MU­SIC

Rod Yates CEL­E­BRATES THE YEAR’S MU­SI­CAL HIGH­LIGHTS … AND TAKES A QUICK LOOK AT WHAT AWAITS IN 2018, TOO.

Men's Style (Australia) - - Contents -

Rod Yates on 2017’s high­lights ghts and low­lights in toons

Oils Is Oils

On Fe­bru­ary 17, Mid­night Oil held a press con­fer­ence on Sydney Har­bour to an­nounce they were re­form­ing and em­bark­ing on a world tour, their first since split­ting in 2002. Of the more than 50 gigs they played this year, few could have topped their warm-up at Selina’s, the Sydney beer barn they ruled in their hey­day and where in April, they once again proved their might. None of the mem­bers are pub­licly com­mit­ting to plans past this year, but mak­ing a new al­bum would surely be less painful than serv­ing un­der Kevin Rudd.

Fa­ther John Misty’s Acid At­tack

In April, the man known as Josh Till­man re­leased one of the year’s best records in Pure Com­edy. Some­how he man­aged to do this while tak­ing a mi­cro dose of acid ev­ery day to deal with anx­i­ety. Mer­ci­fully he stayed clear of the brown stuff.

One Di­rec­tion Are Bet­ter in Sep­a­rate Di­rec­tions

Well, at least one of them is. In May Harry Styles re­leased his is de­but self-ti­tled solo al­bum, shock­ing the world rld by not be­ing crap. In fact, it was ac­tu­ally pretty ty great, Styles prov­ing him­self a sur­pris­ingly ma­ture ature song­writer, an­nounc­ing his ar­rival not with th a brain­less pop hit but an earnest five-minute-40-sec­ond ute-40-sec­ond bal­lad called “Sign of the Times”. es”.

An An­ti­dote to Ter­ror e

The death of 23 peo­ple – some of them chil­dren – at Ari­ana ana Grande’s con­cert in Manch­ester on May 22nd was one of 2017’s low points. The One Love ben­e­fit con­cert in the same city only y weeks later (head­lined by Grande) proved how heal­ing mu­sic can be. Hell, it even brought ught Liam Gal­lagher and Cold­play’s Chris Martin to­gether to duet on Oa­sis’s “Live For­ever”, ever”, thaw­ing a re­la­tion­ship that first froze years ars ago when Gal­lagher re­ferred to Martin n as a “pot plant”.

Trump Made Mu­sic Rage Again

Fiona Ap­ple’s “Tiny Hands” was only a minute long, but con­tained the re­frain “We don’t want your tiny hands any­where near our un­der­pants”; Billy Bragg re-jigged Dy­lan’s “The Times Are A Changin’” into “The Times Are A Changin’ Back”, and re­leased a minial­bum called Bridges Not Walls that was his “way of try­ing to make sense of what’s go­ing on”; for­mer Pink Floyd man Roger Wa­ters em­barked on a U.S tour, his show fea­tur­ing pro­jec­tions of Trump in brightly coloured lip­stick, a Ku Klux Klan hood and as a pig; West Coast rap­pers YG and Nipsey Hus­sle re­leased “FDT (Fuck Don­ald Trump)”; while three quar­ters of Rage Against the Ma­chine teamed up with Cy­press Hill’s B-real and Pub­lic En­emy’s Chuck D in Prophets of Rage and re­leased a self-ti­tled al­bum that urged lis­ten­ers to “burn that fuck­ing flag”.

The Vinyl Rev­o­lu­tion Con­tin­ued

2016 was the big­gest sell­ing year for vinyl since the 1980s – un­til, that is, 2017, when num­bers con­tin­ued to rise thanks in no small part to the 50th an­niver­sary edi­tion of the Bea­tles’ Sgt Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the topselling record of the year. Over­all vinyl sales in 2017 are ex­pected to top 10 mil­lion. In a world of con­ve­nience and shrink­ing at­ten­tion spans, it’s an oddly com­fort­ing trend. As for how many peo­ple ac­tu­ally lis­tened to the vinyl they bought? Well, let’s not ruin a feel-good story with de­tails.

Aussies Stormed The Charts

It was a good year for Aussies on the charts, with more than a third of the num­ber one al­bums be­long­ing to lo­cal artists. Take a bow Kasey Cham­bers ( Drag­on­fly), Dune Rats ( The Kids Will Know It’s Bull­shit), Busby Marou ( Post­cards From the Shell House), the Waifs ( Iron­bark), Bliss n Eso ( Offthe Grid), Paul Kelly ( Life is Fine, his first ever Num­ber One al­bum in 36 years!), Gang of Youths ( Go Far­ther in Light­ness) and – surely a re­count is in or­der? – An­thony Cal­lea. Each spent a week in the top spot, and if it wasn’t for that pesky Ed Sheeran prob­a­bly would have en­joyed a longer ten­ure.

The Fu­ture Is Fe­male

When con­sid­er­ing the Aus­tralian break­out stars of 2017, the women are lead­ing the way. Sydney song­writer Alex the As­tro­naut re­ceived a glow­ing en­dorse­ment from Sir Elton John for her sin­gle “Not Worth Hid­ing”; Mel­bourne’s

Tash Sul­tana sold out shows in Amer­ica, Europe and the UK be­fore re­turn­ing home to head­line venues such as Sydney’s 5,000-seat Hordern Pav­il­ion, all with­out a de­but al­bum to her name; Alex La­hey ( I Love You Like a Brother), Meg Mac ( Low Blows), Caiti Baker ( Zinc), Vera Blue ( Peren­nial), All Our Exes Live In Texas ( When We Fall) and Ecca Van­dal (self-ti­tled) re­leased some of the year’s best al­bums; while Perth’s Stella Don­nelly took out the in­au­gu­ral $25,000 Levi’s Mu­sic Prize at Bris­bane’s an­nual mu­sic con­fer­ence Big­sound.

Liam Gal­lagher’s Re­turn

Let’s face it: mu­sic needs Liam Gal­lagher. In an age of me­dia-trained pop star­lets too afraid of of­fend­ing their own shadow, in waltzes Gal­lagher Jnr. with a damned fine solo al­bum in As You Were, throw­ing ver­bal hay­mak­ers like he’s still the big­gest rock star on the planet. His brother Noel re­mains a steady tar­get: “That kid’s a fuck­ing twat,” he told Rolling Stone. “He’s a prick, he’s turned into the mid­dle class… The way he does Oa­sis songs it’s like some­one’s sucked all the fuck­ing life out of it.” So there.

Pre-game En­ter­tain­ment Can Mean Some­thing

Re­mem­ber when Meat Loaf sang so out of tune at the 2011 AFL Grand Fi­nal he was al­most charged with bring­ing the game into dis­re­pute? And that time at the NRL fi­nal in 2002 when Billy Idol rode a frickin’ hov­er­craft to the stage, only for the power to go out when he got there? Amaz­ingly, 2017 proved it’s even bet­ter when things ac­tu­ally go to plan. For a code that seem­ingly spe­cialises in PR night­mares, the NRL hav­ing Mack­le­more per­form same sex an­them “Same Love” ahead of this year’s grand fi­nal was a stroke of genius. After­wards the rap­per tweeted: “Per­form­ing ‘Same Love’ at the #NRLGF was one of the great­est hon­ors of my ca­reer. Thank you @NRL for the op­por­tu­nity & sup­port­ing equal­ity.” Some­where in his cave, Tony Abbott was squirm­ing.

Don’t Call It A Come­back…

Ac­tu­ally, you can if you want. 2017 saw some acts re­turn from the wilder­ness with al­bums that jus­ti­fied their rep­u­ta­tions. We’re look­ing at you Go­ril­laz ( Hu­manz), LCD Soundsys­tem ( Amer­i­can Dream), At the Drive In ( In­ter­alia), Fleet Foxes ( Crack-up), Slow­dive ( Slow­dive) and Bro­ken So­cial Scene ( Hug of Thunder).

There Were Some Crack­ing Al­bums

In ad­di­tion to the records listed in this fea­ture, here are some of 2017’s other re­leases that are worth your time: I See You by the XX; Near to the Wild Heart of Life by Ja­pan­droids; After the Party by the Men­zingers; Pris­oner by Ryan Adams; Sem­per Fem­ina by Laura Mar­ling; More Scared of You Than You Are Of Me by The Smith Street Band; DAMN. by Kendrick La­mar; Melo­drama by Lorde; Vil­lains by Queens of the Stone Age; Sleep Well Beast by The Na­tional; Col­ors by Beck; and Messe­duc­tion by St. Vin­cent.

Gone But Not For­got­ten

When the clocked ticked mid­night and 2016 gave way to 2017, we hoped we’d bid farewell to mu­sic’s anus hori­bilis – what else could you call a year that claimed David Bowie, Prince, Ge­orge Michael, Glenn Frey, Leonard Co­hen et al? Sadly, the Grim Reaper wasn’t fin­ished. At the time of print, 2017 has seen gi­ants such as Chuck Berry, Soundgar­den’s Chris Cor­nell, Linkin Park’s Ch­ester Ben­ning­ton, Glen Camp­bell, Tom Petty, J. Geils, Gregg All­man, indige­nous singer-song­writer Dr. G Yunupingu, Husker Du’s Grant Hart and soul sen­sa­tion Charles Bradley, to name only a few, all breathe their last. Vale.

For a code that spe­cialises in PR night­mares, hav­ing Mack­le­more per­form same sex an­them ‘Same Love’ ahead of this year’s NRL grand fi­nal was a stroke of genius.

Alex the As­tro­naut.

Roger Wa­ters’ con­cert.

Peter Gar­rett.

Harry Styles.

Liam Gal­lagher – and his mouth – have had a big year.

Mack­le­more.

Chris Cor­nell.

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