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Video of the Moment #2445: Didirri

 
By on Friday, 29th September 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Melburnian singer/songwriter Didirri was one of the hottest tickets in town at BIGSOUND 2017. If you’re unconvinced, read through my coverage of trying to go see him in Brisbane earlier this month at the Aussie emerging music festival. As part of his reveal of live tour dates in his home country this week, he’s unveiled an up close and personal promo video for his track ‘Jude’. The man explains his inspirations: “‘Jude’ came out of me on the eve of a friend contemplating their own life. It is a reflection of finding myself in a similar mind to this at times. Feeling that there is no way out. And knowing that these thoughts are chemical and will pass and hearing those words “take a sad song and make it better” and hoping that you’ll be there after all of your thoughts have passed.” In the video, we get pensive Didirri, rained on Didirri, pensive -and-rained on Didirri, even hair done sideways Didirri. Yes. Watch it below. For all of my coverage on Didirri here on TGTF, come this way.

 

BIGSOUND 2017: Day 2 Roundup (Part 1)

 
By on Friday, 22nd September 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

After the first night of shows Tuesday at BIGSOUND 2017, Wednesday came and it was time to be serious and attend some conference sessions. I began my day with the Stay Woke, Stay Punk, Stay Relevant session starring a panel of managers and bookers of punk artists and events. Based on the fact that this session even existed, there must be a popular misconception that punk artists are immune, or at least not bothered intellectually at all by the same financial problems experienced by artists of other genres.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The panelists were asked whether they’d be willing to put their artists’ faces on a Coca-Cola can to get sponsorship dollars. While there were some laughs, the unanimous response across the board was yes if the artists themselves decided for themselves they wanted to sign on the dotted line. Los Angeles band This Will Destroy You turning down a potentially lucrative and high-profile tv sync with Walmart is a good example that all bands, not just punk ones, have the opportunity and wherewithal in themselves to stand by their principles. [NB: Walmart has been hit out by musicians in the past for the wares they sell, including Sheryl Crow in 1996 in ‘Love is a Good Thing’.]

Stay Woke, Stay Punk, Stay Relevant panel

Warped festival’s decision to kick The Dickies off their tour after the band’s frontman made misogynist comments to a female punter was also unanimously agreed on, reflecting the changing tide in how women are treated both in the music industry and as fans demanding safe spaces. On a slightly different note on the same topic, Melbourne metalcore rockers Drown This City received what they perceived as unwelcome attention when it was revealed that they were one of only two acts at UNIFY festival in 2016. While they were encouraged by various outlets to speak on their unique position at UNIFY, frontwoman Alex Reade passed on all of these opportunities, preferring to be judged by their music alone instead of the words they might have said on a soapbox.

In terms of things directly applicable to TGTF, Hayley Connelly of UK company Little Press explained a time when she had to convince a now established punk act to do an interview with a grass roots punk outlet who had championed them before they had ‘made it’. Having been denied press with acts we have helped on the way up, I can certainly relate to the story and appreciate that some PRs like Hayley understand and support what us little guys do.

You might be wondering why I would attend a session called ‘The Growing Asian Market’. The last time I was in Australia, I was here for the ARIAs and attended the first-ever Masterclass as part of the inaugural ARIA Week. In case somehow you never thought about this, Asia is looked upon as an easier market to break and gain experience from for Australian artists. A big part of this is simply geography: have you ever looked at how expensive plane tickets from Oz to North America or Europe are? As an American with roots in China and Taiwan, I wanted to hear just how different the music scenes and industries in Asia were and how difficult they were to crack.

Unlike the Western markets we’re used to, gigs and tours are driven by demand by Asian fans to see artists, not album releases. Also, social media is an even bigger king in Asia: with the speed of media being spread around by young fans, it’s easy to go viral in a certain country or region if you’re considered a hot commodity. Knowing these tips are important keys in being successful in marketing artists and their shows in Asia. It makes sense, too, that similar approaches can be used in markets such as Melbourne, where large student populations made up of temporarily transplanted Asians act similarly to the way they do at home. The past success of Asia Pop Fest in Melbourne proves this. One wonders if similar efforts to spread Asian music should be done in cities with large Asian student populations like Sheffield and in an exchange program of sorts so artists from both countries can benefits. [NB: Later Wednesday afternoon, I also attended a session on blockchain and how it assists artists in receiving the royalties they deserve. Rather than make a mistake in explaining what some of these companies do, I suggest you follow Jaxsta, Paperchain and Zimbrii on Twitter and follow along.]

But it wasn’t all about sessions. The number of lunchtime and afternoon parties during BIGSOUND were astonishing, and upsetting if you were disappointed you had to miss any of them. Cattleyard Promotions offered up a BBQ at Ric’s Big Backyard and naturally, they had artists lined up to serenade those noshing sausages on the barbie (sorry, had to go there) and partaking in the free beer. The first act on fit perfectly into my afternoon: the elusive Didirri, whose Laruche showcase the previous night was the place to be. Is the lanky, long-haired singer/songwriter the next Hozier or Ed Sheeran?

Didirri Wednesday afternoon at BIGSOUND 2017

Maybe not exactly, but it’s obvious his lovelorn tales turned into song are easily relatable. If ever in the future he recounts a story about showing up repeatedly at a girl’s door like a lovesick puppy, only to find she’s been sleeping with other men and he couldn’t get the hint, I’d guess BIGSOUND 2017 was one of the first places he ever told the story publicly. I think we all root for the underdog and the downtrodden, so even though it seemed like a bit of a ploy to get the audience on his side, it worked like a charm. I expect Didirri to pop up to play shows in America and the UK soon enough.

Annie Bass Wednesday afternoon at BIGSOUND 2017

Annie Bass (solo, above) and Tia Gostelow (with a band) followed Didirri. Maybe it was the burning skin sensation I was feeling, standing in Ric’s backyard , but I wondered if either of these acts would have worked better in evening club settings. The voice of Sydneysider Bass got lost in the outdoor setting, as it was no match for her electronic soundscapes that took the lion’s share of attention front and centre. The country twang of tunes by Mackay, Queenland’s Gostelow and her band, while jaunty, wasn’t my cup of tea either. Imagine a young Stevie Nicks, but with dreamy and not rocky backing.


Tia Gostelow Wednesday afternoon at BIGSOUND 2017

I’m including a photo of RVG (Romy Vager Group) from Melbourne at an unofficial showcase at Bloodhound Bar later in the day, as there’s a lot of buzz behind them. Apparently they are a big deal in Melbourne. I honestly didn’t know anything about the group when I decided to go see them, but I’ll do some more research. In the meantime, read this interview with their frontwoman.

RVG Wednesday afternoon at BIGSOUND 2017

 

BIGSOUND 2017: Day 1 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Wednesday, 20th September 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

An East Coast Australian music fan has probably travelled up and down the coast for shows and has a much better idea about the bigger venues in Brisbane than I do. One of those long venerated places utilised at BIGSOUND 2017 was The Zoo, at which I saw 3 acts Tuesday night. The first of those was Horace Bones, the self-described “horror psych punk” band from Melbourne. As expected, their music was loud and their singer menacing. Even someone like me who likes punk could only take so much. It’s unfortunate that in a venue as big as The Zoo that they didn’t have a larger audience, but the room never truly filled up for any of the sets I saw there during the festival.

IV League Tuesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

IV League the band (not the Aussie record label) were next on my schedule, playing The Brightside’s outdoor stage. What became apparent pretty quickly to me was the venue’s popularity, quite possibly due to it being outdoors and allowing smokers to indulge in their vice and/or them having two bars. Dancing to their style of reverb-drenched indie rock is less likely to send you to hospital than it is to cause you to sway back and forth. Their sound is more of a throwback to shoegaze than to the slacker rock we find so popular in the UK and America at the moment.

Since I was already there (see my how to see 5 bands in 1 hour at SXSW 2017 feature at through here), I popped inside the actual Brightside building to catch a few precious moments of Alithia. Proggy, psychedelic space rock and dudes with long hair banging on their instruments sound like your thing? As you probably have guessed, not my bag. However, they are apparently known and well regarded in Europe, having supported big acts over there already, so you never know with music, do you?

Alithia Tuesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

In an attempt to woo the current and would-be TGTF readers who have tastes more like Carrie’s, I wanted to take things down a notch and have a look in at the much hyped Didirri. As we all know, smoky, soulful voices can go a long way (*cough* Hozier *cough*) and the Melbourne singer/songwriter has that certain gift. Laruche bar on Ann Street closer to Brunswick Street Mall also appeared to be a much smaller place to catch an intimate performance. So what was the problem? Many other BIGSOUND attendees had the same exact idea, so much that the bouncers outside were holding people back from going in, concerned of the fire hazard of those craning their necks at the very short entrance way into the club. I could hear some music but couldn’t see anything. I know when I’m beat.

PLTS Tuesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

Making my way east back to The Zoo, PLTS (pronounced “pilots”) were just hitting their stride. The Byron Bay group offering up a more straightforward approach to rock plus a good dose of power pop was just the ticket after getting thwarted at Laruche. There’s also a nice, anthemic feel to their music that offsets the palpable angst of the vocals of lead singer Kit Bray. Taken together, PLTS are the kind of band to deliver both physical and emotional responses readily and well and put their town on the map for more than just Splendour in the Grass.

Next, I was curious to check out a venue with a funny name: The Flying Cock, which was hosting themusic.com.au stage during the entirety of BIGSOUND 2017. Dream Rimmy, from the opposite side of the country in Perth, Western Australia, seemed on paper to be excellent to represent the current transitional nature of the music industry, its growing pains obvious as women assert themselves in this business. Their shoegaze-y sound is unsurprising, given their noting of important influences from the ‘90s like The Dandy Warhols and My Bloody Valentine.

Dream Rimmy Tuesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

I reveled in the fact, too, that the dueling women fronting the band, while simultaneously playing their guitars I might add, were both wearing glasses. When was the last time we really had a prominent female singer with glasses, Lisa Loeb? I don’t normally go “yayyyy!” and start waving my bra around when women are up on stage. Feminism over the years has made me uncomfortable. But for some reason, Dream Rimmy’s quest to have fun and smiles all around, combined with their engaging music, had me cheering for more. Girl power!

 

TGTF X BIGSOUND 2017 Playlist: Editor Mary’s best bets (A-M)

 
By on Thursday, 24th August 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Regular readers of TGTF are familiar with our ‘best bets’ lists that we post here before most music festivals. I think it makes the astounding long list of acts scheduled to perform at an event a bit more manageable for you. Then, the onus is on us to listen to everyone and make our personal recommendations for must-see acts at the festival. In the case of BIGSOUND 2017, set to take place the first full week of September in the Fortitude Valley of Brisbane, Australia, their list of performers is over 150 acts long.

Compared to preparation for UK, Irish, and American events, the list proved especially daunting to me, seeing that my knowledge and indeed, mere awareness of up-and-coming and established Australian acts, many who haven’t been heard outside of the country, is quite limited. However, I used the opportunity to familiarise myself with the sound and style of every single act scheduled to appear in Brisbane 5-8 September, knowing that we could see many of them next year at SXSW 2018. This is the first of two best bets posts, this one featuring the first dozen of acts that have so far wowed me on record alone. Some of them were also part of the previously posted playlist with a focus on showcasing bands from Brisbane. You can listen to the Brisbane acts playlist and read the associated feature back here.

I’m looking at my coming over for my first BIGSOUND as TGTF’s opportunity to truly get stuck into the Australian music scene, and I’m very excited. If there are any Aussies out there who have further recommendations on who I should see, Tweet me @theprintedword, and I’ll see what I can do about adding the band to my schedule. For now, here’s 12 of the 24 acts I’ve chosen as best bets for this year’s BIGSOUND. A playlist with all 24 acts is at the bottom of this post.

Ariela Jacobs (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / pop)
The popularity of Lucy Rose proves that there’s still a market for vulnerable, honest female songwriters. Ariela Jacobs falls into this category, with a sweet voice and impressive vocal range, plus plenty of ambition. This Victoria-based songstress has so far released two EPs (2014’s ‘This’ and 2016’s ‘Yesteryear’) and has more new music on the way.

Braille Face (Melbourne; electronic / experimental)
Getting VICE’s attention ain’t easy, but not everyone is Jordan White. In 2015, the prolific White recorded an album a month, which must have changed his outlook on what it means to be an artist. Soulful vocals accompanied by an interesting mélange of electronics, sometimes smooth, sometimes crunchy. Yes.

Cub Sport (Brisbane; synthpop)
Synthpop purveyors Cub Sport have been media for their music, as well as their social views. Two of their members came out gay last year and announced they were in a relationship. Naturally, their truth and what they stand for is important to them and in their latest single and video for ‘O Lord’, frontman Tim Nelson confronts the complicated feelings of love and loss that erupt from moments of second-guessing happiness.

Daggy Man (Brisbane; singer/songwriter / folk)
Daggy Man is the stage name of Thomas Calder, former frontman of the band The Trouble with Templeton, who I incidentally saw the last time I visited Australia. As mentioned then, Calder has a voice like Teitur’s and is a great songwriter of tunes folky and fragile.

Deadlights (Melbourne; hard rock)
Up to this point reading this, you’re probably wondering when Aussies rock out. Deadlights are a good example of this. Did they name themselves after the terrifying force Stephen King wrote about in It? No matter the source, the name seems to fit the group to a T, as their punishing hardcore style will probably be strong enough to kill something in your line of sight if you listen to them long enough.

Didirri (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / pop)
Time for a moment of chill from a long-haired singer/songwriter, methinks. Didirri is unashamedly a fan of music and times gone by. He even covered the Monkees’ ‘Randy Scouse Git’, which seems like a strange choice for a folk singer, but his a cappella rendition captured the feeling beautifully, and differently. His catchphrase about his own music is “Music for lovers and overthinkers.” so really, how could I refuse?

Evan Klar (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / pop)
Staying in the same general genre, we arrive at Evan Klar, who’s had an interesting life already. Having been a session musician in London for both Charli XCX and Alex Metric, he’s experienced that side of things. Now he’s doing music for himself, having already signed a record deal with EMI Music Australia without even have played a single show: yes, really, well, unless you count his appearances last year at unofficial showcases at BIGSOUND. His debut album, which is sure to be full of his catchy pop gems, is expected later this year.

friendships (Melbourne; drum ‘n’ bass)
Some artists just make music. Some want you to have the whole experience. friendships are a duo combining the elements of sound (Nic Brown) and visual (Misha Grace) to make that happen. While it’s impossible to experience the visual aspect of their performance by simply listening to the music (unless, I guess, you’re hallucinating with or without pharmaceutical aid), the below gives me some idea of what is in store for me in Brisbane.

Golden Vessel (Brisbane; electronic / pop)
If it’s pop mixed with electronic you’re after, then Max Byrne, aka Golden Vessel, is your man. Think what Disclosure do with pop singers, and imagine Aussie pop singers brought into the mix.

Jim Lawrie (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / rock)
Is the world ready for an Australian to unseat Bruce Springsteen? Jim Lawrie is sure as hell trying to do that. Comfortable with the folkier side of rock as he is with an anthemic rock melody, he’s got an engaging voice that works with both.

Maddy Jane (Hobart, Tasmania; singer/songwriter / pop)
triple j are big fans of Maddy Jane’s newest single ‘No Other Way’, putting it and its predecessor ‘Drown It Out’ on regular rotation on the station. Echoes of Jenny Lewis and Liz Phair (in her poppier days, mind) ring out in her catchy, upbeat tunes that range from more straightforward pop to a louder, rockier sound.

Mammals (Sydney; dream pop / electronic)
Sydney singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Guy Brown are the brains and feelings behind Mammals. Once a composer for advertising and film, he wanted to create for himself again, choosing to go in a direction fusing folk and pop feeling with electronic sounds. The results will pull you in.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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