Feb 122014

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

When Grant McLennan died of a heart attack in 2006, far too young at age 48, it was a tremendous blow to the Austalian music world. More than a thousand people attended his funeral, and there was an outpouring of tributes to his life and his work, paying homage to him as one of the country’s greatest songwriters. He was even saluted on the floor of Australian Parliament. But in America, where sales never equaled critical hosannas, only a select few thousand knew to mourn – thankfully, those few (The Village Voice‘s Robert Christgau and The Big Takeover‘s Jack Rabid among them) were eloquent in their explanation of what had been lost.
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Jul 252011

At some point while no one was looking, Nick Cave’s “The Ship Song” became Australia’s unofficial national anthem (sorry, “Waltzing Matilda”). In January, we heard Amanda Palmer cover it to represent the country on her Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under album, and now a cultural landmark no less than the Sydney Opera House has commissioned an all-star performance of it. Aussie musicians young and old collaborate on a beautifully-filmed performance that goes from one artist to the next in a seamless medley. Continue reading »

Oct 262010
Sarah Blasko on her baddest behavior

Outkast’s song “Hey Ya” generally isn’t associated with words like “laid-back,” “croony,” or “harmonic.” That is, unless the word “not” acts as a qualifier.

Enter Sarah Blasko.

Recently hitting on music radars for her single “All I Want,” this Aussie singer-songwriter tackled the early ‘00s staple live on Australian radio station Triple J. The result? A smooth and sultry, yet totally tongue-in-cheek cover. Blasko’s version would not be out of place at a hipster wine bar where the Cabernet is served in jam jars and the baguette is cut into ironic shapes. Continue reading »