This Sunday evening a very special event is taking place: the ARIA music awards.
The ARIA awards are just like the Grammy awards, but with approximately 280 million fewer viewers and production dollars. Also, they’re held in Australia and only feature Australian artists. Australians, btw, are real people, and not novelties or little candies as Laneia recently suggested.
Call me biased, but I think Australians create some of the greatest music in the world. So in celebration of my people’s music and the upcoming music awards, I thought I’d introduce you non-Australian readers to some of the Aussie artists who are doing quite well down under at the moment. Some of them you’ll probably already be familiar with thanks to the internet, radio, etc.
Before you start yelling at me for neglecting to mention some of your favorite Aussie acts, (Missy Higgins? The Veronicas? AC/DC?), keep in mind that I’m only featuring artists that are currently nominated for ARIA awards. And even then, I don’t have time to feature them all.
Who: Megan Washington. 24/F/Melbourne. I told you about Washington only last month, but it would be remiss of me not to tell you again given that it’s likely she’ll win every ARIA award this year, including but not limited to Best Album, Best Alternative Album, Best Female Artist and even a few that she isn’t even nominated for.
Why you should listen: Washington’s debut full-length album, I Believe You Liar, is really quite enjoyable and based on your reactions already, it’ll do quite well when released globally. So if you live o/seas, get into it now.
Here’s Washington’s latest video, “The Hardest Part”:
The Temper Trap
Who: The Temper Trap are a four-piece alternative rock band from Melbourne, Australia. According to Wikipedia, they don’t live in Australia anymore. As long as they keep writing hit songs we’ll still claim them as our own.
Sounds like: That time Emily from Skins walked around Naomi’s home topless. Also, Diet Coke commercials.
Why you should listen: “Sweet Disposition” is a really good song! We know this. But also, they’ve written a lot of other songs that deserve your equal attention. The Conditions record is jam-packed with both studio and live track recordings that will move you, check it out if you can.
Here’s the clip for “Love Lost,” a track that’s nominated for the ARIA Single Of The Year:
Angus & Julia Stone
Who: Angus & Julia Stone are adorable indie folk siblings from Sydney. In a recent artist spotlight, I told you about how Angus grabbed his suitcase full of nothing and made me want to feel things I’ve never felt before. That still happens.
Sounds like: Acoustic folk music that is better than most acoustic folk music. Also: heaven, angels, winged children, etc.
Why you should listen: Angus & Julia’s recently released album, Down The Way, is high rotation material – there’s not one weak track. Check out one of the album’s singles, “Hold On,” below.
Birds of Tokyo
Who: Birds of Tokyo are one of the greatest alt-rock acts that Australia has produced in the last decade. They’re nominated for six (!) ARIA awards, including Best Album and Best Rock Album for their self-titled 3rd record, Birds Of Tokyo.
Sounds like: Triple J once described Birds of Tokyo as “rock music with equal parts brain and heart.” See: “Plans.”
Why you should listen: In my opinion, front man Ian Kenny is the finest (and most humble) singer/songwriter on the scene right now. Dude is impressive. Kenny fronts not just one, but two, hugely popular bands – the 2nd being heavy rock act, Karnivool. (Karnivool are actually my favourite Australian band, however they haven’t been nominated for any awards, so.)
Check out Birds of Tokyo’s single “The Saddest Thing I Know”:
Who: Tame Impala are a Western Australian act who make psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music. They’re up for Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, Best Group and Breakthrough Artist.
Sounds like: “The Tame Impala sound is one equally informed by The Beatles as it is beat poetry, by Turkish prog as it is by Turkish Delight, and by English folk as much as homeless folk. It’s intended for moving one’s body to, and it’s intended for keeping still and observing other forms of movement.” – Tame Impala bio.
Why you should listen: The debut album Innerspeaker could be like nothing you’ve heard this year, or since the 60s. The ‘psychedelic hypno-groove’ within provides an effortless escape. Innerspeaker available in the UK and USA right now.
Check out Tame Impala’s music video for “Solitude is Bliss” below.
Who: Sia is an Australian-born, NY-based singer-songwriter who blows my mind. This year she’s nominated for Best Female Artist, while her fifth studio album, We Are Born is nominated for Album of the Year and Best Independent Release.
Sounds like: The future.
Why you should listen: Last year I went to see Sia in concert and got high and wrote about all of the things that caused me to adore her. Maybe you should just read that.
Check out this amazing music video for her single “Clap Your Hands”:
Who: Dan Sultan is a blues/soul/rock/country artist from Melbourne, Australia. He’s nominated for Best Male Artist, while his second album Get Out While You Can is up for Best Blues & Roots Album and Best Independent Release.
Electrifying. The guy has a dynamite voice and his whole band is just… wow.
Check out this rad clip of Dan Sultan, John Butler and Missy Higgins performing a cover of Paul Kelly’s “From Little Things Big Things Grow.” The camera work is a little shaky, but worth sitting through.
Who: Lisa Mitchell finished 6th place on Australian Idol when she was only sixteen. Three years later she produced Wonder, a debut pop record that outshone the releases of the Idol contestants that she lost to. This year she’s nominated for Best Female Artist.
Sounds like: Radio-ready pop that’s a little left of center.
Hear Lisa’s latest single, “Oh! Hark!”