Radio Recommendations – Side A/ Side B

I first heard this wonderfully entrancing piece of radio via the great radio program, All The Best.

All the Best is produced at Sydney’s FBi radio and is made in conjunction with a couple of other community radio stations in Australia. If you’re into independent storytelling, wonderful production values then All The Best is a must.

Side A/ Side B was separated across two episodes of All The Best.

It caught my ears when it aired on the episode, Old and New. Side A/ Side B was produced as a two part audio meditation piece. It describes lovers and the different ways which love can be shared and conveyed.

The words are poetic and the production is hypnotic, combining to create this trance which you can’t help but feel apart of.

When listening I almost felt like I was intruding on a private moment between two people. It is sensual and revealing.

I’d suggest listening, losing your eyes and falling into this piece.

It’s been said that it’s best way to consume Side A/ Side B is with a lover. Both listen and explore.

This piece was produced by Eleanor Jackson and Tom Hogan

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2013: The year Beyonce kept surprising us

There were a lot of things which surprised us in 2013.

Some people died in Game of Thrones, a 16 year old chick from New Zealand ravaged the charts all over the world, people actually started liking the Royal Family again, and China actually landed something on the moon (the jury is still out on that one).

However spectacular those surprises are, some of the single biggest surprises came from Queen B this year.

The year started with a not too healthy surprise from Ms. Knowles. She was caught lip syncing to the American national anthem at the Presidential Inauguration. A month after she surprised us all with her performance at the Superbowl Halftime Show. It was no surprise she was playing but the surprise came when she was joined on stage by ex – Destiny’s Child band members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

Her next biggest surprise came when Queen B and Jay Z (now without the hyphen) visited Cuba for their 5th wedding anniversary. Some Republicans in congress criticised them, but diehard fans stood by the couple.

The next gut punching surprise came when she announced she’d kick off her Ms. Carter World Tour in Belgrade, Serbia. One July morning she surprised her Australian fans and announced she’d be coming down under.

Maybe the thing which surprised me the most from Ms Knowles was how good she was live! I went into the concert expecting something special, but when I came out I was mesmerised. She commanded her crew on stage similar to a general would a battlefield.

Her stage presents was amazing. Her singing and dancing was amazing. She even did thing thing where she looked like she was going to kill everyone. It was incredible.

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How far do you reckon Beyonce is willing to go in order to keep her bootylicious figure and surprise the world at the same time? If you guessed she’d go vegan for 22 days, you are correct! With her husband in tie, the couple have surprised the food world and gone vegan for 22 days.

Perhaps the most surprising surprise that every surprised in 2013 came less than a week ago. Beyonce suddenly released a super secret, super surprise. She’d been recording an album whilst on tour, and it was ready for release.

Her super secret surprise album is self titled and has 14 brand new songs. To add to this explosive surprise bomb, she has included 17 brand new music videos.

I think Beyonce has loaded too many surprises into 2013. Will there be many more surprises from her in 2014? Will she cram another couple of surprises into the year that is left of 2013? Maybe she will take a break? We will just have to wait to be surprised.

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2013: The year radio became cool again

You might hear your grandma hounding on about the time that she used to sit around the ‘wireless’ on a Sunday evening and listen to a ‘radio serial’, like Adam and Eva or Adventures in Toyland.

If you’re a member of Gen-Y, then you mightn’t understand much of that last sentence. Do something that your grandma might disagree with and google the words you don’t understand.

2013 saw the rise and rise of new and interesting radio shows, podcasts and radio investigations. A heads up, most of what I’m going to be talking about will be stuff from NPR and PRX because in Australia I feel we live in a world of ‘conservative radio values’. We play it safe most of the time (but more on that on a later date).

I wanna highlight some of my favourite shows of 2013.

5 – Snap Judgement

I’ve spoken a lot about this so I wont go on about it too much. Snap Judgement weaves stories and magical, musical beats together to create an ultimate storytelling experience. Check out their 100th episode on PRX and NPR. Its a live show and its a cracker!

4 – On The Media

In a world that is driven by ratings driven content, its rare that media will stop reporting the news and start making the news. Earlier this year WNYC program On The Media produced a report on American Homeland Security and their performance. Producer Sarah Abdurrahman and her family, all American citizens, where detained for hours on end at the American/ Canadian boarder. They’ve not received any explanation, any apology for their treatment or any answers to their questions.

This episode is killer but I’d suggest you also listen to some follow up episodes.

Listen to the show here.

3 – NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour

Out of all the radio shows that I’ve started listening to this year, PCHH, is maybe my favourite. Its your generic panel radio program but its crazy good! Linda Holmes is the anchor of the show and the blogger for NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See. This year the show has offered a point of difference. It seems each week one of the member of the team has been replaced by another NPR guest.

One of my favourite shows is when All Things Considered co-anchor, Audie Cornish fills in and talks Hunger Games. She hasn’t read the books, she barely watched the first film so she almost has no clue whats happening (its great!). If you love ATC or Hunger Games or simply fish out of water, you’ve got to listen to this!

2 – 99% Invisible

If you’re sick of me talking about 99% then skip this. Its actually my favourite radio thing ever. It’s a radio show about design and tells stories in a similarly musical flavour as Snap Judgement.

The other night I stayed up until 1:00 AM just to listen to Roman Mars, the host of the show, do a live 99% on KALW, a local station in San Francisco.

This year they did another hugely successful kickstarter call out and made a heap of money, which they’ll put back into public radio and 99%. The show is pushing the boundaries of what public radio is and how it is consumed. All their shows are perfect and can be consumed anywhere, anytime.

Just go online and listen to all of them now at the same time! 

1 – Planet Money

Planet Money doesn’t get as much credit as they show. PM is a show about economics but not in a boring way. They mix some pop songs with interesting household economics that you can use in real life.

They’ve just been finishing up a very cool little project. Its so cool that it is my favourite radio thing of 2013.

Planet Money decided to fund their show and make a t-shirt. Concequently, they decided to make a radio program about the construction of their t-shirt. They followed the cotton from the US to Indonesia where is was spun into yarn. They followed to the creation of the t-shirt in Colombia and Bangladesh, then all the way back home again.

There are a bunch of episode on it you can find on their website. Or you can go to their mircosite, which is entirely built for the project. It’s got videos, stories and audio. You’ve got to check it out. 

Planet Money have shown that radio can still be uber cool and super relevant today through their use of every medium possible. Radio, unlike TV has the ability to capture you in every moment of your life. Its super portable, emotive, memorable and addictive. Thats why radio has become cool again in 2013.

Queens of the Stone Age

2013: The year Queens of the Stone Age reached their sexy climax.

Are you experiencing body tremors? Do you have a problem with hot flushes? Has your breathing become quickened? Are your genitals tingling and ready for action?

You must have just listened to the latest Queens of the Stone Age album, Like Clockwork. 2013 saw the rise of sexiness to a whole new level because of one man and his band of sexy brother.

Mr. Joshua Homme, the man behind the sensual vocals of Queens of the Stone Age has written, recorded and produced 10 songs that will caress your body both physically and spiritually.

Like Clockwork is QOTSA’s first album since ’07 when they released Era Vulgaris. After some line up changes and a little time off the band came back with some new faces and old friends (Dave Grohl) all ready to make audible sex and their version of superior love making music.

Across the album is an orgy of special guests. Elton John lent some piano and vocal skills to Fairweather Friends, Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor, and Arctic Monkey, Alex Turner helped out on If I Had A Tail. Its almost like Homme opened up his phone book of sex friends and called the sexiest of them.

So why is this album so sexy? I’d suggest you listen to Like Clockwork, to fully understand how bone rattling it is. Gritty guitar riffs rip through the album unapologetically, they’re reinforced by the harsh love making sounds of Grohl’s drumming. Lyrically their is even references to Homme, “blowing his load” and he wants to do a lot of “sucking, licking and spiting.”

People are constantly which is the best album to make a baby to. I’m going to put my vote in and say you will defiantly conceive a child if you get freaky whilst listening to Like Clockwork, even if you’re both using contraception.

#sexiestalbumof2013

Modern Vampires Of The City

2013: The Year Vampire Weekend Graduated University

I’m going to make a rough estimate. 80% of university students know who Vampire Weekend are.

They’re a cool indie/rock band that simply play music that I think everyone can love.

Listening to their music again I see that their three albums are kinda like getting an Arts degree.

Their debut self titled album came out in 2008 and signalled the rise of indie music as a whole. It felt like starting university. Its perky up beat songs mixing with worldly drums and gangly guitars introduced the world to this new mainstream style of music. It was happy and ambitious, finally free to tackle the world.

Contra, their second release felt like the sophomore year of university. They where still laying down the law with gangly guitars, but they’d tightened up their sound. Contra was a much more definitive and focused album. The band gathered a larger array of instruments and used them to complement one and other. They knew what they needed to do, they did it and received straight As.

This year Vampire Weekend graduated university. Their third album Modern Vampires of the City, is grown up, its ready to get a job, its ready to move out of home. They’ve cut the crap in this one. Often you find yourself listing to very grown up songs, like Hannah Hunt, or you hear the same happy drumming from their first album in tracks like Don’t Lie. But then they show you what they’ve learnt. Thats when songs like Diane Young or Unbelievers really shine.  The album is consistent with its melodies, with its sounds and with its writing. Modern Vampires of the City is not simply Vampire Weekends best album whole, but it also contains some of Vampire Weekends best songs. Vampire Weekend can now graduate in the Honers Class of 2013.

#leavinguniversitysoundtrack2013

Big Day Out

Who We Blame?

We all know that feeling. Your heart starts to race, your palms are sweaty, your eyes widen all in anticipation. The line up to your favourite festival is about to be announced and if you believe the gossip, your favourite band is going to be announced.

And then it happens. They’re on the line up! You want to scream at the top of your lungs, but first of all you need to sort out tickets. The morning comes and you get tickets, they cost an arm and a leg but you will pay anything to see your favourite band.

Let the countdown begin.

Only 8 weeks out, you’ve got the day off work, you’re organising transport to the festival and then… the unthinkable happens.

You wake up one Sunday morning to read a facebook  status from the band saying they’re cancelling their appearance at the festival.

You go through the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. After acceptance comes the blame, who do you blame for this?

Personally my allegiances aline with the band (unless they’ve given me a good reason to hate them). One should always wait for a statement from the band, the promotor and they weigh up the differences.

In some cases the promotors will be angry. Anger often leads to a communication breakdown and that can lead to a sledging match. Promotors can take to social media and take their anger out on the bands. Do we really want to see a pissing match starting between promotors and bands?

The way I see it, when it comes down to it promotors are out to get a bigger name for themselves and their festival. By booking big acts, by putting on great shows we are the winners out of that. But the fact that we are positively affected by the promotors is only a side effect of the promotors initial action.

Promotors do a great job, but they’re not always in it for the crowds. Think about that next time a band drops from a festival or cancels a gig.