a bare-foot cop inside a skyscraper on Christmas Eve. An endlessly quotable film featuring Bruce Willis at his cheekiest, you’re gonna love it.

Bad Santa With company like Bad Teacher, Bad Moms and Bad Grandpa, we under-

Star Wars Holiday Special

Unsurprisingly, the only Star Wars film that George Lucas refuses to fiddle with is complete balls. And that’s coming from the man once who re-released The Phantom Menace in 3D. This infamous musical TV special sees the rebels gathering on Chewbacca’s home planet to celebrate the non-denominational Wookie holiday “Life Day”. Aside from several bizarre scenes of hairy Wookie romance, an air of mystery surrounds the nature of Mark Hamill’s appearance. Caked in a mask of carbonite makeup, poor Hamill looks like a wax statue of Tom Petty here. Urban legend’s say that this could’ve been to cover up scars from his 1977 car accident, but we may never know. Perhaps this will be released to the manchild market one day after Lucas is laid to rest in a CGI coffin.

stand if you’re a little sceptical of this choice. But trust us, Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa rules.

A Charlie Brown Christmas A charmingly warm cartoon from the ‘60s featuring Snoopy and friends, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Charlie Brown or Vince Guaraldi’s golden jazz piano soundtrack.

Love Actually The one romantic comedy that everyone can agree on, Love Actually ‘s all-star cast and endearing script make it the perfect holiday movie to watch with that special someone.

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The Music

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December


Mona Foma: celebrating ten years

Tasmania’s annual summer celebration of contemporary art and performance, Mona Foma, is marking its tenth year with a change of scenery. The festival’s curator, Brian Ritchie, tells Maxim Boon why this new beginning has given him a case of deja vu.

I

t’s fabled that Albert Einstein coined the definition of insan-

thing even before the MONA was a thing. So we concocted

ity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting

the idea of Mona Foma, which actually ended up feeding into

a different result. But for Mona Foma Artistic Director and

the development of the museum quite nicely,” he says. “In

former Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, it’s a practice

some ways, the development of Mona Foma was a sketchpad

that has served him remarkably well for a decade, curating

for what happened in Hobart in the ten years that followed

Tasmania’s annual celebration of contemporary art and per-

that first festival. So we have experience starting from nothing

formance; there’s method in this madness. “The philosophy

at ground zero. Actually, there’s a bit of deja vu for me, estab-

of the festival has always been that we’re open to everything,”

lishing Mona Foma in Launceston.”

he explains. “Even experimental art festivals are kind of genre-

In fact, the task at hand has a leg up on Mona Foma’s

based because they’re only inter-

original genesis, Ritchie adds.

ested in work that is at one end

“It still feels like it just started yesterday”

of a particular spectrum. But at Mona Foma, we founded it on the principle of an ideal rather than an aesthetic. And that was that it should encompass as

“There’s a lot of more infrastructure than you might think. The hub last year was at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, which is perfect because it’s the old railway yards, so there’s

many different embodiments of creativity as possible.”

plenty of space. We’ll have indoor galleries and two outdoor

Ritchie holds the record for the longest unbroken tenure

stages, plus the art school and the theatre school are there as

of any major arts festival director in Australia; “I guess I’m lucky

well - the footprint is actually pretty much the same as what

that way,” he says, with his characteristically soft-spoken Amer-

we were working with at MONA.”

ican twang. “To be honest, for me it still feels like it just started

And it’s not just the abundance of existing facilities at his

yesterday.” And indeed, this year’s festival will be a new begin-

disposal that has Ritchie confident of success in 2019. While

ning for Mona Foma. For the first time, the festival will decamp

there may be a change in scenery, the central guiding prin-

in its entirety from its former home at David Walsh’s Museum

ciple that year on year has guided Mona Foma from strength

of Old and New Art to a new location, some 200km northeast

to strength will still be in full effect. “I’m interested in strong,

of Hobart, in Launceston. 2018’s festival tried on this new HQ

individual perspectives. The reason we’ve never felt a need to

for size with what Ritchie describes as a “sampler weekend.”

follow trends or fads or whatever is because we’re solely inter-

But while establishing Mona Foma exclusively in Launceston

ested in people who have unique ideas, that are doing their

will be a far greater endeavour, Ritchie is unphased by the

own thing. And artists like that, if you know where to look, are

challenge. As he notes, this is not his first rodeo.

never in short supply.”

“We built it in Hobart from nothing as well. Mona Foma originated three years before the museum opened. I met David and he was in the process of building MONA and had some concepts, but he was chomping at the bit to do some-

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Mona Foma plays venues across Launceston from 13 Jan


Listen up There’s a colossal volume of talent headlining Mona Foma’s music program. Wrap your ears around these top acts.

Courtney Barnet t

A return to Tassie for this hometown hero and all-round legend of Australian rock, Barnett is flying high on the crest of a stunning 2018, crowned by the release of her magnificent magnum opus, Tell Me How You Really Feel.

20 Jan, Iaykila Stage

M u l at u As ta k e

The elder statesman of Ethiopian Jazz brings the Black Jesus Experience to Launceston.

Second bite of the cherry Hip hop, soul and feminist icon Neneh Cherry returns to Australia for the second time next January to spread her message of selfempowerment through expression. Here she tells Cyclone how she cultivated positive anger for new album Broken Politics.

T

he Swedish pop icon Neneh Cherry heralded the hip

Kong, co-produced by Massive Attack’s 3D. But Cherry isn’t

hop soul movement with 1989’s seminal debut Raw

doctrinal. “I was reflective and very affected from just being

Like Sushi - a manifesto on street feminism. Some 30

a human in the world right now and having feelings of con-

years later, she’s considering the nuances of global political

fusion and sadness and anger and disillusionment and worry,

disarray with Broken Politics. And Cherry’s message is one of

but also love and hope. So all these things were sort of [the]

self-empowerment through expression.

fall-out from a political climate. The natural thing for me is to,

“I’m not always so completely sure about what it is I’m

not just go into myself in a kind of isolated way, but to go inter-

exactly trying to say,” she admits from her London base. “I’m

nally to try and process some of those things. The songs are

just trying to say something, you know? Sometimes I find it

asking a lot of questions - because I think also consciously I

quite difficult to actually specifically be like, ‘Oh, this is this and

wanted to reach out. I felt that Blank Project was very much

this is that,’ because it’s a journey.”

a record that was kind of an outpour and it had an urgency

Today this inherently intersectional thinker is recognised

and it was slightly anxious, in a way, while with this record it

as a trailblazer, even as she transcends most music scenes.

was more like, ‘Ok, how do we go on?’ I mean, always for me,

Cherry’s back story is extraordinary. She was born in Stockholm

that place of making music and writing is where I’m trying to

to the visual artist Monika “Moki” Karlsson and Sierra Leonean

figure things out. It’s where I have those conversations with

drummer Ahmadu Jah. Her mother wed the American jazz

myself and I guess, at the same time, [I was] maybe making

trumpeter Don Cherry, the family leading a bohemian, inter-

a record that’s less self-examining - not examining myself, but

national lifestyle. Cherry’s beloved stepfather introduced her

the environment more.”

to the punk band The Slits on tour. An independent teen, she

For Cherry, fulfilling Broken Politics was illuminating. The

settled in the UK, eventually fronting Rip Rig + Panic. On meet-

vocalist didn’t necessarily come to any major conclusions,

ing her life partner, and key collaborator, Cameron McVey, she

but she empathised more deeply. “Maybe the conclusion

worked on Massive Attack’s Blue Lines.

is also about resisting; [knowing] that times are really weird

Signed to Virgin, Cherry busted out with her B-girl bop

and questionable and a lot of things are happening that I’m

Buffalo Stance, preceding Raw Like Sushi. The rapper/singer

in huge disagreement about, but also having a sense of that

was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. She ventured

we’re gonna make it somehow. That feeling of cultivating even

into trip hop, and indie, on Homebrew, while engaging The

positive anger; some sort of hope.”

Notorious BIG for a remix of the track Buddy X. But, after

Though Cherry visited Australia for promo in the ‘90s, she

1996’s Man (and its hit 7 Seconds with Youssou N’Dour), Cher-

first toured in 2015. This summer, she’ll return with a new six-

ry apparently retreated into domesticity. In fact, she cut occa-

piece band. Rather than performing a ‘best of’ show, she’ll be

sional collabs and pursued side-gigs. In 2012, Cherry aired a

focussing on Broken Politics (“almost only - I mean, not com-

covers set, The Cherry Thing, with the Scandinavian outfit The

pletely, but nearly”).

Thing - calling it “a kind of free jazz project”. This invigorated

Cherry’s children have followed her into music - indeed,

her. Cherry connected with Kieran Hebden, feted as the IDM

her youngest daughter is the rising R&B star Mabel - even

producer Four Tet, for the “liberating” Blank Project - a tech-

though contemporary artists often struggle to sustain them-

jazz album thematising personal loss. Cherry established a

selves financially. “Selling records, and making money out of

momentum. Hebden was keen to reunite. And so they head-

selling records, unless you’re Beyonce or someone, is pretty

ed to New York to record Broken Politics.

hard,” Cherry sighs. However, musicians can now circum-

Featuring a unique fusion of African beats,

If Blank Project was about interiority, then Broken Poli-

vent corporate models. “I love the fact that anybody can

Latin grooves, and Jazz licks, it’s an “Ethio-

tics initiates a discussion. The title, Cherry notes, serves as “a

put out music.” Still, Cherry frets about emotional wellbeing

headline”.

in the digital age. “Obviously, there’s an incredible pressure -

funk” sound-world like no other 19 Jan, Iaykila Stage

Topically,

she

ruminates on the

I watch Mabel with the social media and it feels like a 24/7

plight of ref-

dialogue. Sometimes I feel concerned that it’s just con-

ugees in

stant... You wake up and the first thing you look at is your phone.”

Un d e rwo r l d Neneh Cherry tours from 15 Jan.

The British titans of techno are bringing their unique brand of thumping euphoria for a rich and rare outing Down Under. For those whose clubbing days were in the ‘90s, this will be hardcore nostalgia not to be missed. 20 Jan, Iaykila Stage

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mona foma


Enjoy Kahlúa Responsibly

The Music

December


Your guide to mona-ing and foma-ing in Launceston When eccentric card shark and art fanatic David Walsh upscaled the hobbit hole, burrowing into the hard rock below Moorilla Estate’s winery to create the astounding sex, death and rock’n’roll temple that is the world-renowned Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania’s capital city Hobart was forever transformed.

A

huge boon to both the economic and cultural fabric of Australia’s southernmost hub, it’s also the largest privately funded institution of its kind in the south-

ern hemisphere. Walsh is rightly seen as something of a local hero, even if, or perhaps because of, the occasional hullabaloo caused by poo machines or inverted crosses. And he’s not done sharing the love. Summer festival MONA FOMA (or MOFO for short) is packing its bags and heading north for 2019 after a baby-sized version thrilled the city in January this year, with a little help from a tidy $1.75 million cash injection from the Tassie government. Whether you’re a local intrigued to find out what’s a’coming your way or an interstate/international inveigler, here’s our guide to the old and new art order.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Stephen Nomura Schible’s doco

Beasts villain. Instead it’s a stunning Swiss chalet-style escape

celebrating the Oscar-winning Japanese composer, dancer,

with a golf course located in wine country. If you don’t mind

artist and activist.

the trek, it’s only a 15-minute drive into town and worth it for the peace and quiet.

FAUX MO

As tight-lipped as a new Star Wars movie, even when the

M O F O m u s t- d o s MACHINE 9

If you love space, Brits and weird electronic music, then this is the aural art experience for you. Sound designer and composer Nick Ryan collaborated with a bunch of boffins to create this whatchamacallit that monitors the orbit of 27,000

line-up for this warehouse-style rave drops, there’s no telling exactly what’s in store for the crowd assembling for the far-

Explore this leafy paradise via the world’s longest single

you need to be there.

span chairlift and breathtaking suspension bridges.

R e s t yo u r hea d PEPPERS SEAPORT HOTEL

heavenly music that will haunt the Queen Victoria Museum &

views in Launceston with this nautically inspired hideaway

Art Gallery. Plus, they have a thylacine exhibition there.

surrounded by great restaurants. Plus it’s no impossible voy-

mania has broken open its weirdest and most wonderful

Utterly stunning, it feels like it’s a million miles away from everywhere, even though it’s actually just on the outskirts of the city. Take a picnic, have a dip in the pool and chase peacocks, plus MOFO are laying on morning yoga sessions.

Built on an old dry dock, sail into some of the best river

A very on-brand MONA experience, the University of Tas-

CATARACT GORGE RESERVE

out floorshow at city haunt Dicky White’s Lane. Just know that

bits of space junk and somehow transforms that data into

ART OF THE BODY: HEALTH, BEAUTY, AND DESIRE

W hile yo u ’ re t here

NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM

Rev heads should hoon full throttle towards this vintage car

age, only a quick cruise on foot into the maelstrom of the

paradise that houses one of the country’s finest collections,

MOFO action.

from homegrown heroes to flash international stars, spanning over 100 years of wheely good history.

HOTEL GRAND CHANCELLOR

SAINT JOHN CRAFT BEER BAR

medical oddities from the museum vaults and challenged

Slap bang in the heart of the CBD, swish rooms await behind

a plethora of out-there artists from sculptor CJ Edwards to

the Georgian-style red awning facade and beyond the trick-

body painter Joanna Gair to respond to them in their own

ling water feature foyer. Cashing in here means you’ll be right

away, this divine watering hole is all about bowing down

unique way.

in the thick of it.

to the great gods of craft beer, with 14 on tap and over 170

ONESIE WORLD 2.0

ARTHOUSE BACKPACKER HOSTEL

Aussie performance artist and nifty designer Adele Varcoe

ing, heritage-listed hostel is far from scary. Perched on the

If you’re feeling a bit dusty mid-fest, treat yourself to a

from recruiting an army of devotees to the cotton all-over

North Esk River since 1888 and recently given a fancy reno, it’s

mighty fine feed at one of Launceston’s best restaurants.

cause. She got over a 1000 folks to don the all-in-one wear

a short stroll into the mix.

Dating back to the 1830s and showing off chunky wooden

Summer isn’t exactly prime onesie time, but that won’t stop

at the mini-MOFO tryout this year and is aiming for almost double that this time’round, with the aid of Finnish fashionistas Self-Assembly. CINEMOFO

Sometimes you just need to kick back in a dark room with perfect strangers and open your mind wide. Not to be confused with the Minneapolis-horrormeisters, this is actually a cool, curated film festival that includes the mesmerising

Not to be confused with St John’s Anglican Church a block

bottles ready for worship.

On a budget? No problem. This Addams Family kooky-look-

STILLWATER

beams and gnarled floorboards, the setting is almost as

BIG4 LAUNCESTON HOLIDAY PARK

spiffy as the salivation-inspiring menu that includes the

Another affordable option is to rock up to this campsite near

likes of Mount Gnomon pork belly and Tassie blacklip

the gorgeous Cataract Gorge. And don’t panic if you’re not all

abalone.

that into the elements, you don’t even need to pitch a tent. Just book one of their cute lil’ cabins. TAMAR VALLEY RESORT, GRINDELWALD

No, it’s not the evil lair of bad mojo Johnny Depp’s Fantastic

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MONA FOMA

CITY PARK MONKEY ENCLOSURE

Who doesn’t love monkeys? Assuming you’re in the 99% camp that do, why not visit the Japanese Macaques that call this dear green spot in the midst of the city home?


Want more news, reviews and interviews? Head to the new look theMusic.com.au


A r t s

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Y e a r i n fF i l m By anthony Carew

A Quiet Place

W

ith superhero movie fatigue reaching peak levels and streaming service originals popping out from every corner of the industry, Anthony Carew wraps up the best and worst of this year in movies. When your old pal Film Carew was watching Venom, I was thrown into the throes of an existential crisis. Of the 350+ movies I saw this year, there were far worse films: the climactic contractual obligation of the witless Fifty Shades franchise, the horrifyingly tone-deaf/laughless I Feel Pretty, the lame generic-

thriller-in-internet-threads Searching and the grotesque IPreviving car crash The Predator all leap to mind in ‘Nam-like PTSD flashbacks. But there was something about filing into a 10am opening-day Venom screening that felt like being trapped in some cinematic groundhog day: watching not just another instantly forgettable superhero flick, but another filmed-entertainmentproduct planned as the first part of a whole new multi-movie marketing ploy (this time, *deep sigh of resignation*, Sony’s Marvel Universe). That existential dread — making me question every decision that led up to watching Venom at 10am on opening day, taking fucking notes — came from cumulative comic book fatigue, the culmination of a decade watching men in costumes crack wise and save the world. If this has become blockbuster cinema’s default mode, do I really want to stay a slave to the grind? Do I really want to be watching the tenth reboot of Spider-Man on my deathbed, trying to remember which actor came in between Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland? Luckily, cinema, as an artform, is a multifaceted creature: ever-evolving, forever different things to different people. Depending on your viewpoint, in 2018 the movies were either in peak form or undergoing crisis, the changing landscape provoking both possibility and panic. Even Netflix is no longer simply some villainous monolith out to sully the sacredness of cinema: the streaming giant, in coming for that prestige picture corner, granted Alfonso

Cuarún’s glorious memoir-in-tracking-shots Roma a release in (selected) theatres. If you’re the kind of person who haunts selected (selected) theatres, then 2018 didn’t have to be the year of Venom. It could be the year of Custody, Xavier Legrand’s masterwork of mounting tension; a jaw-dropping debut in a year of incredible debuts, the year’s best films surely including Meryem Benm’Barek’s social excoriation Sofia, Isabella Eklüf’s blackhearted-peoplein-sunlit-surrounds pic Holiday, and Boots Riley’s bonkers socio-satirical black-comedy Sorry To Bother You. At the other end of the spectrum were old friends in familiar fine form. There’s sheer delight in watching a filmmaker do what they do well, be that Wes Anderson’s bittersweet obsessive fussiness (Isle Of Dogs), Franñois Ozon’s psycho-sexual hijinks (Double Lover), Gaspar Noé’s way-OTT bad trip fetishry (Climax), or Paul Thomas Anderson’s Master-ful framing and direction of actors (Phantom Thread). 2018 was also a great year for fans of horror at its most stylised and ridiculous. Nicolas Pesce’s Piercing was a lurid nocturnal cocktail of psycho-sexual body horror, De Palma-styled ersatz kitsch, and giallo OST cues. Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake was a 152-minute Eastern Bloc tone poem that peaked with a hysterical occultist-ritual-as-moderndance climax. Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy was a neon-lit descent into Jungian purgatory with Nic Cage chewing scenery and Júhann Júhannsson wielding a mighty Custody

Y e a r i n tT Vv B y G u y D av i s

Y

ou get what you pay for, they say. And when it comes to television nowadays, that applies to both the consumer and the creator. The small screen has been attracting talent of a higher and higher calibre on both sides of the camera in recent years and budgets are similarly skyrocketing. This applies primarily to streaming services and pay-TV, however. Despite the free-to-air networks trying their damnedest to make lightning strike multiple times when it comes to scripted drama (in the last few weeks, no less than three knockoffs of the tear-jerking success story This Is Us have premiered), their shows aren’t really central to the conversation that much these days. Having said that, national broadcasters ABC and SBS continue to show commitment to telling Australian stories, sometimes to good effect (Safe Harbour was both taut and timely), sometimes not (Dead Lucky. Well, they were half right with that title). Confession #1: I watched maybe ten minutes of Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins’ exploits on Ten’s The Bachelor Australia before exclaiming, “Fuck this for a joke,” and never tuning in again.

So it’ll mainly be the likes of the major streaming services that’ll be covered here, although there are some exceptions — for instance, SBS had the rights to Atlanta’s second season, and Donald Glover and his crew exceeded the high standards set by the show’s distinctive debut, with episodes like the haunting Woods and the unnerving Teddy Perkins (FUCKING TEDDY PERKINS) serving as forceful reminders of Atlanta’s unique energy and style. Atlanta was far from the only series to not succumb to the sophomore slump — the metaphysical mind-fuck Legion continued on its merry way, its season-ending denouement flipping the script for David Haller (Dan Stevens), transforming the powerful psychic from potential superhero to something a little more morally murky. And the animated Big Mouth went to extraordinarily candid lengths to depict the trials and tribulations of puberty in gross, glorious and hilarious detail. Big Mouth co-star John Mulaney was one of the stand-up comedians whose work was show-

The Deuce

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Year in review

cased on Netflix in 2018 — his special Kid Gorgeous demonstrated that he’s moving ahead in leaps and bounds as a raconteur and observer (likening the Trump presidency to “a horse loose in a hospital” was a masterstroke). Dave Chappelle scored a killer one-two blow with his unflinching Equanimity and The Bird Revelation, which frankly addressed his own, uh, problematic past takes on sensitive issues without sacrificing his own potency and honesty. And Adam Sandler, of all people, delivered the goods with his surprisingly funny and touching 100% Fresh — his tribute to his friend, the late Chris Farley, is worth the subscription alone. Confession #2 (and this may be a dealbreaker for some of you): I have yet to watch Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. I know, I know. I’m waiting for the hype to die down. Speaking of Netflix, I know movies are the purview of my colleague Anthony Carew but feature films made for and making their debut on the streaming service. Well, that’s my beat, Jack. So may I recommend a trio? Green Room ‘s Jeremy Saulnier continued to distress with his gripping, disquieting Hold The Dark. Indonesian actioner The Night Comes For Us was, not to put too fine a point on it, fucking berserk. And if you’re in the market for something astonishingly tense, cue up Calibre. Try to know as little as possible going in — and thank me later. You probably won’t need further tension after Calibre, but the six-part UK series Bodyguard — with Game Of Thrones’ Richard Madden excelling as an ex-soldier with PTSD thrust into a conspiracy reaching the highest levels of British politics


A r t s

w r a p

u p

2 0 1 8

Year in arts By Maxim Boon

drone-laced score, and Lukas Feigelfeld’s Hagazussa was the cinematic equivalent of ambient black-metal, all dread-inducing ambience and airy atmospherics. As for Ari Aster’s Hereditary, well: Hail, Paimon! A much more tasteful horror flick proved one of the year’s big unexpected hits. John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place treated its kinda-silly monsters-who-hunt-by-hearing premise with an almost religious reverence. Its opening act, which takes place entirely in silence, made for one of cinema’s great collective experiences: shaming a popcorn-movie audience into quietude, the whole crowd daring not to make a crunch. The flipside to this — and the anti-Roma, release-wise — was Alex Garland’s surrealist sci-fi head trip Annihilation, a Kubrick- and Tarkovsky-influenced sight-and-sound spectacle that Australian audiences had to watch at home on Netflix, even though it was clearly built for the big screen, and for a collective headfuck. But if that experience felt like some depressing symbol of cinema’s demise, new ways to consume films were revealed, too. Tsai Ming-liang’s The Deserted marked the first — but surely not the last — auteur VR movie, the Taiwanese legend’s particular quirks (long takes, minimalism, decaying buildings, boredom) now verily engulfing willing/able participants. Experiencing something so simple as a rainstorm in Ming-liang’s VR world felt like cinematic ASMR, tactile and evocative — and made for an experience so transcendent that the film-critic racket felt like pure joy, not Venom-ous suffering.

A

ustralia’s cultural capital: is it Melbourne or Sydney? Some say it’s like comparing apples and oranges, others reckon it’s too close to call, and yet more insist it’s a no-brainer — although there are just as many barracking for one as there are for the other. The one thing we can probably agree on is that there’s certainly no shortage of compelling arguments for both (the Sydney Opera House’s status as the world’s most famous building is often considered the clincher. According to Sydneysiders, at least). But in a race that has long been neck and neck, Melbourne may well have inched ahead in 2018. And largely, it’s thanks to just one of this city’s many great arts institutions — the National Gallery Of Victoria. When it comes to visual arts, Sydney has previously dominated with the duel trump cards of the Biennale, and since 2016, The National — the country’s most extensive showcase of Australian-made work. Prior to 2018, this pair of knock-out showcases has proven a one-two sucker punch for its Victorian opponent. But this year, two heavyweight exhibitions — both Melbourne exclusives — made the NGV the undisputed champion of Australia’s visual arts scene. Opening at the end of December last year, the NGV launched its answer to Sydney’s Biennale, the Triennial — a sprawling international showcase of contemporary art, fashion and design, traversing all four floors of the blue stone monolith on St Kilda Road. And what’s more, completely free to the public. By some margin, it’s the most audacious undertaking ever mounted by the gallery, so there’s plenty of praise I could heap. I could, for example, wax lyrical about the worldclass stature of the more than 100 artists featured; the geographical, political and cultural scope of the collection; the intel-

The Haunting Of Hill House

— has plenty to offer. And The Terror, a tale of 19th-century sailors wrestling with madness and monsters (literal or metaphorical — you make the call!) in the ice-bound Northwest Passage is a bona fide masterpiece of slow-burn. Well, terror. Confession #3: I kinda liked the ending of Sharp Objects. For mine, the binge-watch of the year may have been The Haunting Of Hill House, a ten-episode adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel that reimagined the story’s characters and events, transforming it into a tale of prolonged, pronounced fragility, instability and pain — a legacy that must be confronted and exorcised. Splendid performances from an excellent cast and superb craftsmanship from filmmaker Mike Flanagan made this a limited-run series that delivered delicious jump scares but, more importantly, conjured up a melancholic mood that lingered and, yes, haunted. I’ve missed some, haven’t I? Hey, there’s a comments section around here somewhere. You know what to do.

Uji Handoko – Eko Saputro

The Music

65

Year in review

The NGV

ligence and invention of the curation and its combination of immersive, ‘grammable spectacles with intimate and introspective moments. I could gush about the creative innovations on display, from virtually every artistic frontier imaginable: in form and function; media and method; philosophy and feeling; through works both ephemeral and extant. But of all its many laudable attributes, the Triennial’s most impressive accomplishment was surely how comprehensively it chronicled the vast spectrum of human experience, with all its emotional complexities. The whimsical and playful, such as Yayoi Kusama’s evolving floral explosion or the luminous vortices of Teamlab’s responsive light installation, were counterpointed by works exploring darker narratives. Sourced from 32 countries, this collection offered an unflinching global survey of contemporary humanity; its success and sorrow, its flaws and its unerring resilience. By any measure, the Triennial was always going to be an extremely hard act to follow. But I have a sneaking suspicion the curators at the NGV probably weren’t sweatin’ it, given the artistic riches they had lined up for the gallery’s flagship winter show. Hyperbole would probably be a touch reductive, so I’ll say this as unequivocally as possible: New York’s Museum of Modern Art boasts the best contemporary collection in the world. Period (as our American friends would say). So, when MoMA shut its doors for renovations earlier this year, the stage was set for the NGV to take, on loan, an exhibition featuring a bumper-to-bumper roll call of modern art megastars. From Dali to Duchamp, Rothko to Warhol, Picasso to Popova, the most revered and influential artworks of the past 130 years made the 16,665km journey from their Manhattan home to the heart of Melbourne, offering a never-before afforded chance to see these masterpieces on Aussie turf. It’s often said that Melburnians are desensitised — even a little complacent, dare I say — to the consistently high calibre of cultural delights on offer here, year-round. But even by this city’s sky-high standards, MoMA at NGV was one serious cause célèbre that’s unlikely to be topped any decade soon. At this point, you could be forgiven for assuming the NGV had played its winning hand. But not content with wowing with its present, the gallery also announced some jaw-dropping news about its future. Over the next six years, the construction of Australia’s largest modern art gallery will become the jewel in the crown of a massive redevelopment of the Southbank Arts Precinct, due to be completed by 2025. Sorry about that Sydney. Game. Set. Match.


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The Music

December

SELLING FAST SOLD OUT


Pic: Eva Lazarus

The Pleasure Garden Now in its third year, seaside shindig The Pleasure Garden returns to the lush lawns of St Kilda’s Catani Gardens. The festival features roving performers, art installations, artisan market stalls of course a selection of top-notch food and drinks. Musically, you can expect the likes of The Temper Trap, Xavier Rudd, Northeast Party House, Confidence Man, Sampa The Great, Eva Lazarus (pictured), Samsaruh and many more. It all takes place 8 Dec.


Sunpocalypse now

The days are getting longer and hotter and we couldn’t be happier. This month we’ve got seasonal survival tips for heliophobes, summer beers to toast while you roast and some fresh tunes to go with them.

Summer lovin’ having a blast

Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia

Sam Wall would go to literally any lengths to avoid breaking a sweat. He takes a look at some foolproof ways to survive the coming summer.

T

he summer forecast is in and it’s mostly words like hot, dry, record, blackouts and El Nino. From the looks of things we’ve officially cooked it — Global Warming is real and The Big Sweat of ‘18/’19 is rolling in. While we’re not really the sort to salute the sun at the best of times here at The Music, we do understand the impulse. Too much of a good thing can kill you though, so if you want to see another autumn it’s worth taking a few preventative measures.

Mela-NO-mate

Wearther it out

Follow the winter

Melanoma’s nothing to giggle at. It’s the fourth most common cancer in Oz, being edged off the podium by breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, and the ultra-violent ultraviolets Down Under ensure we’re consistently tied with NZ as the top location for new cases worldwide. Melanoma Patients Australia reckon it kills someone in Australia every five hours, which is pretty wild when they also say “more than 90% of melanoma cases can be successfully treated with surgery” if detected early. With that in mind, if you want to legitimately survive the sunpocalypse you should get yourself checked. It’s 2018 so there’s even a couple apps for that. Miiskin keeps a running photo-diary of all your spots and dots to monitor dangerous changes and SkinVison goes a step further, offering risk assessment and access to dermatologists for a professional opinion. It never hurts to remember your Desiderius Erasmus and Slip Slop Slap either.

Mad Max might get around the end times dressed head to toe in four-inch-thick leather, but then the man’s not named for his level head. Dude would be dead from dehydration and sour crotch waft long before The Humungus ever started monologuing. We’ve established that melanomas aren’t so flash, so you’re not going to want to rock a singlet either. Luckily, a Japanese company called Haruyama had the right idea a few years back. Their ‘New Ice Suit’ caused a lot of online chatter when it first popped up, mostly from articles lightly teasing the company for designing a business suit with hidden pockets you could line with frozen gel packs. The world just wasn’t ready for the NIS it seemed, but when the mercury’s been pushing 40 for three days straight, we think the folks wearing tailored chilly bins are going to be the ones laughing. Of course if we’re really staring down the heat death of humanity what you’re going to want is a Zetex entry suit — the big silver spaceman get-ups emergency responders wear if there’s a chance they’re going to be totally engulfed in flames. Those bad boys will keep your bacon from sizzling in up to 1,093®C heat. Plus you get to look like the alien from The Day The Earth Stood Still. The 1951 original, that is. Nothing you wear’s going to make you look like Keanu Reaves.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Walk down the hallway and exit your home. Call a car to the airport. Get on a plane and leave the heat behind, if it’s the heat you can’t stand. And if that is your game-plan, make sure the plane is headed dead south. According to a report by BBC Focus, of the ten coldest places on Earth the top four are all camps in Antarctica — with Dome Fuji coming in hot at -93.2®C. At those temperatures you need to breathe through a snorkel that runs up your sleeve so your body warmth can take a little starch out of the air. There is a good chance you’ll need at least a bachelor’s to hide out in an Antarctic research facility, however, so if you aren’t the academic type the first place to get a look in outside of the deep south is Mount McKinley in Alaska at number five (-73.8®C). Russia and Greenland snag a couple spots apiece after that before Canada rounds out the list with Snag, Yukon, where you can enjoy weather in the -60s. If you don’t have pick-up-and-go money, pubs often have air conditioning as well.

The Music

68

Your town


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Summer suds The mercury is rising, y’all. And what summer scorcher would be complete without crackin’ a cold one or two (or three)? So, if you’re pondering what your go-to thirst-quencher should be this sunny season, we reckon you can’t go wrong with these beery beauts. Bottoms up!

Sam’s summer jams Sam Wall plugs some local tracks to fill the gaps in your sunny season playlists.

Oh Pep! – Your Nail And Your Hammer

Young Henrys Newtowner

Matso’s Mango Beer

Matso’s Ginger Beer

You don’t get to be one of the nation’s top breweries without knowing your shit, and Young Henrys can back-up their coast-tocoast appeal with impressive silverware. Their Newtowner has just won Best Independent Craft Beer at this year’s ALIA Awards, as well as runner-up for Best Draught. With this in your stubby holder, you know you’re in good hands.

Visitors to Matso’s brewery in Broome have often referred to its Mango Beer as “the tropics in a bottle”. And they’re not wrong – it’s an easy drinking, sessionready beer with full fruit aromas and a sweet dryness to finish. It’s the perfect way to bring you back to ‘Broome Time’ all year ‘round. It’s best served nice and cold, straight from the esky.

Born in the remote Western Australian town of Broome, this zesty, refreshing beer was brewed to reward the locals after a day in the hot Kimberley sun. Now it’s shared across the country, and not just at the end of a hot day. At 3.5% ABV, Matso’s Ginger Beer is designed for all occasions. Enjoy it over ice or as an uplifting mixer with your favourite spirit.

Singer/guitarist Olivia Hally has said this song came out of wondering where a stranger she briefly met while waiting in line for her social security number ended up. With clever lyricism framed by Pepita Emmerichs’ plucky mando/strings accompaniment, the result of her wandering imagination is super catchy, totally charming and as sweetly fanciful as any runaway daydream should be.

Kira Puru – Fly If you have even a sliver of space in your heart for top-notch pop bangers you should really already have Kira Puru’s self-titled EP repeating end to end like a bop-inducing ouroboros. This is less a suggestion to listen to Fly than a public service announcement for anyone that likes irresistible beats but somehow missed the memo.

Byron Bay Brewery Hazy One Pale Lager

Kaiju Krush Tropical Pale Ale

Panhead Quickchange XPA

Mountain Goat Summer Ale

An ice cold lager is a timeless summer go-to, but this one brings some extra flavour to the style. Take in the fruity and floral aromas and enjoy a bitter bite balanced by the biscuit-like malty notes. It’s a perfect combo of fresh and fruity with a rich, yeasty haze, that’ll maintain its freshness all summer.

With a super-clean malt profile, this soft and fruity brew delivers a deluge of tropical flavours to the desert island of your mouth! And for those beer aficionados who are looking for some craft creds, this summer ale boasts hops from both sides of the equator, sourced from the US, New Zealand and Australia.

This light as a feather refresher comes courtesy of Quickchange’s smooth malt base, delivering a delicately delicious blend of hops with hints of tropical fruits and citrus. And because sometimes you don’t want liver brought to a standstill, the XPA’s ABV 4.6% is as easy on the stomach as it is on the palate. This is a true taste of summer that you can enjoy all season long.

Many summers ago, Mountain Goat had two hotweather staples that could only be found on tap at the brewery: Skipping Girl and Goldilocks. They soon realised that this style of beer should be enjoyed all year round and a summer legend was born, low on bitterness and full of fruity, crisp characters.

The Music

Kirkis – Dead

Nightclub

Dead Nightclub is a hard sell as a summer song. The intro is definitely too sinister for sunlight - a pitch-shifted, evil Alvin sample of These Boots Are Made For Walking backed with throbbing MIDI bass. But then motorik snare and bright synths come in over Kirkis’s ‘Bowie has a Berghain-induced anxiety attack’ vocals and who cares what the weather’s doing?

70

Your town


Big Mountains, Huge Sounds

15-17 FEBRUARY 2019

Yarra’s parks and public spaces will be alcohol and glass free zones on New Year’s Eve

TICKETS ON SALE:

EARLY BIRD: 13TH SEPTEMBER FULL PRICE: 31 OCTOBER to purchase or for more info go to

grampiansmusicfestival.com

We want everyone to have a safe and fun New Years’ Eve in Yarra.

• Please respect residents who live near the park.

• Alcohol is not permitted in public spaces including parks from 9pm Sunday 30 December 2018 until 9am Tuesday 1 January 2019.

• Penalties will apply.

• Please leave glass at home

grampiansmusicfestival.com

For more information contact us on 9205 5555 or info@yarracity.vic.gov.au

ȟŞƎŕĿǛĚēŞƭƙĿČĿƙŠūƥƎĚƑŞĿƥƥĚē

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• Clean up after yourself (and your dogs) and use the bins provided

Hoodoo Gurus

You Am I

Eskimo Joe

The Superjesus

British India

The Getaway Plan Scott Darlow

e Reserve or sh re Fo s g in st a H th 12 ry a Saturday Janu tmaster.com.au | 136 100 esouthernstars.com.au | ticke rth Tickets and show details at unde | 03 5979 1201 In person at Westernport Hotel

The Music

December


Good Things

Sunnyside

upside

What’s the vibe: Heavy-set new kid on the

block swings for the fence.

Big dog: The combination one-two punch

of Offspring and Stone Sour. Be still my classic ‘90s heart. Show stealer: WAAX will peel your face off and you’ll thank them for it. Cherry on top: Seminal Offspring album Smash in full. Seriously ‘90s heart, calm the fuck down.

The Offspring. Pic: Sam Jones

When the sun’s beating down and the thermometer’s whistling there’s no point just shvitzing the day away. Summer means festivals, so peel yourself of that pleather couch, assemble the squad and make the most of the season at these top tier good times.

Festival

When & Where:

7 Dec, Flemington Racecourse

Falls

Festival

What’s the vibe: Have you never been to Falls? Brah.

Braaaaaah, You gotta sort that out.

Big dog: Anderson .Paak, Toto, Dizzee Rascal, Catfish &

The bottlemen — the list goes on.

Show stealer: There’s plenty of strong competition here but

Tash Sultana

our gut says West Thebarton are going to be on a lot of post fest playlists. Cherry on top: What more do you want you greedy bugger? When & Where: 28 — 31 Dec, Lorne

Beyond

The Valley

What’s the vibe: Lush casual.

Confidence Man

Big dog: Tash Sultana, Joey Bada$$, The Kooks, PNAU. Everyone’s a big dog at BTV. Show stealer: It’s not really a hot tip at this point but Alice Ivy steals every show. Cherry on top: The glamping set-up is seriously swank. You get a memory foam mattress: ‘nuff said. When & Where: 28 Dec — 1 Jan, Lardner Park

The Pleasure

Garden

headliner’ yet but The Temper Trap, Xavier Rudd, Confidence Man and Sampa The Great more than justify the cost of entry. Show stealer: Okenyo. You need her, she doesn’t need you. Cherry on top: This is a seriously good looking festival. Wild stages, weird costumes, wandering performers — so much to look at. When & Where: 8 Dec, Catani Gardens

The Breeders

the beach.

Big dog: They haven’t revealed their ‘secret International

Anderson Paak. Pic: Lucinda Goodwin

What’s the vibe: Post steam punk, triple j art rave by

NYE On

The Hill

What’s the vibe: Homegrown legends ring

in the new year for three days straight.

Smith Street Band

Big dog: The Smith Street Band are topping

the bill on top of the hill. Show stealer: Approachable Members of *breath* Your Local Community are a certified hoot. Crocodylus’ latest track My Baby is pretty crunchy too. Cherry on top: Getting out of the city for New Year’s. When & Where: 30 Dec — 1 Jan, The Farm

The Music

72

Your town

Meredith

Music Festival

What’s the vibe: The Inner North goes camping.

Big dog: Heck yeah The Breeders! Plus Billy Bragg, Sampa

The Great, The Aints!, Panda Bear, ect. Stacked.

Show stealer: Shrimp Witch for sure. Or maybe Genesis

Owasu. Actually Clypso is pretty good too. Please don’t make us choose. Cherry on top: The ‘Sup, the couches, The Gift, the ‘no dickheads’ policy. What’s not to love? When & Where:

7 Dec, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre


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December

7.30pm


For the latest live reviews go to theMusic.com.au

Queenscliff Music Festival. Photos by Lucinda Goodwin.

“The joint Australian/USA musical blues explosion that is The Turner Brown Band crank out some superb numbers that make us wanna holler, ‘A-men!’”

Three days of top-notch ear nosh have passed and now we’ve got to wait a whole year for the next Queenscliff Music Festival. From The Turner Brown Band to Gurru-

mul’s Djarimirri Live, Osaka Monaurail to Ali Barter, the

— Bryget Chrisfield Ali Barter

highlights were countless.

David Byrne @ Margaret Court Arena.

The one-time Talking Heads frontman really is one

of a kind, so it’s no surprise that his American Utopia

world tour was like nothing else we’ve ever seen. It was

joyous. It was confronting. It was ingenious. It was pure David Byrne.

“Under a sharp spotlight, Byrne appears seated at the table and handles the model brain during opener, ‘Here’. We freak out. He’s actually here.”

The Turner Brown Band

Photo by Nathan Goldsworthy.

— Bryget Chrisfield

Press Club @ The Tote. Photos by Nathan Goldsworthy. Press Club have been extremely busy knocking the nation’s crowds

on their arses this year and The Tote copped it especially sweet early

last month. We hope you were there, it’s probably one of the last times they’ll play a room that size.

“Press Club play with the purpose of a band that’s going places.” — Joel Lohman

The Music

74

Reviews


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December

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Milestones and memories

Local music by Jeff Jenkins

Five years ago

Air Supply are inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, and Michael Gudinski is the first ARIA Industry Icon.

Melbourne’s Hiatus Kaiyote become the first Aussie act to be nominated

2018 in review

for an R&B Grammy, with their song Nakamarra nominated for Best R&B

Gang Of Youths. Pic: Lucinda Goodwin; Missy Higgins. Pic: Cybele Malinowski

Performance. John Williamson resigns as president of the Country Music Association of

Australia, after ten years, complaining that the annual Golden Guitar awards have become too American, citing the nominations of Keith Urban, and Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey’s The Great Country Songbook, “an album with 90 per cent American covers”. “If we are not respected as a legitimate organisation to promote original Australian country music, I cannot be associated with it any longer,” he says. Ten years ago

Cold Chisel’s original bass player,

Les Kaczmarek, dies of liver failure,

aged 53. He spent two years in Chisel before being replaced by Phil Small in 1975. He also co-wrote AFL club Port Adelaide’s theme song. 30 years ago

Kylie becomes the first artist to have

four consecutive number one singles in Finland.

T

he year started with news that Melbourne’s Festival Hall would be demolished, to be replaced by apartments. By year’s end, the venue — the only surviving venue from The Beatles’ 1964 tour — was still standing, signifying a year that featured a lot of talk, plenty of outrage, but not a lot of action. Behaviour at gigs was one such hot issue. As the Herald Sun ‘s Mikey Cahill succinctly said, “Don’t be that guy.” Triple j’s Hottest 100 moved from Australia Day to January 27, while Chrissie Vincent, in a revealing thesis, shone a light on the lack of Australian music on commercial radio. They don’t like quotas, but wouldn’t it be good — for everyone, including themselves — if they supported more local music? Cherry Bar’s James Young started the great mobile phone debate in February, when he proposed a voluntary ban. “Holding up your phone and filming songs at a live music gig is just not rock’n’roll,” he said. “And at all times Cherry Bar must stand up for rock ‘n’ roll.” Gang Of Youths rocked the NRL Grand Final, while the cultural cringe continued at the AFL. They booked Barnesy — big tick — but felt they also needed to have The Black Eyed Peas on the bill. Believe it or not, Ross Wilson has never played at the AFL Grand Final. Don’t you think that Eagle Rock would have got a reasonable response at this year’s game? Ross did have some big 2018 gigs, including a memorable appearance on Neighbours, playing himself. He was greeted by Paige, played by his real-life step-daughter Olympia Valance. She told the rocker, “I am so sorry, I actually didn’t know who you were . so I don’t know any of your songs. No offence.” “None taken,” Ross replied. “My own kids don’t even know my songs.”

In a year of shocks, perhaps the biggest surprise was that Neil Finn had joined Fleetwood Mac. Hopefully, it will inspire other big bands to look down under — how good would Dallas Crane’s Dave Larkin be out front of AC/DC? Nearing the end of the year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison compiled a Spotify playlist. Perfect timing for Ausmusic Month. The list featured 92 artists and 146 songs — one of which was Australian. One. Wa Wa Nee’s Stimulation. Sadly, Wa Wa Nee’s Paul Gray was one of many fine musicians and industry people we lost in 2018. A list that’s way too long, including Conway Savage, Brian Hooper, Cyndi Boste, Spencer P. Jones, V Spy V Spy’s Mike Weiley, Jeff St John, The Ferrets’ Ken Firth, Chook, The Ocean Party’s Zac Denton, Countdown co-creator Robbie Weekes, promoter Harry M. Miller, and photographer Ros O’Gorman. Amidst all the drama and tragedy, it was easy to forget that a lot of fine music was released in 2018. Perry Keyes, Missy Higgins, William Crighton, Courtney Barnett, Halfway, and Camp Cope all released vital Australian albums, albums that dared to define the difficult, confusing times we live in. In a sea of issues, conflicting opinions and online hate, sometimes all you want to do is listen to one great song and disappear for a few minutes.

Hot Song

Zoot — Life In A Northern Town When Darryl Cotton died, his old ZOOT bandmate Rick Springfield discovered they had both recorded separate versions of The Dream Academy’s ‘80s hit Life In A Northern Town. With ZOOT celebrating their 50th anniversary, Springfield had an idea: combine the two versions, and get ZOOT bass player Beeb Birtles to sing the third verse. “Thanks to Rick, I got to sing one more time with my best friend,” Birtles says. The result is a new song on the ZOOT anthology, Archaeology — and a moving farewell to Cotton, who died of liver cancer, aged 62, in 2012.

The Music

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The Music

December


The Age Music Victoria Awards Winners

This month’s highlights

The achievements of Victoria’s music community were celebrated at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 21 Nov. Here are the list of winners you, the punters, voted for.

Award-winning reggae ensemble Ras Jahknow Band are headed to the The B.East to play two huge sets this 1 Dec. Get down there and let their uplifting roots and irresistible reggae rhythms start your month right.

Baker Boy. Pic: Martin Philbey

Ras Jahknow Band

Right now

Sonko songs Lamine Sonko & The African Intelligence are playing a rare free show at Belleville this month. They’ll be bringing their percussive blend of African roots music, reggae, funk and blues to the venue on 22 Dec.

Public Voted Awards

Bec Stevens

The Premier’s Prize for

the Best Victorian Album of 2018 Lamine Sonko & The African Intelligence

Courtney Barnett –

Bec yourself B4 U wreck yourself Adelaide’s Bec Stevens is paying us a visit 15 Dec at Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar to launch new single They Don’t Build Cars Like This Anymore. The indie punk rocker will be joined by The Flying So High-Os, Self Talk and Seth Henderson.

Tell Me How You Really Feel Best Band

Camp Cope Best Song

Baker Boy – Marryuna Best Solo Artist

Courtney Barnett Best Male Musician

Danzal Baker (Baker Boy) Best Female Musician Courtney Barnett

The Premier’s Prize for the

CT scans

Best Victorian Breakthrough Act of 2018 Baker Boy Carus Thompson

Following last year’s much-lauded album Islands, current WAM Blues/Roots Song Of The Year titleholder Carus Thompson is back in his natural habitat - on the road and on stages. The true blue singer-songwriter stops at The Westernport Hotel on 27 Dec.

Best Live Act Baker Boy

Best Small Venue (under 500 capacity) Northcote Social Club, Northcote

Best Large Venue (over 500 capacity) Corner Hotel, Richmond

Jakubi

Jam band turned globetrotters Jakubi are making their triumphant return to Melbourne this month at Howler. The quintet, who’ve been spending their time between LA and Australia, pull into the venue 14 Dec with their recent single, Worry Bout A Thing.

The Music

78

Your town

industry-voted awards, head to theMusic.com.au.

Camp Cope. Pic: Martin Philbey

What, me worry?

For the full list of winners including


The Music

•

December


This month’s highlights

Flower power

Vika & Linda Bull

Hibiscus Biscuit

NSW psychedelic outfit Hibiscus Biscuit are bringing their sensory overload this 14 Dec to Whole Lotta Love, joined by local heavy blues rock legends Whoopie Cat and Southbound Snake Charmers.

Bull’s eye Legendary sister combo Vika & Linda Bull - who’ve performed and collaborated with Paul Kelly, CW Stoneking and Deborah Conway to name a few - are ringing in the New Year this 31 Dec at Memo Music Hall.

The Bis-ness

Biscotti

Biscotti is a project lead by multi-instrumentalist and producer Carla Ori. Moving away from electro pop arrangements, Ori’s cinematic, avant pop rebirth resulted in standout 2017 album Like Heaven In The Movies. Catch her at Compass Pizza Bar, 14 Dec.

The Lowe road

Selki

Tobias Wonderdog

On 8 Dec Jason Lowe is set to perform an intimate show at Wesley Anne. The Newcastle lad is a born storyteller and if his recent album Sorrow And Splendour is anything to go by, the lap-steel-toting singer-songwriter is only getting better with time.

Selki smooth pop

Dog days Jason Lowe

Ex Upstream frontman Mat Weaven released the debut single from his new project, Tobias Wonderdog, back in October. Now the local singer-songwriter is taking Not Bliss live with a show at The Prince this 20 Dec.

The Music

80

Your town

Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Shanti Lane, aka Selki, is headed to Edinburgh Castle Hotel 7 Dec with a bagful of catchy pop melodies, deftly blending eras and genres.


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the best and the worst of the year’s zeitgeist

The lashes Front

Back

Pic: Stepanka Cervinkova

So DAMN. good

Line-ups dressed-down

The great Gadsby

Vale

Trump Thump

Sco No

Two American artists

The Aussie music industry

If one artist could be said to

Looking back on the year

We reckon this one will be

FFS Canberra. Yet another

of colour captured the

saw a surge in activism tack-

have captured the global

that was is a chance to

making the yearly round-

leadership spill saw Australia

resilience and the defi-

ling the dearth of female

imagination, it would have

reflect on the greats who

up of the backlashes for a

get yet another Prime

ance of their generation

acts on our biggest festival

to be Aussie comedian

left us. RIP travel-hungry sto-

few years to come. Donald

Minister. While many of us

with astonishing power in

stages. This was perhaps

Hannah Gadsby. And yeah,

ryteller Anthony Bourdain,

Trump remains the world’s

breathed a sigh of relief

2018: Kendrick Lamar with

most potently captured by

we know we’ve already sung

Marvel’s marvel Stan Lee,

biggest dumpster fire, deny-

this didn’t end up being Mr

a historic Pulitzer Prize win

Instagram account @line-

her praises in this issue, but

visionary physicist Stephen

ing climate change, shutting

Potato Head Peter Dutton,

for his album DAMN. and

upswithoutmales, exposing

she made The Lashes four

Hawking, and the incompa-

borders, and proposing arm-

we’re not sure Scott

Childish Gambino with his

inequality with an immedi-

times this year for a reason.

rable queen of soul, Aretha

ing school teachers instead

Morrison is much of

extraordinary anthem This

ate, visual sucker punch.

Sorry, not sorry.

Franklin, and so many more.

of increasing gun control.

an improvement.

Is America.

The final thought

You shall be missed.

What will you be taking away with you from 2018 — the dark cloud or the silver lining?

A

Words by Maxim Boon

nother year, another step closer to the apocalypse. Amiright!? The ticktock tick-tock of the doomsday clock has felt especially deafening this year. But let’s look on the bright side: between climate catastrophes, North Korean missiles, and alt-right demagoguery popping up here,

The Music

there and everywhere, it’s kind of a Christmas miracle that the world isn’t a smoking, irradiated cinder floating through the cosmic abyss already. But of course, it wasn’t just world-ending calamities that confronted many of us in 2018. There have been more than a few long nights of the soul to survive as well. The Silence Breakers, as they were defiantly dubbed by Time magazine, set the year off on the path to change as women bravely came forward with their stories of abuse, as horrifying for their ubiquity as they were for their content. Revealing an entrenched culture of sexual trauma, not limited to but certainly thriving within the entertainment industry, the inspiring courage of the #MeToo movement has held up a magnifying glass to the normalisation and tacit enabling of behaviours that should never have been tolerated, let alone accepted as the status quo. Yet, before a victory must come a battle, and the voices of many victims, both at home and abroad, have been smeared with accusations of attention seeking or self-interest. And it’s these barefaced refusals of responsibility that have characterised another phenomenon of the past 12 months: 2018 was a year of audacious brinkmanship. We saw it in our political arenas, when Liberal Party infighting led to yet another leadership spill in which a power tussle robbed the electorate of its

82

The End

voice — although as the Victorian state elections have recently proved, the vox populi cannot be indefinitely silenced. We saw it in the face of overwhelming evidence, with denials of climate science even as extreme weather events became increasingly disastrous. Or across the pond, with the backward logic that more guns will reduce the senseless American pastime of school shootings. And we saw it with the fate of millions — even billions — of people, pitted against the flippant antagonisms of a few childish, name-calling tweets. But again, there’s perhaps a silver lining to be found around these desperately dark clouds. In the face of all this, a year of political and social upheaval has also revealed many examples of tenacity and resilience, fearlessness and resistance. The students of Stoneman Douglas High School; nine-year-old Queenslander Harper Nielsen; Christie Whelan Browne and Eryn Jean Norvill; Dr Kerryn Phelps; Dandyman; Hannah Gadsby: these are just a handful of the heroes we earned in 2018. For every affront to human decency, there has been a compassionate response proving hope is never lost. Humanity, for all its flaws and weaknesses, is capable of such heart-swelling strength and uncowed, resolute solidarity. And it’s this immutable truth that I intend to take with me into 2019. I urge you to do the same.


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The Music (Melbourne) December Issue  

The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...

The Music (Melbourne) December Issue  

The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...

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