While Triple J spirals into irrelevance and the Franz Ferdinand CD’s you bought when CD’s were a thing become too scratched up to play, Sydney independent radio station FBi 94.5 has become the only thing that any discerning music fan should be listening to in their automobile of choice. Every year, the volunteer radio station gives out the SMAC Award (Sydney Music, Arts & Culture) to the best visual artists, food joints, cultural collectives and of course musicians from around this fair city. Here’s the lowdown of how the musical portion of 2013’s SMAC awards went down…
BEST SONG: THE PREATURES – IS THIS HOW YOU FEEL?
The Winner: FUN TIMES AND THE 80’s
The Loser: HIPSTERS WHO DON’T LIKE TO DANCE
I don’t normally believe in giving away an award for ‘best song’, rather I think that artists should be rewarded for creating great songs that sit well in their broader album/EP context and should not pander to the single-hungry market of listeners and that $2.19/track pricetag on iTunes. The Preatures’ Is This How You Feel is an incredible exception to my opinion, as it is quite near the perfect song. Jumpy, poppy, entirely dancey, utterly breakfast club and not at all tiresome, Is This How You Feel is a well deserved #1 on the FBi list. We would have chosen it for our own list too if it wasn’t for our shallow and pretentious refusal to choose any pop songs.
BEST LIVE ACT – SARAH BLASKO
The Winner: PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN SARAH BLASKO LIVE
The Loser: PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN SARAH BLASKO LIVE (me)
Which one is Sarah Blasko again? Is she the one with the voice and that lopsided haircut who had that song like 4 years ago? No, maybe I’m thinking of this chick. Or maybe this one. Past winners of this award have been Hermitude, Seekae, The Jezabels and Dappled Cities, all of whom put on mad decent gigs, so Blasko must be doing something pretty cool to be voted best performer of 2013. Listen to her belt out Not Yet at the Opera House above and make sure to catch her on her current national Church/Cathedral tour:
Wednesday 22 January 2014 – St. Michael’s Church, Melbourne
Friday 24 January 2014 – Flinders Street Baptist Church, Adelaide
BEST MUSIC EVENT – SECRET GARDEN
The Winner: GROWN MEN WITH BEARDS WHO LIKE TO PLAY DRESSUPS, DRY CLEANERS ACROSS THE STATE
The Loser: ALL OF US DEADBEATS WHO CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET TIX TO THIS FESTIVAL
If you live in Sydney, chances are you’ve heard of the Secret Garden festival and there is an equally high chance that you’ve considered going every year. You’d be totally down if getting tickets wasn’t such a freakin hassle – who can be bothered entering a draw to buy tickets? That’s silly. Who do you think you are? Meredith? Also, when does the lineup come out? Who’s even playing at Secret Garden? Is it a secret? Oh hey, the tickets are sold out. Better luck next year!
Held at the end of February each year, the Secret Garden doesn’t like to give many details away about what’s going to be going on. All I can decipher is that the whole festival involves burlesque shenanigans and neon lighting and some of the cleanest hippies I’ve ever seen, although all I have to go on are tagged Facebook photos. This year, (not that it matters because it’s bloody sold out again) the bill features Bloods, Palms, RYIM, Sures, Straight Arrows, Shining Bird and many many others, so props to the festival for supporting all these locals.
NEXT BIG THING: ELIZABETH ROSE
The Winner: FUTURE CLASSIC FANGIRLS AND ASTRAL PEOPLE DEVOTEES
The Loser: PEOPLE WHO STILL THINK GUITARS ARE COOL
Graced with the whitest name ever, Elizabeth Rose released her Debut EP Crystallise last year to critical acclaim and took the world of cheesy electro beats by storm. Her voice is sweet and the production on the EP is reminiscent of the layered siren sounds of Julia Holter, but the basslines could be a little meatier and the whole thing leaves you with an intense feeling deep in your eardrums like there is way too much going on. Where’s the subtlety? Where’s the restraint? Where’s the class that we’ve come to expect in our electronic music? I guess the award is for the next big thing, so there’s room for some improvement in between now and her debut LP.
RECORD OF THE YEAR: CLOUD CONTROL – DREAM CAVE
The Winner: PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T TRIED ACID YET, THE BLUE MOUNTAINS TOURISM BOARD
The Loser: THE INNER CITY SHOEGAZE MASTER RACE
The Blue Mountains. Home to equal numbers of stoners and retirees who both spend their hours wasting the sunlight until nature slowly strikes them down into dust, it’s good to see that some make it down from the hills beyond Penrith alive. Cloud Control’s debut Bliss Release broke the national radar back in 2010 riding the coattails of Tame Impala’s success, the two records reviving the sounds of the 60’s on Triple J and beyond. The quartet moved to London to record their follow up Dream Cave and according to an interview on FBi, spent some of the recording process in an actual cave. They also threw their talents into the pool of artistic brilliance that was VIVID last year and scored not only an FBi album of the week but also a Triple J feature album on the release of Dream Cave. Listen to Scar above and show them some cloud love by purchasing their album. It’s worth it.